Interested in Running a Social Media Contest?

September 20, 2016

If you have ever done an internet search on how to grow your social media presence, it’s likely that you’ve gotten advice on running a social media contest. Contests, especially those aimed at encouraging current followers to like, comment, and share on existing posts, can definitely help to create familiarity with those that have never heard of your business, encourage enthusiasm, build email subscribers, and garner more likes for your brand. If you decide that using a social media contest is something you’d like to try out for increasing your brand’s influence, you’re at the right place for making this happen!

Launching Your Social Media Contest

The first thing you’ll want to do is consider the point of a contest. A contest is meant to do something in exchange for the chance of winning! For small businesses, increasing the number of emails on your newsletter list, growing your social media following, introducing a new product, or simply growing brand recognition are some of the results that can be obtained from your social media contest. Now that you’ve understood the point of the campaign, the next step is to implement it on a social platform.


  • Caption It – Post an image or a video, and ask users to caption. Choose the best to win.
  • Question and Answer – Ask a question to encourage engagement on your page. The winner is the one that has the correct or best answer.
  • Submit an Image – Ask your followers to take a picture relating to your business and post it to their walls and tag you in it for the chance to win.


  • Question and Answer – Allowing a user to answer the question or fill in the blanks to a specific query.
  • Retweets – Eligibility for this contest depends on someone retweeting a tweet, and anyone that retweets wins.
  • Follow to Win – The selected winner be will chosen randomly by the business and eligibility hinges on following the account.
  • Photo Contest – A user will be eligible to win if they tweet a photo relating to the business and tag the company or hashtag.


  • Hashtag Contest – Come up with an image related to a hashtag, and encourage users to tag an image with this for a chance to win.
  • Reposting an Image – Create an image on your own account and encourage users to repost the image (usually with a tag or hashtag to keep track)! This puts your post on their friend’s walls and gives them a chance to win.
  • Theme Contest – State a theme that users need to post pictures of or convey in their images for the most creative to win.
  • Like to Win – Exactly as it seems! Every user that likes an image on your page is entered into the competition.


  • “Pin It to Win It”-  A user is encouraged to pin an item that they’d like to win from a business website to their own account. This is oftentimes supplemented with liking the original business Pinterest page, creating a mood board representative of the brand, using a hashtag, or scavenger hunts.
  • Repin or Like Contest – A board is created with specific guidelines and the user with the most likes or repins wins.
  • Commenting – Users post a comment related to a post, and the business chooses the best comment.
  • Create a Board – Create a board around a specific theme, and the best board receives the prize.

With the platform and the type of contest you’re holding picked out, you’ll need to determine the  length that the contest will run for. For some contests, holding several rounds or using voting can further increase engagement and keep applicants involved in the process. You’ll also need to be sure that your contest is not infringing on any rules for contests by the platform!

Additional considerations for your contest is the target audience and aesthetic value! For one, you’ll want to be sure that the item or promotion you’re giving away as part of your contest is related to the product or service you offer to attract the type of people your business is catering towards. Your artwork should further reflect this and draw a potential applicant in! Make sure it resonates with your brand and the kind of user you’re looking for. A sloppy or misleading contest image may prevent people from entering to begin with.

Don’t forget about promotion methods! You can promote this in a few ways. Some common examples include sending out an email newsletter, creating Facebook ads or pinned posts, writing a blog article, inform contest promotion websites, handing out flyers, or partnering with another organization to go in on the prize and help spread the word.

Contests are a great way to spread the word about your new business and engage customers, both new and old. What have been some of your favorite online social media contests?