The 21 Best Social Media Contests of All Time
Social media contest has proven time and time again to be one of the best ways to increase followers and sales, all in one go.
Anyone can run a social media contest, but creating one that brings impact and genuine results is another story. In order to have the best social media contest, you have to learn from the best.
So after reviewing thousands of social campaigns, we're bringing you twenty-one of the best social media contests of all time across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Let's get started.
1. Best Social Media Contest: #WaveVideoADay Challenge
Wave.video and The Facebook Queen Mari Smith joined forces to host a #WaveVideoADay social media contest. They challenged persons to create one video every day to improve their video making and social marketing skills. It became so popular that they created a social media contest with over 1,700 participants.
They simply asked people to comment on their contest post with a link to their own video(s). The winner would get free Wave.video services for a month.
Social Media Contests Tip: Collaborate With the Right Influencers
If you're not familiar with Wave.video, it’s an online platform that helps you to create and edit engaging videos and ads in minutes. So when they decided to host a challenge and contest with Mari Smith who at the time was endorsing business owners to use video for Facebook, Wave.Video found an influencer match made in heaven.
Having an influencer who aligns with your social media content goals and purpose goes a far way compared to collaborating with just any influencer with a massive following.
An influencer with more followers doesn’t necessarily mean better results. It’s all about the right fit for your brand.
Best Social Media Contest: #2 Luna Patches 6-Month Supply
Luna Patches gave three winners the chance to win a free
6-Month Supply valued at $108. They decided to use a landing page so they could track and monitor their entries.
Social Media Contests Tip: Add A Landing Page to Your Social Media Contest
With Wishpond's social media contest and landing page features, you can create beautiful landing pages like Luna Patches and monitor and make changes from the back end.
You can also connect your email listing software or app like MailChimp to track your leads and use them for future campaigns.
Need help starting your social media contest, or maybe you just want a simple landing page? With Wishpond it's easy.
Best Social Media Contest: #3 Zappos #ImNotABox
In 2016 Zappos.com started a social media contest asking followers to come up with the most creative ways to use their Zappos box.
The contest went viral and Zappos.com produced “Box Home,” a compelling short film that captures the emotion of the #ImNotABox campaign. The film spotlights a young boy who extends compassion to a homeless man in his community by constructing an innovative cardboard home consisting of various household materials.
Best Social Media Contest: #4 Backcountry’s #GoatWorthy
Backcountry is an online clothing brand that sells outdoor gear, so to help with brand awareness they created a contest to bring in more sales and UGC (User Generated Content). Contestants simply had to share pictures of their own best-ever experiences with a simple tag #goatworthy.
Each week the best photos on Instagram tagged with #goatworthy were viewed and the winner would receive a $50 gift certificate and a pair of Smith Optics Goggles.
Social Media Contests Tip: Use Your Social Media Contests UGC
A picture is worth a thousand words, but it's also worth trust. 85 percent of consumers find visual user generated content more influential than a brand photos or videos. When a potential buyer sees a real life person enjoying your product or incorporating it in their lifestyle, It makes them more susceptible to buying your product.
48% of customers say that UGC is a great way to discover new products. Having branded (hashtags or user tags) UGC helps to increase your brands SEO for better visibility.
Because UGC is more trusted than traditional advertising. Putting your UGC directly on your social media contest and website can improve conversions by up to 64%.
Best Social Media Contest: #5 Barkbox
BarkBox sells monthly subscriptions of dog toys, treats, and chews.In 2016 they created their branded hashtag #BarkBoxDay to help drive awareness for their products. Since then the hashtag has been used by over 173,665 Instagram posts and counting.
Barkbox doesn't have many giveaways or contests on their page. Instead, they collaborate with dog-themed brands that host giveaways and contests aimed at getting more Followers.
Social Media Contests Tip: Use A Branded Hashtag
Earlier we spoke about how UGC content can help to drive SEO and allow a person to discover your content, the same can be said for branded hashtags.
