How to Run a Successful Contest on Social Media

I'm pretty sure you’ve heard of social media contests. If you haven't participated in one, you have definitely come across some kind of giveaway. Social media contests are a great way to gain followers or engage with and build your community. 

So, let’s jump right in!

Why Would You Run a Contest

You should not do it just because it’s a trend. There are many key reasons brands run social media contests. Let’s break them down:

1. Followers

Gaining followers is the main goal of the majority of Instagram users and brands. A well-thought-out contest should help you achieve a rapid growth of new followers. There are many ways to determine the guidelines of a contest and one of them could be asking users to follow your page, like your post or both.

2. Brand Awareness

Contest posts are usually pretty busy places and the more that people interact with your post, the more people are likely to encounter it in their feed. This is the job of social media algorithms

3. Lead Generation

Contacts are crucial when building a brand and every email counts. One of your contest rules could be a signup link, just include a form with the email field on your landing page and voilá! - Your contest is now generating leads. Just be careful and don’t forget to tell people what they are signing up for and how you are going to manage their data.

4. Engagement

All of the aforementioned reasons help you engage with people more and more, which is nowadays, certainly the best way to make sure people hear about you and get to know your brand.

Choose The Prize and Determine Your Budget

When you decide to run a contest, you have to think about the prize. Why? Because there's no contest without a prize and it shouldn't just be something you found in your drawer. Give the prize real thought. Of course, it depends on the exact goal of your contest.

If your main goal is to catch users’ attention and get the most entries, it's not a bad idea to give out an interesting and expensive prize, such as electronics. 

However, if you want to build a brand, spread brand awareness, keep your followers engaged and get quality entries, it's good to think about giving out something that's relevant and connected to your brand, maybe even your own products or gift cards to your store. It should be something that'll draw in the people who are genuinely interested in your brand.  

Maybe you want to run regular contests. In that case, try to break down your budget for the whole period of the contests, so that you know exactly how much you can invest in the prizes and see if it's doable and worth it.

Choose the Platform

There are many platforms that you should consider before running your first contest. It is always important to target the right audience.

Focus on the main goal of the platform. Is it tailored to be a network full of pictures, rich extensive stories, short stories or life experiences? And that’s just a fraction of intended usages. Another criteria is the geographical targeting. Use the most popular network in the country you want to target, whether the country is yours or any other.

For example, if you want to run a photo contest, the best choice would be Instagram or Pinterest. If you would like to run a simple sweepstake contest, the best thing to do is to find out which network works best with your audience and try it.

Of course, if you don’t see the desired results, you can try another platform at any time.

Different Social Network Have Different Rules

Be careful when choosing the perfect platform for your new contest. Every platform that supports such contests has its own rules you should follow. If you decide not to go with the guidelines, you risk getting banned or penalized.

In most cases, you should always let people know that the platform on which you choose to run your contest and the contest itself have nothing in common except that it is promoted using the social network. But there are other rules that differ by platform and can always be found in the platform’s guidelines:

  • For example, if you use Facebook, you should never make friend tagging or post sharing an entry requirement. 
  • If you choose Twitter, you should always maximize the effort to instruct people not to make fake accounts and duplicates in order to increase their chance of winning.
  • Instagram guidelines are in most ways, the same as Facebook guidelines due to the fact that Facebook owns Instagram. But still, you can find some additional requirements. You cannot, for instance, use tags in ways they were not intended to be used, like tagging people, who are not in that photo or even encouraging your followers to do so.
  • Pinterest doesn’t want you to require users to save a specific image. Besides that, you should make sure participants use the word “contest" or "sweepstakes" in their descriptions or images when they save Pins for your online event.

Define The Rules

Once you choose the right platform for your contest, you should think about what type of contest it will be. Again, you need to think about why you want to run the contest in the first place.

Want To Gain Followers

When it comes to gaining followers, one of the most common practices is to request that your contestants follow your profile in order to enter. Extra engagement can be achieved by adding the “like” requirement. 

Anyway, if you want to reach as many people as possible, you should consider setting the share rule too. 

But what should you do if you find out that your followers unfollow as soon as they can? Convince them that there is no reason for it! Repeat your draw within a short time period (a week to four weeks) and gain their trust. The longer people continue to follow your profile, the more content they see and this ultimately grows the awareness of your brand.

What About Some Engagement

A typical approach is to make a like with a comment the ticket necessary to enter the contest. More importantly, you can use it with any of the platforms. It is as easy as making a deadline. A deadline can be a specific time or even a number of followers or likes. This can be extra useful in case you want these numbers to multiply within a shorter amount of time.

Tag

Nevertheless, you have a significantly higher chance of reaching more people by making sharing also mandatory. But how can you achieve the same or even better results using a more natural process? Let your contestants tag their friends. Ask them who they would enjoy the prize with if they won, for example. They will eventually tag their friends and so on.

Caption This

If you would like your comment section to look more “civilized” than just people typing nonsense in order to get into your contest, make them “caption this”. Choose a funny picture that is somehow connected to your brand and tell users to think of the best caption for it. But get ready for an arduous process of choosing the most original one, people can get pretty funny and creative sometimes!

Vote

In case you have nothing worth captioning, but can’t decide which photo from your last photoshoot is the best, let your contestants vote! This is actually advantageous in two ways: You increase both the engagement and determine what the majority of your audience likes. People can vote with emojis or you can create a professional poll. Woobox is a tool that can actually help you do that.

Empty Database

How can social media contests help you gain leads? Just ask people to share their email address to enter the contest. There are a couple of ways to do that.

Create a landing page and include a form with the essential fields. You can use one of the many powerful tools that will help you, such as ShortStack, which is the ultimate tool for Facebook or Instagram contests. 

Shortstack

An Email field should never be missing, but depending on the nature of your company, you can enrich your form with other fields, like a job position or school. Be careful though, long forms are usually not accepted very well. When you are done designing your form, publish it, share the link with your contest and check the results!

Another way of collecting leads is with a chatbot. This requires a little bit of an IT background or a solution like OutGrow that aims to help you with building chatbots. But in the last few years, chatbots have taken over instant messaging platforms and are getting smarter every day. They can entertain your audience for a pretty long time and get even more details about each lead they connect with. 

You Are Ready To Start Your First Contest

Social media experts talking in a webinar by SEMRush highlighted key points to consider if you plan to start your own contest.

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Key Takeaways

  • Do it well. Be creative.
  • Have realistic goals from the beginning.
  • Use the right social network.
  • Make a marketing plan.
  • Don’t drag it out for too long.

This is basically everything you need to know. Just think about why, what, where, and how and don’t forget to obey the rules, so you won’t get in any trouble!

If you already have some experience with social media contests and would like to share your thoughts or suggestions, we're more than happy to hear them. 👋

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What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.