While a customer’s need for certain products will certainly get them in the door, it’s the contests and giveaways that create major buzz for your business.

But make sure that buzz is positive and worth the energy when planning your next social media contest.

Here are some tips and tricks, and dos and don’ts, for making your contest simple, cool, engaging, and worthwhile for both you and your audience.

Give It a Home

The first thing you need to decide is where it will live. Your blog? A social media site?

You don’t want to explain all the contest details on every social media outlet, especially with the 140-character limit on Twitter.

So, give your contest a home base, like a blog post or Facebook status, and share a link to it on your other social media channels to spread the word.

This is a little easier to do on a desktop or laptop than on a tablet or cell phone, but it’s worth the effort to create traction with all your social media sites, particularly with one specific post.

Remember to include a short blurb about your contest to pique interest and encourage your audience to discover what your contest is all about.

Customize the User Experience

Once you’ve decided on a home base for your contest, take the time to write intriguing, original copy for each of your social media outlets and include a link to your contest.

Do not simply copy and paste the same verbiage across all outlets. Your social media account should act independently of each other and contain fresh copy.

Why go to these lengths? Because otherwise, you’re telling your followers they should only follow you on one social media channel since you offer no originality.

Don’t Leave It Up to Chance

Sure, a headline like, “Enter to Win $10K,” will likely generate a lot of clicks, but it’s not necessary to give away the house to get your audience invested in an event.

Your audience is much more likely to become emotionally invested in a contest that isn’t totally based on the luck of the draw. Plus, where’s the fun in that?

Smart marketers know the best contests not only get people excited about a particular giveaway, but also generate excitement in the company in some fashion.

Design contests are a great way to not only get a fresh perspective on the way your brand is perceived, but also source talent that’s already invested in your brand.

Sharing contests are a great way to get your existing customer base talking to their extended network about your brand.

Reference the Greats

When huge names like Coca-Cola experience wild campaign success with an interactive puzzle ad campaign, the marketing community takes note.

While Coke spends hundreds of millions every year on celebrity endorsements and commercials, as it turns out, their audience really just wanted to get in on the fun!

By creating a super simple puzzle that viewers controlled with their mouse, Coke got the public excited to click to their heart’s content.

Meantime, the cheeky Wonderful Pistachios ad campaign took to Twitter with a scrambled letter puzzle that sent the twitter world into a frenzy.

There are a variety low-cost (and even free!) puzzle-making websites and apps to keep costs low and contestants highly engaged to make the most out of your brand-building social media contests.