Creating a branded hashtag can be pretty straightforward. Your hashtag should be your brand's name or surround an event of your social media contest. You can also create a branded hashtag for:
- Product launches
- Sponsored Events
Remember a hashtag doesn't always get popular over night, sometimes it takes time to build steam. Just be consistent, use it in the right context and have fun with it.
Best Social Media Contest: #6 GoPro's #GoProMillionDollarChallenge
In 2018 to celebrate GoPro's HERO 7 Black product GoPro asked people to submit videos using the product and hashtag #GoProHERO7, showing what it means to be a part of the #GoProFamily. Each creator featured in the #GoProMillionDollarChallenge earns an equal share A Million dollars.
Social Media Contests Tip: Always Incorporate Your Product or Brand
The main goal of your social media contest should be to endorse your brand product. At the end of the day you want to be known and sell your products.
Always try to incorporate your brand in a creative way that doesn't come off as self-centered or a hard sell. Your customers still come first. You have to find a balance that works. With GoPro, participants had to use GoPro HERO7, but they made sure to ask for videos of their own adventures as well as what it means to be apart of the #GoProFamily.
Try to Incorporating Your Brand in Creative Ways with your social media contest.
Best Social Media Contest: #7 Live the Rockstar Life by Kinky Boots
To celebrate their Facebook account reaching 200K fans, Kinky Boots gave away 200 limited-edition prints of Tony Award-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes’ sketches. Since then every year on their Facebook page they now host a Facebook contest to win VIP tickets to their show combined with other prizes.
Social Media Contests Tip: Say Thank You To Your Fans
Year after year Kinky boots makes sure to tell their broadway fans and contestants thank you, celebrating them for helping to support and build their brand. After a contest there are three things you should do.
1. Show-off, your Winner Once you’ve picked your winner(s), and let them know. Beforehand via email, then after you can mention, tag and share their contest entry on your social media platforms.
2. Do a Follow-up post Upload a video or image to letting everyone know that you've selected a winner and that the contest is officially done.
3. Say Thank You Don’t just highlight your winners and contestants, let your entire community of customers and followers know that you were happy to share this experience with them.
Best Social Media Contest: #8 Doritos Flame Grilled Steak
If you're looking for a brand that has mastered social media contests and giveaways it's Doritos. They always seem to know what prizes and social media contests will excite their audience.
To promote their new Flame Grilled Steak flavor bag of chips, Doritos created a giveaway giving winners the chance to win a free box of the new flavor.
Social Media Contests Tip: Use An Easy Entry Method.
When social media contest fail to get entries, it's mainly due to confusing entry methods. People do not want to jump through hoops just to win a free prize.
The easier you make it to enter your contest, the more people will enter to win. Doritos simply asked followers to put flame emoji's to enter. This tweet got over 300 replies (entries) and almost two hundred retweets.
Best Social Media Contest: #9 Dominos #PieceofthePieContest
[Dominos](https://www.instagram.com/p/BSHybxODrbj/ ) decided to host a contest rewarding 50 members with a $10,000 check, and 10 of those winners would receive a “super fan experience” trip to Domino’s world headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
All contestants entered by posting a picture proving they were superfans of Dominos using the hashtag #PieceofthePieContest.
Fans found so many creative ways to enter the contest it went viral, which helped to increase online orders sales for Dominos by 20%.
Social Media Contest Tip: Try To Include Your Fans In Contest
It's a well-known fact that Dominos like other brands have mastered the art of creating a cult following as well as an online community. Regardless of what you do on social media, nurturing, engaging and recognising your fans will always result in building a stronger online presence. And that in turn results in more dedicated buyers and fans.
That's why it's crucial to create an online community around your brand. The only way to do that is to engage. If you’re not sure how to engage with your followers here are the to 8 Best Ways to Increase Social Media Engagement for Your Brand.
