50 Fun Contest Ideas You Can Use Today

Contests are one of the best ways to build your brand, while simultaneously helping to boost social media engagement and build a targeted list of customers.

What's even better is that running contests is easy.

They're quick to set up, easy to manage, and can provide an astronomical ROI if done properly.

Wondering how you can get started with a contest today?

We've compiled 50 fun contest ideas that you can start using immediately.


Fun Contest Idea #1: Grand Opening Sweepstakes

If your business is just opening, there's few initiatives that can help create as much of a buzz as a well-designed grand opening sweepstakes.

And that's because a grand opening sweepstakes introduces your product to the world while simultaneously allowing people to enter to win a prize.

Typically it's recommended to keep the prize you give away related to your core business. That way you can ensure that everyone who enters is actually interested in your business, and not just an Amazon gift certificate.

Great grand opening sweepstakes ideas can include:

  • Gift baskets of your product
  • Annual subscriptions to your service
  • Baskets of local products
  • Gift certificates for your product or service
  • Brand merchandise

Grand opening sweepstakes can also be promoted on social media to help create a buzz about your grand opening.

Pro Tip: If you're opening a physical location, try announcing the winner of the giveaway at your grand opening to increase excitement and drive more people into your store.

Fun Contest Idea #2: Dog Photo Contest

If you've ever owned a dog, or know anyone with a dog, you might be aware of how often people with pets like to take pictures of their furry friends.

Take advantage of this phenomenon by running a contest that rewards the cutest, funniest or scariest dog as defined by the total number of public votes.

Take a look at this example photo contest run by the company UrDOgs:

fun contest idea

They were able to generate over 2300 entries and a ton of engagement.

Pro Tip: For an easy win, base your dog photo contest around a holiday like halloween, christmas, easter etc.

Fun Contest Idea #3: Tag a Friend Sweepstakes

There a different ways of running sweepstakes online.

One method is to provide an opportunity for users to submit their contact information (as in the example above), and another is to enter by sharing the contest with a friend.

When it comes to sharing, one quick and easy method to allow people to enter is to get them to tag a friend on Instagram of Facebook.

Basically all you need to do is create a post that describes what the grand prize is, and then ask users to tag a friend in the comments below for a chance to win.

At the end of the specified contest period, select a winner at random and announce them on social media.

It's that easy!

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #4: Like to Win

With social media engagement at an all time low, and some reports even seeing Facebook organic reach as low as 2%, some marketers have began doubting the value of building Facebook Likes as a long term marketing strategy.

That being said, even they couldn't argue with the increased social credibility that comes with Facebook Likes along with increases in exposure and overall brand recognition.

That's why some businesses run Like to win contests.

These types of contests are basically a sweepstakes, except the entry method is tied to someone Liking your Facebook Business page.

At the end of the campaign they can simply choose a winner from everyone who Likes their page.

Here's an example of a Facebook post that explains a Like to win contest in action:

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #5: Selfie Contest

Even if you're not gung ho about the whole selfie fad, that doesn't mean that your customers (and prospective customer) might not like taking selfies.

Give them the opportunity to share their selfies with you for a chance to win a prize by running a selfie contest.

First set up a photo contest or an Instagram hashtag contest in order to allow users to submit their selfies.

Choose a contest end date, and at the completion of the contest choose a selfie at random in order to crown the winner of your selfie contest. Alternatively, you can choose the winner based on the total number of likes, or based on a judging panel at the end of the campaign.

Take a look at this selfie photo contest:

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #6: Caption Contest

When people talk about user generated content, they're generally referring to images and videos submitted by users which they can then use in future marketing campaigns down the road.

But there's another type of user generated content which can be equally important, but often overlooked.

And that's captions.

Businesses can run caption contests to help crowdsource things like:

  • New menu items
  • Slogans
  • Mascots
  • New hotel locations
  • And many more

To get started with a caption contest, simply create a page asking users to submit their suggestion. They can then vote on which suggestions they like best, or browse through a gallery of all of the other submissions.

Fun Contest Idea #7: Tell Your Story Essay Contest

Want an easy way to engage your audience?

Why not try a contest prompting them to share their unique experiences that they had with your business. This can include descriptions of their stay, of your services, or their personal experience with your product.

In order to do this, set up an essay contest and allow users to submit their story as it relates to your business.

