Contests via social media channels are one of the best ways to drive consumer engagement and build word of mouth traffic, according to Mashable. Contests can engage consumers in a fun and exciting way and encourage consumers to interact with the brand directly. This results in an abundance of information, preferences and feedback you can mine to improve your business.

According to the Social Media Examiner sweepstakes are a tried-and-true contest model with the lowest barrier to entry. A sweepstakes can expand the audience for  your communications and builds a fan base for future promotions.

Invoke recently built a Facebook sweepstakes contest for Bigen Hair called The Bigen Big Apple Sweepstakes.

This contest has a low barrier to entry, but it does encourage users to interact with the contest. The prize is up to the consumer, which enhances interactivity and engagement. Fans just need to “Like” the Bigen Hair Facebook Page and pick their prize. Fans can choose from the Rock of Ages Broadway Show, concert tickets to an amazing performance by a chart topping artist, tickets to a NYC sports event, or a tour of New York’s most prestigious art museums. Also, users can select their preferred Bigen hair colour product. This is valuable information for Bigen, but also increases interaction with the contest.

The contest also emphasizes the social nature of contests. After entering, fans are encouraged to share the sweepstakes with friends — that way they don’t win, and a friend does, maybe they’ll get an invite on the trip.

The contest ends June 26, 2011 so round up some friends and enter the contest to score a trip to New York City.