And the Winner is… Creating A Social Media Contest That Converts

Social media contests are considered to be the best way to engage with your  customers. Not only are they fun to take part in, but they also offer lots of other benefits. To get them, you need to know how to effectively run a social media contest. Read on to learn how you can come up with a contest that will attract eager participants, and ultimately drive your sales up.

Maybe you can even get as many retweets as Dave Lackie:

He routinely does contest just like this, with retweet numbers in the thousands. He gets this engagement for a bottle of perfume worth $54 Canadian. Considering his job as the editor of Beauty, he either got it for free or for next to nothing. Twitter contests consistently drive interest just like this.

Why contests are a must-do for your brand

If you have not yet held any social media contests, you might wonder if conducting one would really be worth the effort. Here are some quick reasons that should convince you:

  • Contests are great for audience engagement: Having fun by taking part in a little game is a nice break from the usual promotional materials they see from you. With the prizes up for grabs, they are also more likely to interact with you and visit your site.
  • Contests can help increase your marketing reach: Most Twitter contests involve some retweeting and this will obviously expand your reach.
  • Social media contests can help build a community: Consistently running contests will bring people back to your Twitter account repeatedly until they become a community.
  • Contests are useful for data collection: The idea of getting a chance to win a prize makes people more willing to share information about themselves.

With these reasons, you now have a good idea of the impact that even small contests can have on your social media marketing efforts.

Choosing the type of contest to hold

Setting up your social media contest goals

When deciding on the type of contest to hold, don’t just go for any random one. It needs to fit into the purpose you intend it for. Some common contest goals are:

  • Generating more social media engagement
  • Growing your follower numbers
  • Increasing product sales
  • Creating buzz for a brand or product
  • Collecting customer information for email lists
  • Collating user-generated content

Once you have a specific goal defined, you can now begin ironing out the details of the contest.

Popular social media Contest types

Creative contests

These are contests where participants are required to submit their creations. Please are popular on social media platforms due to the fact that it gives creative people the chance to shine:

With this type of contest you need to provide participants with clear criteria and guidelines to follow when creating their entries. The common term used for this is ‘User generated content contest.’

Skill games

In this type of contest, participants are asked to complete certain tasks. The winner is the one who registers the fastest time or gets the most points. Depending on the social media platform where the contest will be held, the game can be held directly on it or you might need to set up a dedicated webpage for it.


Here, participants simply submit their personal details along with some other requirements. They then wait and see if their entries get to be picked as winners.

While they are very easy to implement, you will need to provide more engagement opportunities to keep people coming back before the final draw date.

Instant win games

These games let participants win a prize through daily or weekly draws. These often lead to a bigger draw at the end of the promo period.

Since you will be doing several draws, you need to allot more resources for the prizes.

Timed giveaways

This one requires participants to perform a specific task, such as answer a question, in a set amount of time. Winners are usually chosen as the “first x number of entries” to be sent in. Timed giveaways are great for quick interactions with your audience.

Note that these are not the only contest types at your disposal. You can also combine several of them to come up with a contest that is unique to your brand.

Other considerations

The user experience (UX) is another thing to think about when choosing the type of contest to implement. Different audiences respond to different types of contests. Casual participants tend to respond to contests like sweepstakes and giveaways better as they are easy to join. Creative contests are great if you want to target people like photographers or artists who are willing to spend more time on their entries.

You also need to consider the pros and cons of the various types of contests. Certain formats might be easier to do on a particular platform than others. The level of engagement that can potentially be generated should also line up with your target. Social media contests involving skills offer the highest level of engagement owing to the amount of effort needed, while games of chance are ideal for quick engagements with your audience.

Setting the rules of your social media contest

Creating the contest mechanics

When planning the rules of your contest, your goal is to come up with the most organic way for your target participants to join in. Consider their behavior on social media and use it as a basis for your design. This is one of the reasons why selfie-based contests are popular on the platform – thanks to the popularity of the activity itself.

This is particularly the case if the contest you are planning is intended to generate additional sales. Instead of compelling your audience to buy random products, choose the ones that are already popular with them. Looking for Games incorporated such a technique to promote their lineup of trading cards:

This creates a more intuitive way for them to participate and makes pushing your brand easier. To make your contest more manageable, include a definite timeframe. Depending on the nature of the contest and other factors, the time frame could be between a week and a month. This helps control the number of entries received, as well as add time-sensitive pressure.

Selecting your prizes

The main attraction of any social media contest is, of course, the prize. It should be something that your target participants would want enough to take part in the contest. Items related to your participants’ line of work or interests are the most suitable ones to use as prizes. 

Keeping the prizes relevant to your brand is also a must to increase recall. This is actually easy if the target audience for the prizes is the same as the general customers who consume your products or services. In that case, you can go ahead and use your products as prizes. Ace Hardware do this in their contests and keep their prizes paired with their store’s image.

On the other hand, diversifying the prizes helps in widening the appeal of your social media contest. By offering your prizes in tiers, leading to a grand prize, you build the excitement of the participants.

