Social Media Contest Tips & Tricks


Running contests and giveaways online can be a great way to engage your social media audience…if done the right way! A contest gone wrong, can be costly, involve tiresome fulfillment times, and result in untargeted followers. With some strategy and the right tools, you can gain some huge wins for your brand with your next social media contest, and we’re excited to pull back the curtain for you in this post!

Social Media Contest Goals

The most important part of a social media contest or giveaway is identifying the goal or result you want to make happen and THEN align your strategy to it. Here are some examples of goals for your social media giveaways and contests:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
    Also known as “impressions” in your social analytics, this is when the goal is to get more of your target audience’s eyes on your brand.
  • Boost Brand Engagement
    This is where we get your target audience to interact with your social channel more through comments, likes and shares to enter to win your contest. The more engagement your social page has, the more reach the social channels will give you on all your posts.
  • Increase Follower Counts
    Contests can promote increased amount of page followers. For example, once someone engages in your contest post, Facebook will allow you to invite them to follow your business page, (if they haven’t already).
  • Drive Website Traffic
    Also known as “clicks”, you can encourage your target audience to click through to your website to enter to win.
  • Grow Your Email List
    Your social media followers are technically not “yours” due to data privacy laws, however if you can convert them over to subscribe to your email marketing list, you can market to them in their inbox more personally!

The great thing about social media contests is you can accomplish ALL the above-mentioned goals with one contest if you have the right strategy to support it!

Before You Launch Your Social Media Contest

A winning social media contest strategy shouldn’t cost you anything, in fact it should generate revenue! The giveaway, shipping, labor, and ad spend may cost you some money, however your return on investment should far outweigh the cost of you running the contest. Here are some preliminary things you need to have clarity on to run a successful social media contest.

  1. How To Collect Subscriber Information – before you run a contest you need to have a system that collects your contest subscriber information such as email marketing tool or hybrid CRM. If you don’t have this in place yet, you’ll need this set up before you begin. You can also use an assortment of social media contest software that is available to manage this data collection piece.
  2. Conversion Rates – based on your past marketing efforts, look at what your typical email and call conversion rates are for your leads. If you don’t know these numbers or haven’t established a consistent email marketing plan or cold call communications strategy, get this in place before you launch your contest.
  3. Customer Lifetime Value – Take a look what your customers typically spend with your brand in total over their “lifetime” and average this out. This is the average value of each of your customers.
  4. Know Your Costs For The Giveaway – put together a budget for how much your giveaway will actually cost before you blast it off on social media. Remember to include the cost of labor, packing and shipping, marketing graphics, copywriting needs to be considered, and the cost of your ad spend to promote your contest.
  5. Know Your Breakeven Number For Ad Spend – Based on all of the above factors you can calculate your breakeven ad spend so you don’t stretch your contest beyond what you’ll earn in new business.

Remember the success of your social media contest is all in the planning and how you continue to connect with the new followers and subscribers your contest generates!

Know The Rules For Your Giveaways & Social Media Contests

You always want to follow each social channel’s rules & regulations listed; you can refer to the list below with quick links to some of our favorite channels and some contest guidelines to that are key for each:

Meta/Facebook: Our top takeaways from Facebook’s Contest regulations include:

  • You’re responsible for running your contest, not Meta/Facebook
  • Be clear that your giveaways or contests are not affiliated with Facebook
  • CAN NOTrun contests that require users to pay to enter!
  • CAN NOTrequire people to share your Facebook post, share on your friend’s timeline, or tag people in the post.
  • ALWAYS get permission from users if promoting user-generated content

Instagram: Our top takeaways from Instagram’s Contest regulations include:

  • Acknowledge that your contest isn’t sponsored, endorsed, administered, or associated with Instagram.
  • List the date(s) the campaign will run, including the time zone.
  • Include any restrictions, like age and location
  • Must have a detailed description of how to enter, how/when the winners will be chosen, and if the winner is responsible for delivery/pick-up.

LinkedIn: When signing up for LinkedIn, every user has already agreed upon a general agreement, as they don’t have dedicated rules against contests or giveaways.

The rule of thumb is to comply with all regulations of these top three channels for each giveaway so you can run it everywhere without concern.

Steps To Create Your Social Media Contest
  1. Decide on your Giveaway
  2. Write the Contest Social Media Post Caption & Take a Photo of Your Giveaway
  3. Write the Terms & Conditions for your contest and read back through all of the social media channels rules and regulations for your giveaway to make sure you aren’t breaking any.
  4. Decide how you will collect contest subscribers (using your email marketing tool like Mail Chimp or Zoho, or by leveraging a social media contest tool such as…
    Woobox: A free plugin to WordPress & free app. Creates giveaways and online contests to connect with multiple platforms and collects likes, comments, and hashtags on social channels.RafflePress: Drag & drop Builder with lots of giveaway templates! It includes a random winner generator and built-in giveaway rules generator to keep giveaway compliant to social channels. It is free but offers pro plans for those that need more advanced features.

    Worries: Includes a free plan that offers giveaway layouts, 1-click winner selection, fraud detection, and more.

    Shortstack: Contest and email marketing tool great for voting, sweepstakes, contests, quizzes, and essay contests.

    SweepWidget: Offers 90+ entry method types on 30+ social media platforms. Easy drag and drop builder, can embed directly into website. Tracks and manages all entries and can randomly/manually select winners.

  5. Set up your follow-up email campaign, and social media strategy to continue to engage and convert your contest subscribers long after the contest is over.
  6. Publish you contest post and put some advertising dollars behind it! Make sure to monitor how the contest performs and optimize your ad spend keeping your breakeven number in mind!
  7. Create a ton of buzz when you announce your winners by sharing on social media and to your email marketing list!

Running a successful social media contest can be a fun and profitable way to support reaching your strategic marketing goals! If you still have questions, get in touch with us! We’re here to help your social media contest shine brighter online!