How To Run High-Profile Social Media Contests

A social media contest might be the best strategy you’ve ever used to expand your audience, increase website traffic, and generate leads, but you need to be sure you’re using it properly in order for it to be effective. 

Social media contests increase impressions, engagement, and awareness. They also provide a great opportunity for new and current followers to be rewarded for their loyalty.  The average contest prize costs a company about $369, which is not a huge marketing investment, however, a $300 to $400 prize can be a big deal for an individual. Keep reading to learn more about why these types of contests work, what to include for a successful contest, specific tips for Facebook and Instagram plus ideas for contests in 2023. 


How & Why Do Social Media Contests Work?

More than 62% of people who participate in a social media contest will expressly share the facts with a friend to persuade them to enter the contest as well. This type of marketing is known as “word-of-mouth advertising,” and it represents about 13% of all client sales. This is because consumers are 90% more likely to purchase from a brand that a friend has recommended.

In addition, in a recent study by EasyPromos, Facebook giveaways generate 1,000% more interactions than other Facebook posts, while Instagram accounts that hold contests grow an average of 70% faster than other Instagram accounts (Source: Outgrow).  


Steps To A Successful Contest 

Now that you’re aware of the advantages of doing a social media giveaway or contest, let’s go over the top steps to complete in order to achieve success in 2023. 


  • Set Your Goals & Timeline

Decide whether your goal is to grow your social media following, produce more leads, keep customers, or boost brand awareness. Use this goal to create your social media contest. 


  • Pinpoint Your Budget & Prizes

What amount are you prepared to put into the competition or giveaway? Make sure you account for these in your annual budget if you intend to do these frequently to keep your following interested and involved.

You can allocate the budget between advertising and prize expenses once you know what it is. Choose whether you’ll give away a product, a monetary award, or something else entirely. Select a prize that speaks to your intended audience so that you can draw participants who are most likely to convert.


  • Know Your Audience & Select The Right Platform 

To choose the platform (or platforms) to hold your giveaway or contest, you must understand the demographics of your target audience.

Once you’ve determined your platform and audience, be sure to read and follow your chosen platform’s giveaway and contest guidelines, so your campaign is compliant. 


  • Create Rules That Can Be Found On Your Profile or Website

It is extremely important that you have a landing page somewhere with typed-out contest rules for participants to read. Although we are not a legal advisor, which we recommend always referencing if you have any questions about conducting your contest or giveaway, here is some verbiage to include in your contest rules:

  • “No Purchase Necessary”
  • “Purchase does not enhance chance of winning”
  • “Void where prohibited”
  • Details regarding non-monetary consideration
  • The identity of the host/promoter
  • Entry procedures and beginning/ending dates, including time and time zone
  • Eligibility requirements
  • An explanation of all methods of entry
  • A clear description of the prize(s); certain states have stricter regulations
  • Date winner(s) will be chosen and notified
  • Judging criteria must be clear and the sponsor should be able to show how the winner was determined based on objective criteria
  • Method of selecting a winner (to avoid any appearance of impropriety, it is recommended that sponsors avoid conducting their own drawings or determining the winners of their own contests)
  • Publicity rights regarding the use of Winner’s information (Sponsor should obtain written consent from Entrant to ensure compliance with state laws)
  • Publicity rights regarding the use of Participant’s information (Sponsor should obtain written consent from Entrant to ensure compliance with state laws)
  • Liability Limitations
  • Odds of winning
  • Physical address, not a PO Box

(Source: Short Stack)

  • Plan & Run Your Contest

This one is straightforward but creates a plan of tasks that need to be completed for your contest so you don’t miss a thing. At this stage, if you have to run your contest by anyone, do it now. Once your plan is approved, you’re ready to move forward and run your giveaway or contest.


  • Announce Your Winner(s)

It’s crucial to reveal the giveaway winner(s) for a variety of reasons. First, announcing your winner publicly is frequently a legal necessity in many countries. Some added benefits of announcing your winner(s) include: 

  • Legitimizing Your Brand & Contest 
  • Social Proof The Contest Took Place
  • Boost’s Your Brand’s Reputation 

Now how you go about announcing your contest or giveaway winner(s) is entirely up to you. There are several ways to go about it including a feed post, story announcement, email notification, blog post, website pop-up, and more. At the end of the day, it’s just important to ensure your winner(s) are notified in a timely manner by any of the suggested methods above. 


  • Measure Your Results 

The giveaway is over, and you’ve chosen a winner and delivered them their reward. It’s time to evaluate its performance in light of the goals you previously set. How successful was your social media giveaway or contest? Did you succeed in your mission? These analytics available can help you determine future contests or giveaways and even help you with your other organic and/or paid social media efforts.

Now that you know the overall steps to a successful social media contest, let’s dive into the channel-specific items that need to be considered for the top two contest-hosted platforms, Facebook and Instagram. 

Facebook & Instagram Contests 

Running a contest on Facebook makes sense because it is the most popular social media network. After all, this is probably where your potential customers frequent. Make sure you can operate your Facebook contest legally before you start it. Due to liability concerns, Facebook has tightened its regulations for contests. These regulations include: 

  • The responsibility is on you to communicate the terms of the contest. 
  • You must acknowledge that Facebook has not sponsored the contest and is not liable for its administration. 
  • You cannot use personal timelines as an entry mechanism for the contest (e.g. sharing, tagging, etc.)

Generally speaking, you can assume that you are in charge of the administrative and legal aspects of your contest while Facebook only provides the platform and participants. To learn more about Facebook’s contest rules, visit their Page Guidelines.

Instagram is a visual social media site. Your social media contest will do well on this platform if you have aesthetically pleasing products or are developing an eye-catching campaign. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your Instagram contest:

  • Clearly State The Rules & Establish Your Goals
  • Follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines 
  • Make an Announcement
  • Measure Your Results 


Social Media Contest Ideas

After reviewing all the tips, tricks, and strategy necessities, you’re probably wondering what types of contests produce the best results (leads, sales, conversions, and awareness). Here are some great social media contest ideas for your business to consider in 2023.

Contest & Giveaway Ideas:
  • Branded Merchandise Bundle (Product, Swag, etc.) 
  • Travel To A Destination (Near or Far)
  • Tickets To An Event (Concert, State Fair, Movie, etc.)
  • Seasonal Themed Package (Summertime = Cooler, Pool Floats, Grilling Utensils, etc.)
Ways To Ask For Participation:
  • Ask Them To Tag A Friend Or Share To Win
  • Ask Them To Test Their Knowledge (Questionnaire)
  • Ask Them To Share A Photo With Product/Branded Item 
  • Ask Them For Their Feedback & Opinions
  • Ask Them To Participate In A Challenge
  • Ask Them To Download Your App 
  • Ask Them To Nominate Someone
  • Ask Them To Vote

We hope this blog was helpful and gives you the foundation you need to create a successful social media contest strategy for your business. If you’re looking for a partner to guide you with the rest of your social media and digital marketing strategy in 2023 in order to increase leads, sales, and awareness even during today’s financial uncertainty, reach out to our team of experts today! We’d love to help reposition your business for success!