Best Social Media Contest: #10 Sunny Co “Pamela SwimSuit Giveaway”
Popular swimsuit brand Sunny Co would host annual giveaways to win a free red bathing suit to anyone who simply reposted (or retweeted) and tagged the brand in their giveaway post. Sunny Co giveaway's second attempt was so successful on Instagram alone they received 56,549 likes and 11.4k comments.
The contest gained popularity on Instagram so fast they gained over 750k followers overnight.
The price of quick fame came with some heavy backlash too, the owners of the company who now had to potentially giveaway tens of thousands of FREE bathing suits after the contest went viral.
Social Media Contests Tip: Always Use Clear Guidelines & Rules
Hours after the contest started picking up steam the original post was edited and stated that the offer was valid only in the U.S. and that individuals were responsible for covering the shipping and handling.
Now despite the thousands of free swimsuits and a few angry customers that went to Twitter and Instagram to vent, in the long run, Sunny Co still ended up making more money on shipping and new found customers after their giveaway blunder.
It's important to have guidelines or terms and conditions so that you can avoid all types of backlash. It won't always come in the form of angry customers making memes, it might just be some serious legal action.
If you're thinking of running a social media contest anytime soon, read the Complete Instagram Giveaway Rules Guide (With Examples) before you start.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning on making something go viral, make sure you have the right logistics and quantity controls in place.
Best Social Media Contest: #11 Glossier
Beauty brand Glossier has a cult-like following on social media. The blog turned business is well known for its products and funny social media memes.
Glossier doesn't run many social media contests, but here's why they make a list. They rarely do social media contests but when they do the prize is always enormous. For example, a person could enter to win a year supply of Glosserproducts for the winner AND a friend.
Social Media Contests Tip: Try Not to Host Contest or Giveaways too Frequently
The takeaway from Glossiers social media contest and brand is to be smart with your social media contest. Some brands host contest every week while others do it annually or during major holiday seasons.
I find that if you do giveaways too often they lose their luster after a time and wear people down. We found the sweet spot for running contests is either every quarter (4 times a year), and depending on the business can be upwards of every 2 months for certain brands.
To see examples of contests running throughout the year sign up for a free contest walkthrough and we'll show you different contests you can run during any season.
Best Social Media Contest: #12 Iceland Naturally Giveaway
Iceland Naturally is a travel brand encouraging people to visit and travel to Iceland. They’re social media is mainly focused on food, fun and the Iceland lifestyle. In 2015 they hosted a successful sweepstakes giving away a trip for two to Iceland.
Social Media Contest Tip: Sell An Experience with Your Social Media Contest
Blueboard reported that 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experience-related purchases. Iceland Naturally used their social media and social media contest to create a lifestyle and experience around their services.
It isn’t enough to just sell your products, you have to show people what your product means to them. Selling an experience and lifestyle is far more valuable. Iconic brands such as Apple and Coca-Cola have realized the power of their brand experience to build a connection with their customers.
Stop selling and start sharing, let your customers see UGC and your products at work. This will indirectly boost contest entries and followers on your social media platforms.
Best Social Media Contest: #13 Lego Space Theme Contest
Lego prides itself on their creative social media content that's able to connect with followers young and old.
Lego makes fans feel apart of the ongoing story of the brand. Part of their strategy relies on user-generated content campaigns, which are second-to-none compared to other brands. Fans are even serious about promoting Lego ideas in the past, all at absolutely zero cost to Lego itself.
This contest is out of this world! ? Build the coolest space themed model and it could have the opportunity to be a "gift with purchase" set in 2019! ??? For more info: https://t.co/8rfYwDjPqe pic.twitter.com/qLlR0Jq8yJ— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) January 15, 2018
Social Media Contest Tip: Use Your Social Media Contest To Get Product Feedback
Each time Lego promotes its products and social media contest they get a lot of helpful product feedback that helps them to go back to the drawing board and create a better product.
The same can be done for your brand. During your social media contest actively listen to your audience to hear what they have to say about your product or service. You can even sneak in a survey link after the contest to get the ball rolling.