Promoting your contest

Calling the attention of your target participants

The promotions for your social media contest begins with where it is going to be held. Announcing the contest itself is straightforward: all you need is a post saying that the “contest is now open.” In case the contest is being run on a dedicated web page, you then include a link to the page. To add more interest you must include a photo of the prize to be won. Choose a compelling image to catch the attention of your audience. 

Cross promotions on other social media platforms are also important to increase the reach of the contest. Since you have already mapped out the sites that your audience frequent, you have a good picture of where to cross-promote. Create unique presentations for each platform to build interest, and take advantage of its unique features. Using services like Twitter Retweets also helps boost the effectiveness of your cross promotions and creates more interest. The same idea can apply to our Pinterest Repins Service as it helps drive interest through the power of high sharing numbers.

Going beyond social media also helps the effort in general. Reach out to people on your mailing list who might also be interested. You can also promote your social media contests outside of cyberspace by including the contest info on products customers buy from you. This is a nice way of reaching out to them and getting them to visit your social media pages.

Making your contest shareable

For your social media contest to really go viral it needs to be shared around a lot. One way of pulling this off is by incorporating social media sharing as part of the mechanics. Sharing should be very easy for your participants to do, and it should be able to be done on as many social media platforms as possible.

Giving contestants incentives for sharing is also an effective strategy. You could reward them with additional entries, in the case of raffle-based contests, to increase their chances of winning. All this taps into the desire of the contestants to win and encourages them to share more.

Determining the winners and doing post-contest engagement

Drawing your winners

If your social media contest has a simple process like “share this photo to join,” keeping track of the entries is easy. You might still want to use a tool to compile the data for all the entries. This not only helps in making the process easier, but also gives you the chance to collect more participant-related information to be used for marketing purposes.

When it is time for you to announce the winner, the process should be transparent. If you are doing a raffle, for example, doing a live stream or video of the announcement would work best.

For contests requiring judges to determine the winners you can provide participants with information on who they are going to be. The criteria used for determining final winners should also already be known to your participants well before the judging date.

You also need to announce the winners as soon as possible. This is preferably within 24 hours after the close of the submission of entries. As mentioned earlier, the date of announcement should already be determined and announced when you post the whole process. In the case of delays, inform your participants and the general audience immediately.

Engaging participants after your social media contest

One great thing about social media contests is that they create additional opportunities for marketing and conversions. Take advantage of it by continuously engaging the participants even after the announcement of winners is done.

Sending a “Thank you” note is one of the quickest ways you can show your appreciation to all those who took part. You can also go beyond that and give participants product discounts. For the winners, give discounts on products that are related to their prizes. Put these discounts on a limited-time offer to get them to respond immediately.

Showcasing your participants’ “winning moments” is also a good way to show your appreciation. Put up photos of your happy winners as they receive their prizes. If your contest involves user-generated content, curate those from the winners and best entries to create a post commemorating the event.

Congratulations to our Halloween 2016 Photography contest!!! Grand Prize Winner = ahnpan URL:…

Posted by Hubbyte Toy Store on Monday, November 21, 2016

The data you collected during the contest is valuable even long after it is over. One great way to use it is to create a follow-up marketing campaign. Since you have information about your participants, you can make the campaign even more personal. Tie previous contests in by promoting products similar to the prizes that had been offered. At this point, they would still be interested enough to purchase them outright instead.

Generate more sales with an exciting social media contest

Social media contests offer a variety of opportunities for you to engage your audience and market your brand. To take advantage of those opportunities, you need to know how to run one effectively.

  • Create a contest that best suits your audience: Study your target participants’ social media behavior and use that knowledge to plan a contest that they would want to take part in.
  • Offer the right prizes: It isn’t only about how expensive your prize is, but also how useful and valuable it is to your contestants. By making the prizes relevant to both their interest and your brand, you can create an opportunity to market your product afterwards.
  • Get people to spread the word: By making it easy for your participants to share the contest on social media, you not only attract more contestants, but also potential customers.
  • Don’t forget about after-contest engagements: By keeping in touch with winners and participants after the contest is over, you can create follow-up marketing opportunities to convince them to purchase products.

These pointers will not only make your contest an entertaining one for your participants, but they will also serve as effective sales generators for you.

Creating a Social Media That Converts in 2017

  • Social-media contests are one of the best ways to engage with your customers. Not only are they fun to take part in, but they also offer lots of other benefits.
  • Contests are a must-do for your brand because: Contests are great for audience engagement; contests can help increase your marketing reach; social-media contests can help build a community; contests are useful for data collection; consistently running contests will bring people back to your Twitter page until they become a community.
  • When deciding on the type of contest to hold, be clear about your goals.Some great examples include: Generating more social-media engagement; growing your follower numbers; Increasing product sales; creating buzz for a brand or product; collecting customer information for email lists; collating user-generated content.
  • To decide which type of contest you’ll hold, think closely about your audience and what would align best with their interests and talents. You can go with: Creative contests; skill games; raffles; instant-win games; and timed giveaways.
  • The user experience (UX) is another thing to think about when choosing the type of contest to implement. Different audiences respond to different types of contests. Casual participants tend to respond to contests like sweepstakes and giveaways better as they are easy to join.