Social Media Contests: The Complete Guide

Social Media Contests

Have you been looking for a way to drive organic followers through a promotion, have you considered running social media contests?

Well, social media contests are proven to attract large attention to your accounts. These promotions also allow you to engage with your audience while improving your brand awareness and creating new followers.

Social media contests can produce tons of results for your accounts; however, after you run a promotion you must keep adding value to your new subscribers, which is where we can come in through our marketing services.

In essence, creating a social media contest might seem daunting but it’s quite simple which is why we have created this resource to help you proceed through the social media world.

Before You Start Your Social Media Contests

1. Define Your Goals

Before starting your social media contest be sure you know what goals you are trying to accomplish. Set a number of entries you are trying to receive and who you are going to be promoting towards. If you are looking to gain followers, exposure of sales make sure you have a steady plan before you start the contest.

2. Choose the Type of Social Media Contest

When you are starting out make sure to select which type of contest you are going to be creating. Below we have listed tons of different examples of social media contests you can use to drive results. These contests listed below are examples we have done in the past and look forward to participating in for the future.

3. Plan What to Giveaway

Make sure you have a clear idea of what your prize is going to be when you run one of these contests. If you are a business we highly suggest giving away either one of your products or services for free. Therefore, you are essentially self-promoting your product while giving it away for free. This can also lead to additional sales.

4. Create Clear Rules

When you are running a social media contest you are going to need to set rules for how people should enter. If you want them to tag people let your audience know. There are tons of ways to run contests, but you must have rules when deciding how to enter or who can enter.

5. Plan Eligibility

If you are looking to make your contest somewhat exclusive make sure your audience knows it. Such as, if you are looking for people that may be potential customers in the future plan it.

6. Make An Incentive to Share

A necessity when creating a contest is making an incentive to share it. For example, you can run a contest where you get people to share either your company or the contest itself. Once someone shares your page that could be how they get entered. There is more on this below.

7. Appeal to Prospective Customers, Not Randoms

A social media contest should be of advantage to you. What I mean by this is that those people who you are having participate in the contest should be people who are interested in your products or services. Therefore, you should make a detailed plan of who you are going to target and why.

Types Of Social Media Contests

  • Sweepstakes

A great type of contest you can perform on your social media channel is a sweepstake. Sweepstakes are essentially a fast way to create tons of followers on your social channels. Basically, how it works is that people enter into a raffle either with their email or name. Once they enter you are able to put their names in a random selector and then give a prize to the winner.

  • Caption Contest

A type of social media contests is a caption contest. With a caption contest you can engage with your audience by asking them to create captions for your next posts. This will allow your post to receive tons of engagement and grow your account organically. You can also use this type of contest to give the winner a prize centered toward your business.

  • Photo Contest

If you are looking for a way to help increase a shops social media presence a great way to grow is through a photo contest. If you take running a social media contest through photos you can entice your audience to post photos of your products. Once people post photos of something and tag your account in the caption. Their audiences will be directed towards your account both promoting your account and potentially your business.

  • Like To Win

A great quick social media contest you can run with ease is a like to win contest. Basically how you perform this contest is you alert your viewers that if they are the “100th” like you will receive something free. This will create an incentive for your audience to like your photo and produce a ton of results.

  • Vote Contest

A way to engage your audience on Twitter or other social platforms is to use a voting contest. With a voting contest, you essentially ask your audience to vote on a certain topic. If you are running this on Twitter you can send a discount code to all of the people who voted a certain way. You can also run this via Instagram Polls.

  • Comment to Win

Another social media contest you can run is comment to win. Essentially in this contest, you ask viewers to comment on your photo. You either give a prize to the person who comments the answer to a question or you could give the person who makes the 50th comment a free product.

  • Essay Contest

This type of contest isn’t normally used; however, can really show you who would be a great promoter for your brand. You can ask your audience to write an essay either about your business or you. Once you read what people have said, choose the best and give them a prize.

  • Video Contest

If you are looking for a quick way to promote your social media account you can try running a video contest. A video contest works as you ask your audience to post videos centered on your account. Essentially your audience posts a video involving your account which promotes you to all of their followers.

Social Media Contest Ideas

  • Logo Redesign

There are tons of different social media contests you can run. However, one of the best ways to engage with your audience is to ask them to redesign your logo. This entices your audience to post photos on behalf of your brand, while also allowing your audience to create a piece of your business.

  • Selfie Contest

You can engage with your audience by using this social media contest. With a selfie contest essentially you ask your audience to post a selfie either tagging your brand or a selfie with your product. This will allow you to get massive exposure on whichever platform and create a fun atmosphere for your brand.

  • Photos of Product

If you run a coffee shop or any other sort of product business you can ask your followers to post a photo of your product. This will not only promote your product and your business but will allow you to engage with your audience while growing your following.

  • T-Shirt Design

If you have some followers that may be interested or involved with design. You could ask them to create a T-Shirt design for your company. You could then give them a free shirt or another type of prize when they win.