For more tips on what to send participants after a contest, check out The 5 Follow-Ups You Need to Convert Contest Leads into Paying Customers.
Best Social Media Contest: #14 Skittle Greatest Fan in the World.
Skittles became one of the first big brands to make its home on social media. In 2012 they decided to host an international social media contest called the Skittle Greatest Fan in the World.
All of the photos were posted directly by fans on the page and the winner would get the title as "Skittle Greatest Fan in the World."
Social Media Contest Tip: Use Your Brand's Voice
Skittles serves as a great example of how finding your voice can truly engage customers.
It does take a fair amount of time to craft your brand's voice, but ultimately it comes down to truly understanding your brand and then bringing a unique voice to the table. It's tough, but it can be the difference between standing out in a sea of competitors.
Best Social Media Contest: #15 Starbucks’ #WhiteCupContest
What would this list be without Starbucks?
Each year Starbucks makes headlines with their cup designs and fan contests, so of course, they made this list of the best Instagram contests.
Participants must create an original design on a white Starbucks cup and post it to Instagram or Twitter. The winner’s design will be produced as a limited edition cup for a select season (mainly in fall).
Social Media Contests Tip: Pick A Great Contest Topic
If you're going to host a contest, let it be something creative, unique and fun. No one wants to enter a dull contest.
But coming up with a contest topic or idea is the hardest part of creating a contest, it impacts the whole contest outcome.
How many people did Starbucks employees see doodling away on their white coffee cups? How many customers did the Starbucks social media team see people posting directly to social media?
Starbucks did their research first then based on what they saw came up with a contested topic that's now an annual ritual for their cult-like following. You can do the same. If your not sure which contest topic to choose, check out 50 Fun Contest Ideas You Can Use Today.
Best Social Media Contest: #16 Ben & Jerry’s #CaptureEuphoria Contest
Ben & Jerry’s #CaptureEuphoria Instagram contest asked their fans to take a picture of themselves eating ice cream in a way that captures the “euphoria” of eating Ben & Jerry's. The winners would appear in custom-made ads for Ben & Jerry’s; each ad will also shout out the original user who took the photo, encouraging people to check out their Instagram.
Social Media Contests Tip: Ask Your Fans For Help
Instead of raking their brains to create the perfect ad campaign, Ben & Jerry's decided to ask their fans for help to capture the perfect Ben & Jerry's moment for their ad.
If looking for brand ambassadors, content and yes even images or videos for an ad campaign use your social media contest to inspire you and engage your followers.
Best Social Media Contest: #17 Heineken’s Instagram Scavenger Hunt
In 2013 Heineken used Instagram to take their followers on a Scavenger Hunt by posting images on their account in the form of a mosaic, Followers could browse their Instagram to find the right images, to win tennis tickets.
Since Heinekin was the first brand to use this style on Instagram especially for a social media contest like a scavenger, the contest was deemed the most creative at the time.
Best Social Media Contest: #18 Buffalo Wild Wings’ #Fannerism Contest
Buffalo Wild Wings took advantage of the 2014 World Cup to promote their brand. Contestants had to share your #fannerism by taking a pic of themselves and their friends watching their favorite teams. The winner would get to share a gift card with their friend
Social Media Contests Tip: Create Holiday & Event Centered Contest
Having a holiday or event centered contest helps to drive some holiday traffic and brand awareness to your page. You'd be tapping into a market ready to by or celebrate, which makes it a good time to generate fans and email leads, and ultimately getting business sales in the busiest time of the year.
If you're not sure which holiday or event might fit your brand, you can take a look at these 5 Creative Holiday Contest Ideas & Examples
Best Social Media Contest: #19 Wishpond Shopify Giveaway
We decided that we wanted to give our followers a prize that was not only exciting but helpful along to their business.
So we decided to team up with Lucky Orange, Sprocket, LoyaltyLion, and Gorgias to give persons the chance to Win the Ultimate Shopify 10x Marketing Giveaway to upgrade their #Shopify store with tools valued over $10,000.
