Social media has become one of the best ways to reach any brand’s target audience. Over 54% of internet users rely on social media to research any brand, product, or restaurant before deciding to visit or purchase. This is why so many companies have began to use social media contests to get an increase in engagement, and provide an incentive for their audience.

Keep reading to learn more about why you should add social media contests as your next social marketing strategy.

Social media contests stir up social buzz by asking followers to follow certain rules to get a prize or contest. By tagging other users or asking friends to participate, your brand can even see a peak in new followers and spark interest in your product offerings. 

Why should you host social contests? 

Social media contests stir up social buzz by asking followers to follow certain rules to get a prize or contest. By tagging other users or asking friends to participate, your brand can even see a peak in new followers and spark interest in your product offerings.

Some of the top reasons to perform social contests are: 

  • Increase followers:  Most social contests ask users to like or follow you as a way of entering. This can help increase your # of followers and get more new people to see your content.
  • Grow your mailing list: If your social contest requires to sign up or enter their email in a form, they opt-in to receive emails from you as part of your mailing list. 
  • Brand awareness:  When users begin liking, commenting, or sharing your content this sparks the social media algorithm to identify that your contest is growing in popularity. Consequentially, it will start showing up in more social feeds. 
  • More engagement: By getting your followers to engage with your contest post or past contest (go like 3 previous posts, for example) this helps your brand get more exposure and your content to get more engagements which also impact your data metrics and play in your favor regarding the social algorithm.

What is your goal? 

Just like with any other marketing strategy, your contest goal is important. If your contest is cool but does not really align with your other brand goals, it will completely go to waste. Whether your goal is to get more followers or get more emails, it should adhere to other strategies you’re implementing. 

HubSpot shares how including a landing page or using a specific contest link is a great way to avoid users to waste time trying to understand rules, and simply leave everything in one place. 

This will make the process much easier for people trying to register for the contest. However, this can vary depending on what type of contest you’re hosting and whether it includes submitting any type of photo entry or tagging users in comments. 

Types of Contests 

  • Photo Contest: Users submit their photos which can then be voted on and either your followers or your team can go through the repertoire and select a winner based on criteria specified. Photo contests are great for getting user-generated contest to either share on your feed, or simply have on hand for data purposes. These photos can then be aggregated into a gallery to help build  community for your business. 
  • Tag Friends:  When you want something simple, you can just ask users to follow your page and tag x amount of friends (all must be following your page) and they can win! Great method for growing followings. 
  • Like to Win: This type of contest works by selecting a random winner from the total number of users that like your social post. Easy on your end, but it’s also recommended to double-check that the winner is following you in order to actually get the prize. 
  • Sweepstakes: Just like a raffle, this  randomly  picks a winner at the end of the contest after verifying that they’ve followed all steps. Users can enter using their email address and contact info, which you can then use for other marketing purposes. 

Sample of Social Media Contest held for J-Prime Steakhouse on Instagram. It was a UGC focused photo contest, wanting to get more photos to post on social.

Determine your prize 

Remember, you want your prize to be relevant to your audience, making them want to participate! If you’re a restaurant trying to give away an iPhone, it might not be as interesting for your audience. Instead, give away a free meal or a gift card that will get them to actually come into your business and enjoy your product offering. Of course, a physical product like an iPhone would be great, but it won’t get anything in return for you. By getting the winner to enjoy your product and share good word-of-mouth, it’s a win-win for both parties.

Get familiarized with platform logistics 

Social platforms have different rules and logistics to follow when it comes to giving away prizes through them. Be sure to read through these before starting to plan any sort of social media contest. 

  • Facebook:  You must clearly state what the contest is about, what the prize is, and retierate that Facebook is in no way affiliated with the contest. Also, Facebook does not allow people share the post for more entries, or tag friends as a form of entry. Find their guidelines here.
  • Instagram: Instagram is owned by Facebook, so  their guidelines align. However, on Instagram you can tag people in the comments to enter contests or share these posts on your stories. Full guidelines can be found here. 
  • Twitter: Twitter guidelines focus on making sure users running contests and discourage participants from creating multiple accounts and tweeting the exact same thing over and over again, which can be categorized as spam. 

Need help with your social media? 

Is your brand ready to get some help in social media? We’re here to help! Let us take over your social platforms and implement new content creation and marketing strategies, including social media contests. Contact us to get started.