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How To Make Your Next Social Media Contest Successful

Are you trying to increase your social media followers and convert them to customers? Social media contests are probably the most reliable way for doing so. Not only do they increase your followers and social media engagement, they also have the potential to improve your relationship with your customers.

Social media contest lottery drawing

Contest marketing in platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is convenient for both you and your followers. For one, your social media followers are already in the platform. It is also mobile friendly and has a high chance of achieving virality. Finally, social media platforms have different features that you can use to create exciting contest ideas.

So you want to create a successful social media contest? While starting one is easy, making a social media campaign that would net more participants and engage your target audience is harder. Here are some tips that you should follow to make your next social media contest successful.

1. Review your social media platform’s terms of use.

Just like you and pretty much everyone else on the internet, I’m too lazy to read through terms and conditions. I just click “I agree.” However, social media platforms are quite fickle with their terms and conditions that they have written specific rules on using their platform for brand promotion. Failing to comply can lead to suspension of your accounts, or worse, permanent deletion. That’s why you need to, and I cannot stress this enough, review your social media platform’s terms and conditions.

Facebook create page


Facebook Promotion Guidelines, for instance, does not actually allow “Like” and “Share” contests which are usually the most common types. Promotion should be administered within pages or apps on Facebook. Follower timelines should not be used. You can encourage them to like and share the post, however, especially if your objective is to increase your social media audience.

Twitter’s Guidelines are a bit lenient compared to Facebook. Aside from the standard Twitter rules, their specific Twitter promotion rules only discourage the use of multiple accounts and repeated tweets and retweets. These guidelines are understandable because doing otherwise will compromise Twitter’s search quality.

Instagram follows a similar set of rules. They do forbid inaccurate tagging and encouraging users to tag themselves if they are not in the photo.

Other platforms have their own sets of guidelines so be sure to take them into account when planning for your social media contest.

2. Set an objective and stick to it.

Of course, you need to plan what you need to accomplish by creating a social media contest. Are you trying to increase your social media followers? Do you want to grow your mailing list? Are you promoting a new product or service? Defining your objective for your contest will help shape what type of contest it will be and what prize you should give your participants.

Social media contest tips for success

Do take note of the advantages and limitations of the social media platform you are using and the rules you need to follow while setting your objective. Make sure that it is attainable through the platform as well as relevant to your goals as a company.

3. Choose the type of contest you want and set the mechanics properly.

Depending on your social media platform, you should be able to shape the mechanics of your contest and how your followers can participate in it. Ideas like asking your users to like and comment your post or uploading their own photos through a hashtag are commonly used by brands nowadays. You aren’t limited to these though. Photo caption contests are great to increase customer involvement. You can even vary the contest prizes and let them vote for what they want.

Nikon singapore social media contest

Nikon’s Photo Contest overlooked and awarded an obviously shopped photo.

One thing that you should focus on is the mechanics of your contest. Make sure that the rules are clear and that there is no room for misunderstanding. Provide a clear deadline and remind your participants every now and then. After the deadline, be careful with the entries that you accept and give the prize to. Giving unfair advantage and even cheating can drive away your followers.

Woobox social media contest features

Woobox social media contest features

A great way to manage your contest is by using an app. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are pretty okay with using apps. Apps like Woobox and Wishpond are all compatible with major social media websites. They both have several campaign types that you can choose depending on your objectives.

4. Choose a prize that is relevant to your audience.

Probably the number one rule of a marketer is knowing your audience. Determining your ideal target market through the creation of buyer persona can make your job of creating a successful social media contest easier. As such, the prize that you should give to your participants should be relevant to your customer. Why? It all comes down to your objective.

Sure, if you offer smartphones or other tech prizes even if you are not a tech business, there would be a lot of entries. But would that achieve your objective? More often than not, participants of these contests would not necessarily relate to your brand. Pick a prize that aligns with your goal and is relevant to your target audience.

5. Build your contest campaign with a unique hashtag.

The world of social media is pretty much built around the hashtag. The simple function of tagging posts for easy access have evolved into trending hashtags that can be used by marketers to increase audience reach. Thus, it is imperative that you create a unique hashtag for your contest.

As much as possible, try to create a unique hashtag and encourage your participants to use it. Also, try to look for other relevant hashtags that are relevant to your business in order to increase your contest visibility.

social media contest giveaways

6. Partner with social media influencers to promote your contest.

Creating a successful contest relies on visibility. For instance, if your contest objective is to increase your follower base, it would be quite hard for you to reach a sizable audience with your social media page alone. That’s where social media influencers come in.

The social media influencers that you should partner with are ideally also members of your target market and have a passionate following. Suggest some ideas on how to promote your contest, and of course, don’t forget to compensate them well.

7. Follow through with your winners.

There is nothing that destroys your publicity more than a bad peer recommendation. If you fail to deliver on your promised giveaway, word of mouth will eventually reach other consumers. Bad publicity can have high virality on the internet. While it is indeed “publicity,” bad publicity damages trust, and is much harder to gain back.

NVIDIA social media contest failure

According to a Reddit post, Nvidia failed to follow through on their giveaways.

Again, your objective as well as your social media contest mechanics should be attainable and timely for your audience and for yourself. Also, it doesn’t hurt if you encourage your contest winners to promote your brand. Peer recommendation is the most trusted form of advertising after all.


Are you planning to hold a social media contest? Comment below and tell us the details.

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