Social Media Contests Tip: Monitor Your Contest
During our contest, we wanted to make sure it got the most exposure so not only did we post the contest on our social media platform but asked the brands we collaborated with as well to do the same.
We took it a step further and created an incredible landing page and entry method on our website sidebar so if customers browsing through our website saw it they could easily access the contest.
We measured and watched as leads came in and once the entries started to slow down, we ramped up our social media contest awareness on social media to drive more contestants to enter.
Monitoring your social media contest can help you to see if your marketing is working, if people are interested or if you need to push it more on social media.
A common mistake most brands make is that they create a contest and leave it on its own to draw in a crowd. Unfortunately that's not how successful social media contest work. If you want great results, you have to put in the work to make sure it's great.
To see examples of contest ads and get ideas for your own campaign, click here to book a time to talk to one of our experts today.
Best Social Media Contest: #20 A 29Rooms VIP Contest
Refinary29 is one of the biggest media companies focused on women, social issues and modern art. In 2015 they found a way to combine all three with their 29Rooms exhibition.
29Rooms explores topics like culture, finances, fashion, and beauty where 29 Rooms are created by artists and brands with interactive installations and art.
The attraction became one of the most selfie-worthy events of the year, and was named the most "disruptive event of New York Fashion Week". Influencers and brands worldwide come to visit and take part in the most Instagrammable moments.
Each year they run a social media contest to become a 29Rooms VIP guest. where people are asked to state why they want to win, and the winner receives tickets to the event. They would be a Refinery29 VIP, dressed by a stylist and beauty team, get to mingle with VIP influencers and asked to host the event via IG Live.
Social Media Contests Tip: Give Your Contestants A Great Prize.
Refinary29 understands their audience, and knows what matters to them.
You may not have a big marketing budget to send your social media contest winners to a massive event, but the key takeaway would be to make your prize worthwhile. If the prize isn't great, people will be less likely to enter or take part. If you have small following a 15% discount or $50 shopping spree isn't going to draw in a crowd of contestants. Think outside the box, and come up with a more compelling creative prize.
If your not sure what kind of prize to have for your giveaway, you can offer prizes like:
- Discount Bundle
- Product Prize(s)
- Major Shopping spree (offline or online)
- Collaborated Giveaway
- Brand Ambassador Title
- Early access to products/services
- Swap services with a compatible brand
- Free trip or meal
- Tickets to popular events
- VIP services or access
Pro Tip: If you can't offer any of the prizes above then you have to make sure that the winner's experience is amazing. That means shipping your prize on time, keeping in contact with participants and thanking them for entering your contest.
Best Social Media Contest: #21 A Taco Bell Snapchat Contest
In 2017, Taco Bell shattered a SnapChat record with its taco-head filter contest. It was reported that the contest only cost Taco Bell around $750,000 to set up but it gave them over 224 million views within a single day and raised sales in select TacoBell locations.
Taco Bell used Snapchat as their social media platform where users were asked to share their filtered pictures online, the results could have been phenomenal.
Taco Bells taco-head filter contest was so good it made the list of the best Snapchat contests.
Social Media Contests Tip: Plan Your Social Media Contest Ahead of Time
Taco Bell didn’t get up one day and forked over $750,000 out of thin air, they sat down and planned out their marketing strategy, contest goals and what they would need to make it successful.
The better you plan for your social media contest the more you’ll get the results you're aiming for. When planning your social media contest here are a few things to consider:
- Choose a goal for your social media contest
- What brand hashtag will use?
- How will you bring awareness to your contest?
- What are your guidelines or “How to Enter” instructions?
- What is the start and end date of the social media contest?
- Do you need to include participation restrictions?
- How will you decide and announce the winner?
- How the prize will be delivered?
I hope this article with list of 21 best social media contest and tips were helpful! Having a social media contest can give you a massive pay off if you do it right.
Which social media contest was your favorite? What’s your takeaway for your own brand.