Social Media Contests: How To Get The Most Effectiveness

April 23, 2021 - 11 minutes read - Contributed Posts, Social Media

Many brands are switching gears and trying to think of unconventional strategies to market their businesses successfully on social media. Brands increasingly turn to digital marketing, and one particularly popular method of marketing on social media is running social media contests. 

Want to launch a social media contest? This article is a great place to start! After you finish reading, you will know at least ten effective strategies to implement. 

Why run a social media contest?

Before you move any further, let’s first make sense of why you should run a contest and the stats behind this social media strategy. 

Running social media contests organically increases audience size, gains brand exposure, and earns brand ambassadors. In fact, studies show that the top three reasons why brands run social media contests are to increase followers, raise brand awareness, and boost engagement on social media. Social media contests also help brands to increase customer loyalty, showcase products and services, drive traffic, and get more leads. 

When employed correctly, social media contests can bring you all of the benefits listed above. But what is the best way to run your social media contest? Implement these ten ideas and practices to design an effective social media contest that converts well. 

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Design an exciting hook 

A well-designed hook is key to bringing more participants on board. It must be exciting and welcoming enough to intrigue social media users into signing up for the competition. To make it more exciting, you can show the prize in your visuals, like in the example below. 


One way to add excitement to your hook is by including an element of gaming. Strategically placed gamification can lead to higher engagement and help you get more participants on board.

Inspire UGC 

Another great way to boost the effectiveness of your social media contest is by encouraging participants to create and share user-generated content (UGC). UGC is any brand-related content piece created and posted by social media users. Any customer post, review, picture, or video that mentions your brand can be considered a UGC piece.

Brands increasingly use UGC to engage their social media audiences. In fact, more than 86% of companies today use UGC as a part of their marketing strategy. And when companies share posts with brand-related content, they see 28% higher engagement compared to standard promotional posts. Besides engaging social media audiences, UGC proves to influence users’ purchase decisions and build the brand’s credibility. 

So, how to use user-generated content in your social media contest? One great way to incorporate UGC is by asking contest entrants to create and share content to join the competition. For example, you can ask your social media audience to post a picture of your product on their Facebook or Instagram. It is useful to ask participants to post content with a particular predesigned hashtag, so you can easily locate all UGC posts. 

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This Canadian sticker company does a great job encouraging UGC. They used a social media contest as an opportunity to ask their audience to share a picture of their mascot sticker in an interesting place to win a prepaid vacation to Hawaii.


Create a clear CTA

A clear call-to-action is the key component of an effective social media contest. There are several ways to create a CTA for your social media contest. If you want to get a positive response, you should create comprehensive and clear instructions on how exactly to enter the competition.  

One way to include an easy-to-follow CTA is by instructing entrants to follow the host page on Instagram or Facebook. Alternatively, you can ask participants to share the contest on their social media page, tag multiple users in the comment section of the contest, or tag your brand’s username in their stories. 

Promote your contest 

Promote your contest is by using contest-related hashtags. You will need to create your own branded hashtag specifically for the contest. Make sure to keep it short, memorable, and easy to spell. 

Another way to promote your social media contest is by adding a welcome mat to your website. A welcome mat is a pop-up that fills the entire page with a specific CTA when a new user visits your website. 

The biggest advantage of welcome mats is that they instantly grab the interest of new website visitors by offering them a chance to win free products or services. 

Collaborate with other brands or influencers

Influencers can be helpful in promoting your social media contest. In fact, studies show that 93% of marketers use influencer marketing and 89% say return of investment (ROI) from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than any other marketing channel. 

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Indeed, influencers can reach your target audience and bring awareness to your contest. Yet, the success of your partnership substantially depends on your influencer choice. When hiring an influencer, make sure they have a similar demographic to the audience you are targeting. For example, if your brand’s demographic is a younger female audience located in Europe, select an influencer whose insights reflect these characteristics. 

Offer a valuable prize 

Your prize choice will also determine the effectiveness of your social media contest. Awards usually motivate people to enter competitions. If the prize is not worth it, what is the point of participating? 

Always think about the value when choosing a prize. To help you get started, here are some ideas that will work perfectly with any social media contest: 

  • Money
  • A branded gift-card 
  • A best-selling product or service of yours 
  • An item from the winner’s wishlist 
  • A product from the new release line 
  • A limited-edition or custom-made product 
  • A year supply of goods
  • A pre-paid vacation 

Consider including more than one winner and offering multiple prizes to attract more entrants to sign up for the competition. 

Run a contest to support a good cause 

Did you know that the majority of Americans only support socially responsible companies? Moreover, one-third of Americans are increasing the amount of money they spend on products and services supporting a good cause. With more consumers expecting brands to support social issues, it is important to state your brand’s social mission to keep up with the competition. 

Running a charitable contest is a smart way to keep your social media audience engaged and show your brand’s social responsibility. Choose a social issue that aligns with your company’s and audience’s values. 

To get your audience to enter the competition, you must present a copy that is compelling enough. It has to include information on why it is important to address the issue you have chosen. 

Writing an effective copy for a charity contest is often a challenge, even for the most experienced marketers. That is why it is helpful to use the services like Essay Writer Pro who knows how to create the right kind of content. 

Encourage participants to share their experiences 

The quality of customer experience is the pulse of every business. In fact, investing time and effort into improving customer experience is the main focus of as many as 68% of marketers

Improving customer experience and motivating followers to share their journey with your brand can be a powerful way to improve social media engagement. 

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Review terms of service of the target platform

You are responsible for running your contest legally. Therefore, before you publish your contest, you must take time to learn the terms of service of the social media platform(s) you are planning to use. 

Run contest, reflect, repeat 

To make the most out of your social media contests, you must run them regularly. Your ability to analyze and evaluate the results will also play a major role. 

While it is fairly easy to tell how many people have entered a social media contest, measuring the success of the campaign is more challenging. You need to know how many users shared the post, where they came from, and whether or not they converted into customers. Measuring each data point will help you evaluate your efforts and improve in the future. 

The Bottom Line 

Organizing a social media contest requires far more planning than many marketers assume. In order to design a campaign that will add value to your brand and engage more potential customers, you will need to carefully consider each element of the contest, from a hook, to the CTA, to the prize. 

Make your social media contest fun, easy to follow, and valuable to the audience, and everyone will walk away a winner.

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