I recently ran a Twitter contest for the first time. I’ve participated in many Twitter and other social media contests before in the past, but I’ve never managed one before. The concept is simple, ask people to use a hashtag to enter a contest – easy. I assumed that I could manage the entries just by searching for the hashtag on Twitter and getting a list.
The problem was, I couldn’t be 100% sure that this was a complete list. Searching Twitter gives you two options – “Top” and “All.” These options are at the very top of the page, and difficult to see at first glance. The search is on “Top” by default, whether you realize it or not. You won’t get a complete list of tweets unless you switch it to “All.”
Then the second problem – now that you have a list of all the entries, how do you export them so you can randomly pick a winner? Do it manually?
Ugh…this was becoming time consuming.
There had to be a better way, I thought. So I turned to my favorite automation tool of choice, Zapier.
I came up with an easy Zap that logs every contest entry into a Google Spreadsheet, so all you have to do is randomly select a winner from the spreadsheet when the contest is over (by any method you could normally use in a spreadsheet).
Step 1 – Getting Set Up
First, start by copying this Zap. Click on it, make sure you’re logged into a Zapier account (they’re free to sign up), then click the orange “Start Using This!” button.
Next, make a copy of this Google Spreadsheet.
Click File > Make a Copy…, name the file, and you’ll have an identical copy of the template in your Google Docs account.
Step 2 – Zapier Settings
Because you copied the Zap template in Step 1, you should be all set, and your screen should look like this.
Step 3 – Connect Your Twitter and Google Docs Accounts and Select Them
If you haven’t already, connect your Twitter account and Google Docs account to Zapier. Then select them from the available accounts, and test them to ensure everything is working properly.
Step 4 – Select Your Contest Hashtag
Next, enter your contest hashtag into the Search Term field, which is Step 4 in Zapier.
Step 5 – Select Your Google Docs Spreadsheet
Now, select the spreadsheet that you copied to your Google Docs account in Step 1. It will be whatever you decided to name it when you originally copied it.
If the Worksheet and other values don’t auto-populate, then fill them out as shown in the image above.
Testing the Zap
At this point, we’re all set up to log contest entries into our spreadsheet. In Zapier, you can now test the formula if you have existing contest entries out there already. If not, I would suggest sending out a tweet with your contest hashtag before doing this step, if nothing more than to confirm it’s working properly.
Once you know it’s working, name it and save it, and you’re all done!
Pretty simple right? After I created this Zap, I essentially just let the contest go in the background, and after it was all said and done, I used the spreadsheet to randomly select the winner. It took me longer to set up the Zap than it did to actually monitor and maintain the contest.
Here is an example of the data that was outputted when I used a dummy hashtag (#Minnesota) and ran the Zap for a few minutes.
I’ve since turned off the Zap, but I think you get the point.
You can customize the zap to your liking. You don’t really need to log the timestamp, or the link to the Tweet, but I did just to verify that the winner was a legitimate entrant to the contest. Make modifications so this works for your situation!