It's a great way of getting a personal account of what your business means to your users, and can also be a good entry point into some new testimonials or perspectives that you might not have considered.

Fun Contest Idea #8: Guess How Many Jellybeans Are In a Jar

There's a classic game of "guess how many jellybeans are in a jar" that's often used for fundraising. The jist of it is to have a jar filled with jellybeans. The person who is able to guess the correct number wins a prize.

Well this same game can be replicated on social media.

Simply post an image with the jellybean jar and have users comment with their guess for the correct number of jellybeans that they believe to be there.

If you want to get even more advanced and start to collect lead information in the process, you can create a sweepstakes which allows users to submit their email address along with their jelly bean guess.

Fun Contest Idea #9: Quiz

There are a number of different quizzes which can be run as a contest on social media. Depending what type of business and industry you're in, different types of quizzes will make sense.

For instance an brewery might run a quiz on different types of beers.

A car company might run a quiz on driving rules or specs of new vehicles.

Companies might decide to award all participants who score over a certain amount, or simply choose a winner from the entire number of users who participated.

Fun Contest Idea #10: Vote Contest

Vote contests are some of the most popular contests online today. And that's because vote contests are an easy way for users to voice their opinion (and people love to feel heard).

Vote contests can be used to:

  • Determine what products will go on sale
  • Determine which product to ship
  • Choose best dish of the year at a restaurant
  • Etc.

Take a look at this example from Lego where they ran a vote contest to determine which Lego product would be shipped next:

Using a vote contest this way, Lego is able to determine which of their products is the most popular while simultaneously engaging their audience by allowing them to be a part of the product creation process.

Fun Contest Idea #11: T-Shirt Design Contest

Looking for a new t-shirt design for your business?

Why not ask your audience to give you a hand?

Using a photo contest, you can ask your fans to help design a new t-shirt by uploading their designs which can then be voted on.

At the end of the contest period, the t-shirt design with the most votes could then be declared the winner, and the winner awarded a prize.

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #12: Referral Contest

One of the biggest challenges marketers face when running any type of contest is getting the word out about the contest once it's underway.

Well a referral contest takes care of that by rewarding entrants with more entries based on each new user they refer to the contest.

Different options that you have for running a referral contest include rewarding all users who refer over a certain number of people, or simply rewarding the entrant who has the top number of referrals.

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #13: Trivia

Want to test the knowledge of your audience in order to reward your most engaged fans with a prize?

Consider running a trivia quiz on your social media channels to find out who knows the most!

Trivia questions can include:

  • Founding history of your company
  • Product features
  • New releases
  • General industry knowledge
  • Others

For example, a bookstore might run a Harry Potter trivia quiz before the release of a new Harry Potter book. Or a local deli might have a quiz regarding when it was first founded, and fun facts about the city around the time it was built.

Whatever you decide to do for a trivia quiz, it's just important that you choose questions that'll be relevant to an audience that you want to attract and retain the most.

Fun Contest Idea #14: Show us how you use our product!

As a business, there's often no better joy than seeing your product in the hands of your customers providing value and being used.

Incentivize your customer to share their experiences by running a photo contest that asks them to share their favorite photo of themselves using your product.

Examples of this could include:

  • Snowboarding gear being worn snowboarding
  • Cars on road trips
  • Computers being used to create music

And a number of other options.

Contests like this are a great chance to collect user generated content of people using your product while at the same time building a tribe around your brand who's proud to display themselves as a part of your brand's community.

Fun Contest Idea #15: Retweet to Win

If your business has a presence on Twitter, there are few contests that are are easy to set up as a "Retweet to Win" contest.

To set one up, simple create a Twitter post with a share image, then specify that in order to win users must retweet the photo and tweet in order to be entered.

Here's an example of a retweet to win contest from the National Lottery:

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #16: Come up with a New Menu Item

If you have a restaurant, serving the same dishes year after year can get boring and repetitive.

That's why some restaurants choose to run contests that allow their customers to help come up with their newest menu items.

Using a caption contest users can submit what they feel would be the best new dish, and other patrons can vote on which one they'd like the best.

At the end of the contest, a gift card or another prize can be awarded to the winner of the best new menu suggestion.

Fun Contest Idea #17: Fill in the Blank

Fill in the blank contests are a fun way to engage with your audience, especially if you want to get them thinking about different ways they can use your product, and how it makes them feel in their day to day lives.

