Hosting a Successful Social Media Contest

enter-to-winHolding a social media contest is a great way to get people to engage with your brand. If you have a strong list of followers, there’s nothing quite like a contest for motivating them to like and share your posts with friends. If you don’t have the following you want, a good contest can get you there.

Popular social media contests include:

  • Like & Share – Everyone who promotes a given post is entered into a prize raffle.
  • Purchase-Based – Everyone who visits your site and makes a purchase becomes eligible.
  • Engagement – Users submit captions, trivia, or long-form content such as photos or essays.

As with anything on social media, though, a little planning goes a long way. Having a contest that flops has the potential to damage your online brand and might cause people to tune you out in the future. You need to make a big splash – fast!

Here are some ways to do it:

Know Where You’re Headed

While you can build a social media contest around almost any idea, the easiest to execute is one in which users enter the contest by sharing your content. Be sure you know which platforms you want to target and have baseline engagement figures to compare to your end results.

Offer a Good Prize

If you make an enticing prize too easy to obtain, users are likely to game your system. When you require some effort, though, you can really motivate people! Take a close look at your current social following and research what kind of prize would energize them. Then, promote it heavily!

Take a Close Look at TOS

Some social media platforms have specific rules in place to make sure contests are legitimate. Before you start planning your contest, familiarize yourself with the Terms of Service. To give just one example: Contests that require a “like” are actually prohibited by Facebook.


Go Visual

It’s well known that posts with images – even when those images are, themselves, mostly text – get more shares than other types of posts. Every minute counts when promoting your contest, so prioritize visual content. Consider leading with some pictures of your great prize!

Build Your Email List

One way to avoid running afoul of social media TOS is to direct users to your own website to provide their information. Fewer users will do this, but you have the opportunity to get higher quality data from those who do, including email addresses.

Most importantly, remember to have fun! If you bring energy and enjoyment to your social media contest efforts, people are more likely to reciprocate. Show them what you have to offer!