Research for me the best platforms/vendors to use for social media contests/giveaways

I'm looking to run a social media contest to promote my business. I will do it myself. I just need help researching which platform/vendor/technology to use to do it.

For context, like 6 years ago I ran a successful photo contest on Facebook using [url removed, login to view], where users had to submit a photo to enter, the winner was determined by votes, and we gave away a prize. It worked very well and at the time it was super cheap.

Since 6 years ago I haven't really paid attention to how the "social media contest platform" landscape has evolved. I'm looking for this research to catch me up to what has been going on in the space since then.I need someone to sum up for me:

a) Are 3rd party contest platforms for running contests, giveaways, etc., still necessary? Or have 1st party platforms like Facebook launched their own contest/giveaway features that have made the 3rd party ones not needed?

b) If both 1st party and 3rd party options exist, what are the key differences that would cause a person to pay for 3rd party options?

c) I'm specifically interested in Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, in that order. So I'd like the answers to the above questions specific to those 3 social networks. I'm not interested in Instagram or LinkedIn now.

d) What are the social media rules regarding requiring people share/tweet/etc. in order to be entered into a contest? I recall some time back the networks were going back and forth about whether this was against the rules (e.g., "like gating" or "tweet gating" entry into a contest or giveaway).

e) I'm also specifically interested in [url removed, login to view] Giveaways - I see that they've launched the ability to give away Amazon products, tied in with activity on social networks, but for the 5 mins I spent looking, I wasn't clear on whether they had the ability to force sharing in social media to to enter the contest vs. just making it easy to share links to your contest - I need an answer to this question.

d) Given all the above, what do you think are the most cost effective solutions for a small business? My goal is to build my followers on FB, Twitter, and Pinterest, and secondarily to drive visits to my website. Currently there are less than 100 followers on all platforms, if that affects pricing.

Final deliverable is a document explaining:

- Which social networks, if any, have launched their own functionality that would obsolete 3rd party software to run contests/giveaways.

- If the social networks themselves have made some 3rd party software obsolete or partially obsolete, what are the top 3-5 ways the 3rd party software vendors justify their fees? I.e., what additional features do they have?

- Finally, I'd be interested in a comparison grid of what you think are the top 3-5 solutions for a small business (forgot expensive Enterprise solutions that don't even reveal price on the website) along the dimensions of price, how they price (e.g., per FB follower), key features, whether you can force entrants to give their email, FB + Twitter + Pinterest compatibility, features specifically meant to encourage virality or force virality (e.g., like you win if you get the most votes so you're incentivized to bug all your friends on the network to vote for you), best competitive differentiation feature of each, and biggest downside/tradeoff of each + any misc. notes.

- Please include Amazon's Giveaways in this competitive comparison grid.

Thanks a lot for your bids!

Skills: Facebook Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Networking, Twitter, Viral Marketing

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