To run a contest like this, create an image and a caption contest that asks users to respond by filling in the blank.

People can then vote on the answers, or a winner can be selected from the total number of entrants.

Take a look at an example of a fill in the blank contest run by Oreo:

fun contest example

Fun Contest Idea #18: Cutest Baby Photo Contest

Who doesn't like a cute baby!

Take advantage of how many photos parents take of their babies by running a cutest baby photo contest.

Cute baby photo contests are great for different types of businesses looking to engage their audience, and can be run at various times of the year including:

  • Easter
  • Halloween
  • Christmas
  • St. Patrick's Days
  • And more

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #19: Instagram Hashtag Contest

Did you know that over 80 million photos are shared each day on Instagram?

Well that number's not slowing down anytime soon!

Take advantage of this trend by running an Instagram Hashtag contest.

Instagram Hashtag contests work by allowing users to enter the contest based on simply tagging an uploaded Instagram photo with a specific hashtag.

Photos can then be uploaded into a gallery for users to share and browse through.

This type of contest works great for:

  • Events
  • Grand openings
  • Seasonal promotions
  • Company slogans
  • Finding brand ambassadors

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #20: Holiday Giveaway

Holiday giveaways are a great way to show your holiday cheer by rewarding fans for following you.

Great examples of holiday giveaways can include gift baskets, free services, or getaways.

If running a holiday giveaway, remember to try and include the name of the season in the title of the contest so people will know it's seasonal.

Pro Tip: Consider running a holiday promotion that spans over multiple days for more than one chance for fans to win!

Fun Contest Idea #21: Guess Where This Photo Was Taken

Running a "guess where this photo was taken" contest is a great way to have some fun with your audience by allowing them to guess where a specific photo was taken.

This type of contest is great for radio stations, travel agencies, local tourism boards, and other types of businesses.

Winners can be determined by the first person to comment or submit the correct location where the photo was taken, or you can wait until the end of the contest to draw a winner from the total number of correct answers.

Fun Contest Idea #22: Name our Mascot

Get your fans involved by allowing them to help name one of the most iconic parts of your business: your mascot.

To get started with a contest like this, all you'll need is a simple photo caption contest template which you can run on Facebook, your website, or Twitter.

Then request users to submit their favorite name for your mascot.

The winner can be determined by a panel of judges or by choosing the one with the highest number of votes.

But be careful if you go with the total number of votes to determine a winner, after all you never know what people might choose!

fun contest ideas

Fun Contest Idea #23: Take a Photo with a Meal

Does your business serve food?

If so you might want to consider running a "take a photo with a meal" photo contest.

Simply choose a prize that you can reward the winner with at the end of the contest, and have users upload a photo of their meal for a chance to win.

This is a great way to get people talking about your food within their networks and can help spread the word about your business.

Fun Contest Idea #24: Be the 1000th Follower

Trying to grow your social media follower base?

Run a contest that rewards your 1000th follower with a prize.

Fun Contest Idea #25: Twitter Poll

Having a hard time finding what to give away as a prize?

Use a Twitter poll to ask your audience which prize they'd prefer!

Take a look at this Twitter poll which Hootsuite used to ask their uses which giveaway prize they'd prefer:

fun contest idea

This strategy is a great way to seed the idea of an upcoming giveaway to your Twitter audience and get them excited before it begins.

Fun Contest Idea #26: Pinterest Favorite Board Contest

Do you have an audience on Pinterest that you want to engage with?

Try running a Pinterest favorite board contest.

Pinterest contests work by allowing users to upload a Pinterest board to a gallery. This gallery can then be voted on by other users and the person with the best votes wins.

This type of contest works great for interior decorators, designers, or furniture companies that want to give their customers a chance to "showcase their dream living room", or even for fashion companies to allow users to upload "their favorite outfit board".

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #27: Best Poem Contest

Do your fans like writing poems?

Let them express themselves by running a best poem contest!

Best poem contests can be run using an essay contest which will allow users to submit their poem to a public gallery which can then be voted on, shared, and browsed by the public.

Winners can be determined by the total number of votes, or by someone on your team at the end of the campaign.

Fun Contest Idea #28: Halloween Costume Contest

People love dressing up for halloween! So let them upload their images of themselves in costumes for a chance to win a prize.

