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girl wins social media contest

Have you ever run a social contest? You’ve probably seen other brands and influencers run social media contests – you’ve also probably seen how wildly effective they can be!

Social contests are a simple, inexpensive way to create more engagement from your existing fan base, as well as drive new followers & fans to your social channels and website. Here is our step-by-step guide to running a successful social contest for your brand!

Pick a goal.

What are you looking to accomplish out of a social contest? Do you want to increase likes to your Facebook page or collect more email addresses to add to your customer list? Don’t simply start a social contest because you’ve heard it might be effective – establish a goal so that when the contest is over, you can measure the results for your business, as well as look back and see what you can improve upon for next time.

If you’re not sure about a goal, think about what works well for your store. Do you see a ton of results from sending out email campaigns? Then focus on collecting more emails in your social contest.

Determine a prize.

A social contest is all about the prize! Determine a prize that will both 1) appeal to potential entrants, and 2) be relatively inexpensive to give away. An easy idea is to give away product from your store – items that are bestsellers, or even inventory that you’re trying to get rid of (as long as it would be exciting to a customer!).

If you don’t want to give away a product, gift cards to your store or a generic VISA gift card are also popular options.

If you do have a physical location, giveaway options could also include a VIP visit to your store, lunch at a favorite neighborhood restaurant, etc – the possibilities are endless! Just make sure that your prize is something that has value to your customers.

Build your campaign.

Once you pick a goal and determine a prize, you can build your social contest and message around that objective. For example, if your goal is to gain more followers on Instagram, design creative and a message that is visually engaging and would make a new user want to follow you on that platform.

Don’t overthink your content & messaging – just focus on what grabs attention and what appeals to your target audience.

If you get stuck, take inspiration from other brands that you follow to see what works best for them! You can also repurpose some of your best-performing past content to adapt to a new social contest campaign. For example, if you posted a photo on Instagram that got a ton of engagement, think about reusing that photo with a different caption and message – you’ve already seen that it works well for your audience, so you’re already off to a good start!

Create cohesion in your message.

If your social contest is going to run across multiple channels & platforms, make sure that your message is consistent and makes sense to customers anywhere that they might see it. Also make sure that contest details are clear and exactly the same across all channels so that there is no confusion on how to enter.

A great way to build cohesion is by developing a hashtag or central theme of your contest. For example, let’s say your store is a clothing retailer called Natural Clothing. If you’re doing a social contest to gain new followers, you could use a hashtag like #getnatural and require customers to use this as part of their contest entry across all social channels.

Now, whenever someone uses the hashtag on social, you can easily track all of the entries, as well as create an atmosphere of social sharing that allows for broad visibility of your content.

Launch your campaign and measure results.

Have a set start and end date of your contest so that customers know exactly when the winner will be announced. An end date creates urgency to make sure that customers enter on time, and also gets them excited about hearing

Be vigilant about measuring results of your contest from start to finish. For example, if you start running a social contest for more likes on your Facebook page, make a note of how many likes that you started with right before running the campaign. Once the campaign is over, you can see exactly how many likes were generated from your contest to see how effective your creative and message was.

Need more tips on running a social contest? Email for assistance!