How to Host a Successful Social Media Contest


Social media contests are one of the best ways to garner new followers and get the word out quickly about products and/or brands. These contests present the unique opportunity to engage with users from a different angle online by offering them the opportunity to get something in return for engaging with your content. That’s why it’s incredibly important to ensure social media contents are a part of your overall marketing strategy. Below are five tips to ensure you know how to host a successful social media contest.


Create a Budget

First, you have to decide how much money to put into the prizes and marketing for your event. Even if you are planning on having your contest prizes donated, marketing expenses add up. Decide how and where you are going to promote your contest, whether you will purchase ad space on Instagram or Facebook, or reach out to social media influencers for promotional coverage. A nice touch for online events is to send attendees gift bags to their homes or offices, so they have a physical representation of the event. Creating a budget for your contest is the only way to guarantee you stay on track fiscally.


Choose Where the Contest Takes Place

Understanding the differences in each social media platform’s capabilities when hosting a contest is important because it will dictate how well your event goes. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest all have different rules and ways to execute your contests that will affect how you run your own contest.


For instance, Facebook may seem like the most logical platform to host a contest considering it is the most used social media platform, however they have been increasing regulations around their contest capabilities due to liability issues. One rule that rings true throughout all of the platforms, however, is that no contest should be depicted as being endorsed by the platform itself. The platforms are simply hosts, allowing you to execute your contest, they are not involved or sponsors of the contest.


Considered Tiered Winners

Using a tiered winner system rather than having one winner will usually increase your contests participation rate because people see they have more than one opportunity to win something. Tiered winners also offer an incentive to contestants to come back for more contests in the future, either looking to beat their old positioning or hoping to get into the list of winners. Using a tiered winners list, you can offer first place winners a bigger prize, while other participants might win simple prizes like branded custom pens and pencils.


Create Rules and Regulations

Regardless of where you choose to host your contest, it’s important to create your own rules and regulations, and to clearly communicate those to your contestants. Declare the age necessary for entry, the dates of the contest, and the number of entries allotted for each person. Decide what social media aspects the contest will entail, like if the contestants will have to post on their own social media profiles to qualify or not.


Decide how to provide a method of contact for the winners and a method of delivery for any of the prizes. Review the rules of the social media platform you’ve chosen and see if they need a copy of your rules and regulations. It’s important to have everything laid out and in writing prior to the contests commencement, that way if anything were to go awry, you can return to your rules and go from there.These disclaimers should be made visible to all contestants so there are no misunderstandings of the rules.


Encourage Contestant Participation

Holding a contest online allows you to get the virtual community involved in promoting your contest. Create a hashtag for your contest that can be used across different social media platforms and encourage contestants to share it. Use your business page to post information and updates about the contest, like comments or share people’s posts about your contest. Suggest contestants share their entry on their page or in their profile status. Encouraging your contestants to be active participants will only help lead new users to your contest page and garner potential contestants.


Track Results and Feedback

Looking into the numbers collected from your contest is a great way to see how successful your contest was and how well you were able to engage with your community. Using an internet traffic tracking tool or Google Analytics, you can compare your actual engagement numbers with your projections, and see what worked well this time or what you need to change for your next social media contest. Also, you can send an email to contestants asking for their feedback about their experience. A tool like surveymonkey is a quick way to put together a feedback quiz, and the information you get back can be pivotal in making enhancements for your next contest.