Simply run a photo contest and base it around a halloween theme.

People will then be able to upload photos of themselves for a chance to win!

fun costume idea

Fun Contest Idea #29: First 100 Entries Gets a Prize

Regardless of what type of contest you run, there's always room to spice it up a little bit by adding in more prizes that can be won.

That's why the "first 100 entries gets a prize" idea works so well.

Say for instance you were running the halloween photo contest listed above. If you really want to incentivize engagement, try adding that the "first 100 entries gets a prize" strategy to your contest.

You could also run this type of contest separate from any other campaign.

For example, you could have coupon or free download offer that is only available to the first 100 people who sign up.

Fun Contest Idea #30: Why Should You Win Video Contest

Are you offering a big prize that might garner a lot of attention?

Something like a world trip? Or maybe an unlimited supply of your product for a year?

Whatever it is, if it's a prize that's really compelling you might want to consider doing a "why should you win" video contest.

People can have a chance to upload a short video describing why they feel they'd be the best candidate to win the prize.

The winner can be determined by either a panel of judges, or by the most votes.

Fun Contest Idea #31: Best Dance Video Contest

Want to give your audience a chance to boogie?

Why not consider running a "best dance video contest".

Running a contest like this you'll be able to generate entries from all of your users, then allow them to vote on which video they feel has the best dancing.

It's a fun and easy contest to run that always gets a ton of engagement!

Fun Contest Idea #32: Search for a Spokesperson Photo Contest

Looking for your next spokesperson?

Why not crowdsource the task by asking your fans to submit photos of themselves in order to win a chance at being your new spokesperson.

All this contest requires is a photo contest, some brand recognition, and a breakdown of exactly what people will be getting if they do become your next spokesperson.

Fun Contest Idea #33: Tell us Your Love Story

There are few things that people like more than tales of true love.

Especially if you're a hotel, jewelry company, restaurant, or any other business that caters to newlyweds and people in love, running a "tell us your love story" contest can be a great way to move past the utility of your brand to start to develop meaningful relationships with your audience.

All you'll need is an essay contest for people to upload their stories, and they'll automatically appear in a public gallery for their stories to be seen by all.

Fun Contest Idea #34: Pick Your Favorite Character

If you have a TV show, comic book series, or any other characters that the public knows your business for, consider running a "pick your favorite character" vote contest.

The way it works is you put all of your characters on display. People can then vote for their favorite one using their email address, and at the end of the contest you can choose a winner based on the total number of users that voted.

This types of contest is a great way of getting lead information from people interested in your brand, can allow you to segment users based on their favorite character, while simultaneously running a giveaway to engage your audience.

Fun Contest Idea #35: Most Creative Comment

A most creative comment contest is simple, post a social media post that prompts users to respond with their most creative comment.

This can be used for things like:

  • Coming up with slogans
  • New ideas for your business
  • New products to add

Generally these types of contests are decided by the most votes (since that's a good indication of how popular each is. But of course you can always reserve the option to choose the winner based on your own personal preferences.

Fun Contest Idea #36: Best Song Contest

Best song contests are a great way to get ameteur musicians, dj's and other types of creative people engaged with your brand.

The way it works is people can upload their song, or rendition of a song which can then be voted on by the public.

These types of contests generally offer some sort of record deal, help with music production, or something of the sort.

Fun Contest Idea #37: Selfie in Store

One problem that a lot of local businesses face when marketing online is how to turn the effort that they put into online marketing into something tangible that they can see in store.

That's why the "selfie in store" contest works so well.

By creating a photo contest that enters users into a sweepstakes to win a prize if they upload a selfie of themselves in a store, businesses can help drive online traffic into their store, and reward them based on their participation.

Fun Contest Idea #38: A Riddle

Have some fun with you audience by posting a riddle for them to post on your social media channels.

You can find these online by searching "brain teasers".

Then ask your audience to respond in the comments to see who comes up with the answer.

Of the people who post the correct answer, choose one to win a prize!

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #39: Share Contest to Win

There are many different ways to run a contest, some of which require people to submit contact information in order to enter, and others which require people post images, or share in order to enter.

Contests that require users to share however, have a greater chance of going viral since the way in which the contest is designed is built to reach more people.

Take a look at this example post to see how you can create a share to win style contest on social media:

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #40: Download to Win

Do you have an app, ebook, or other product that you want to incentivize users to download?