  • New Years

Who hasn’t celebrated on New Years? Well, this is a great time to run a social media contest as everyone in the world is looking forward to a new year. Therefore you have the ability to get your business or brand in front of those eyes. If you are coming out with a new product or new idea you can could giveaway early access to people entered in this contest. Then once it hits the new year give them the product.

  • Christmas

Christmas can be a goldmine for contests. If you run a contest centered around Christmas you will not only bring in tons of visitors but if you give everyone that participates in the contest a gift… you’ve just made the holiday spirit.

  • Black Friday

Run a social media contest based upon Black Friday. You can use this holiday to create tons of sales by promoting discount codes or certain large ticket items.

  • Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a great day to run a social media contest on. Due to the fact that you can engage a large audience while also giving exposure to your brand through anyone who respects moms. Use this holiday to your advantage.

  • Father’s Day

Much like the holiday above, Father’s Day is another day you could run a contest on. You can engage with your audience while also promoting and engaging with a large audience who celebrates this holiday.

  • Valentines Day

Promote to lovers on one of the most largely celebrated holidays in the world. People all over the world celebrate Valentines Day. Therefore it would be a great day to spread the love and share your product or service on social media.

  • Thanksgiving

Another hugely celebrated holiday is Thanksgiving. Almost everyone in the world celebrates Thanksgiving which makes it a perfect opportunity to spread your account all over using one of the social media contests listed above.

  • Halloween

You could run your contest around Halloween. Engage with those who are actively participating in the holiday by asking your audience to post a photo from Halloween and tag your account.

  • Achievements / Milestones

Run social media contests when you reach certain achievements or milestones. Therefore, say you reach a certain number of customers or have accomplished some sort of goal run a contest to promote yourself.

  • Self Promotions

For this type of social media contest basically, you ask your users to create either photos or videos which promote your account. These help you grow a ton because they are essentially a direct shoutout to your account.

Tips for Your Social Media Contests

  • Make the Prize Business Centered

When running a social media contest it is essential to make your prizes centered around your business. Therefore, you can get tons of exposure while also promoting your business. The more prizes you giveaway that focuses on your business the more ability you have to control and self-promote your service or product.

  • Giveaway Gift Cards or Store Credit

If the giveaway you run is centered around your store you can give away credit. This essentially has people promoting your products to get a discount on a product. By running this type of giveaway all you need to do is promote and the winner of the giveaway will still be purchasing from your store. This is a necessity when running a social media contest.

  • Send Follow Up Emails After Contest

A great way to generate sales after your social media contest is to collect emails and then follow up with those leads via email. You can then further promote your products or service to these users.

  • Use Facebook Ads and Social Media to Promote

A necessity when you are creating a social media contest is to have traffic towards it. If you don’t have people viewing your contest there is no way you’ll receive any traction. Therefore, you must promote your contest on your website and social media accounts. You can do this either by directing users from your accounts towards the contest or run Facebook Ads to help increase the exposure of your contest.

  • Partner with Small Businesses

An idea for your giveaway is that you could partner with small businesses in your area. This is more focused for a localized approach; however, you can use this as a win-win situation. Everyone involved in this type of contest will benefit with exposure and growth.

  • Consolation Prizes (A little prize even though they didn’t win)

When running social media contests go above and beyond by giving the users who didn’t necessarily win the large prize minor prizes. You can do this by giving those who didn’t win a discount code. By doing this you will increase sales and also encourage people to enter into more of your contests.

  • Create an FAQ Page

If your social media contest has specific guidelines make sure to inform your audience. You should create an FAQ page where people are able to see the specific rules for the contest. Therefore, you will get more entries based on your guidelines and what you want out of the contest.

  • Review the Terms of Services for Social Media platforms

When you are setting out to create your first social media contest you might want to take a look at the Terms of Service for the different social media platforms. You should do this to make sure you aren’t wasting time on a contest that may get deleted. Who wants to spend hours of work on nothing?

  • Make it Mobile Friendly

Did you know that most people who visit your website or social media accounts are on mobile? Well if you didn’t that is incentive enough to make the contest mobile friendly. When you have a mobile-friendly contest you will receive more traction and it may even rank better in search engines.

  • Have a Countdown

When you are running social media contests make sure you have a specific time frame. This is so that you will know when to stop people from entering and be able to give away the prizes. The countdown also makes people act. Therefore, more people will enter your contest and you’ll produce better results.

  • Metrics and Analytics

Who wants to spend hours working on a social media contest with no way to see if it worked? Well, the answer is no one. This is why it is essential to have metrics and analytics. If you are looking to see how many clicks you send from a specific platform you can use or other URL shorteners. A great contest tool that we use daily is called With Gleam, you are able to run a successful social media contests with ease all while tracking your success.

Grow On Social Media

We know that it can be challenging for you a business owner or busy individual to focus solely on Instagram. That’s where we come in. Growth Hustlers is built to help you maximize your social media so you can have more free time. If you are interested in growing your account(s) with us check out our products.

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