Try running a download to win contest!

Simply let your audience know that anyone who downloads your ebook or installs your app within a set period of time will receive entry into a special sweepstakes to win a prize.

At the end of the contest period, simply choose a winner from the total number of people who downloaded your product and declare them the winner.

Fun Contest Idea #41: Checkin to a Location to Win

Have an in store location that you want to drive people to?

Consider running a promotion that rewards people for checking into your store location.

To do this, promote the campaign via email social media, then select a winner from the total number of check ins for the day.

Fun Contest Idea #42: Share Your Favorite Memory

One of the best usages of contests are their ability to help businesses collect user generated content.

And some of the best content that businesses can collect are images of customers using their product, or sharing their experiences with that business.

If generating this type of content is a priority, consider running a "share your favorite memory" contest.

In it, people can upload photos of themselves eating at your restaurant, staying at your hotel, or enjoying your product.

Fun Contest Idea #43: Back to School Contest

There's one occasion that has kids screaming, teachers scrambling, and parents ready to buy a slew of new products for the year to come.

And that's back to school.

Take advantage of this by running a back to school contest.

Back to school contests can be anything from a sweepstakes giving away clothing or school supplies, to photo contests showing off new school apparel.

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #44: Easter Giveaway

We all know Easter is a huge holiday for chocolate companies, but that doesn't mean that other companies can't take advantage of this holiday as well!

Run a Easter themed contest by bundling together some of your products or running an Easter inspired Instagram hashtag contest.

Fun Contest Idea #45: St. Patrick's Day Photo Contest

St. Patrick's is a great holiday to take advantage of especially if you work in the restaurant and bar industry.

People love dressing up in green for St. Patrick's day and showing their Irish pride.

Try running a St. Patrick's day photo contest to get people to share their experiences with you.

If you want to get creative, you can even consider running a St. Patrick's day cat photo contest:

fun contest idea

Fun Contest Idea #46: Father's Day Photo Contest

Father's day is a great time of the year to get families together. Companies can capitalize on this by running a Father's day photo contest.

Choose to enable voting or to simply choose one entry at random for a prize at the end.

Prizes can include:

  • Father son activities
  • Gift certificates
  • Weekend getaways
  • And more

Fun Contest Idea #47: Best Experience Essay Contest

Find out what matters to your fans by running a best experience essay contest!

In order to do this, setup an essay contest and allow users to submit their favorite experiences.

This can include things like travel, food, education, etc.

Fun Contest Idea #48: Selfie with a Friend

Give your fans the oppertunity to showcase their friendship by running a "selfie with a friend" contest.

First set up a photo contest or an Instagram hashtag contest in order to allow users to submit their selfies.

Choose a contest end date, and at the completion of the contest choose a selfie at random in order to crown the winner of your selfie contest. Alternatively, you can choose the winner based on the total number of likes, or based on a judging panel at the end of the campaign.

Fun Contest Idea #49: Why Should You Win Essay Contest

Do you have a huge prize people would be excited to win?

Consider running a "why should you win" essay contest.

People can have a chance to upload a short essay on why they feel they'd be the best candidate to win the prize.

The winner can be determined by either a panel of judges, or by the most votes.

Fun Contest Idea #50: Christmas Sweepstakes

Nothing says "christmas spirit" like giving back to your fans and followers for the holidays.

Christmas is a great time to run a sweepstakes since people are already in the midst of receiving gifts, and it's easy to position a giveaway around a christmas theme.

For more advanced christmas sweepstakes, consider running "12 Days of x" that awards different prizes leading up to the holiday.

That's a Wrap

There you have it! 50 fun contest ideas to help you run your next campaign. Like all campaigns, the contest itself is important, but the way in which you distribute and market the contest can make or break the overall turnout.

That's why we recommend emailing your list with every new promotion, and possibly even spending a little bit of money on Facebook ads to ensure the contest is a success.

Have a contest that stuck out to you? Ready to start running your contest today? If so, Wishpond's Facebook Contest Apps make it easy to create sweepstakes, photo contests, Instagram hashtag contests & more.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Written by Kevin Ho

Kevin is a Content Marketer at Wishpond specializing in social media marketing, marketing automation, lead generation, and conversion rate optimization. Follow him on Twitter @mayoshrimp.