Social media contests are a great way to increase engagement, reach, followers, and generate leads. You can run social contests on a variety of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and your website. Having great social media contest ideas and examples is the easiest way to get started.
In this article, I’ll give you 6 of the leading social media contest ideas, break down how you can run a social contest for your business, and deliver some proven contest prize ideas.
Remember, these are just a few examples. There are endless possibilities for social media contest ideas…
Social Media Contest Idea #1. Vote Contest
With a Vote Contest, you can gain interaction with your supporters by asking them their views, and your supporters get to take action by voting. Running on a Vote Contest is a great way to show you listen to your fans.
This social media contest idea is extremely simple to set up on your Facebook page or blog. Vote Contests have a low barrier to entry – all voters need to do is click “Vote” and enter their email. Then they get to share their views by clicking on their vote option preference.
You get to collect entrants’ emails, and you can track results in real-time to monitor campaign performance in our Social Marketing Suite.
Once a fan votes, a post is automatically shared on their Facebook profile, inviting their friends to vote their view too. This generates buzz for your campaign and creates a potentially viral campaign for your business.
Social Media Contest Idea #2. Photo Contest
Photo Contests are another great way to increase social media engagement. With a smartphone within reach at all times, it seems like we are all passionate about photography these days. And everyone likes to share their photos.
Photo Contests through Wishpond are very simple to set up. They have a relatively low barrier to entry, with fans simply submitting their email and uploading a photo.
Photos are some of the most viral content on social platforms. Photo contests can also create a buzz with your Fan’s family and friends online, thereby increasing your brand’s reach to new people.
Social Media Contest Idea #3. Photo Caption Contest
Photo Caption Contests are a great social media contest idea to engage fans. They often stimulate competition when entrants get passionate. Photo Captions can be a lot of fun for both the entrants and the business running it.
There is generally little creativity involved in a Photo Caption Contest, but they have a low barrier to entry. Users submit and vote on captions (titles) for photos.
Once submitted, entrants automatically share a post on their Facebook profile, inviting their friends to join too. This generates buzz for your campaign and creates a potential viral campaign for your business.
Social Media Contest Idea #4. Sweepstakes
Sweepstakes are the most simple type of contest with Wishpond. They can be set up in minutes and are automatically optimised for mobile – like all of our apps.
Users simply click ‘Enter Sweepstakes’, submit their email, and they’re entered to win.
Once signed up, entrants can share a post on their Facebook profile, inviting their friends to join too. This generates buzz for your campaign and creates a potential viral campaign for your business.
Like all of our contests, you get to collect entrants’ emails, and you can track results in real-time to monitor campaign performance in our All-in-One marketing suite.
Lujo has set up a Sweepstakes to give away a $500 voucher for their bean bags, hammocks, and sun loungers in the contest idea below. Contestants easily enter their email, first name, country, and email address to enter.
It’s best to have the prizes of your contest relative to your industry. Gift cards and vouchers are easy, versatile prizes to give out. We have also written a post on nice prize ideas that your business could make use of.
Social Media Contest Idea #5. Essay Contest
Essay contests ask more of your supporters, as you are asking them to express their views in words. Setting them up, however, is as simple for you as with all of our other apps.
With an essay contest, you can ask your supporters what makes them passionate about your cause. You can ask your fans if there is a story they would like to share and give them a chance to make their voices heard.
This not only gets your fans and followers more involved by knowing you want to hear from them and to share their stories, but you also are able to showcase this written passion, which may ignite a flame in others.
You can create prizes for the best essay, using those with the most votes (by getting the most votes, entrants are more motivated to share their essays through their social platforms and friends). Prizes don’t have to cost much if you are a smaller business; they could be as simple as spending a day with those who you help, recognition by posting it on your website, and/ or a gift certificate related to your cause or target market.
Social Media Contest Idea #6. Video Contest
Video contests are another easy option to set up. They can be used on your Facebook page and/ or embedded on your website. They are mobile compatible and have auto-sharing by entrants.
Of course, you can run all kinds of video contests using Instagram Reels, TikTok, and any other kind of short-form social media video content.
Video contests, like essay contests, require more effort from your entrants. They can be very motivating, too, for those who are passionate about your cause. And, like the essay contest, they can provide a spark in others, which may ignite a passion for your cause.
Social Media Contest Idea #7. Like to Win
Run a Like-to-win contest and select a random winner from the total number of users that Like your Facebook page or social media post.
This is one of the best social media contest ideas because it forces your audience to engage with your post. Instead of them only joining your contest through a landing page, they interact with your account. This will help your contest post to reach more people and gather even more engagement.
You could even ask your entrants to tag a friend in the comments or share the contest post for a chance to win. This will increase your engagement even further.
33 Social Media Contest Ideas
If you’re just looking for some inspiration about what to give away or what kind of social media contest to run, here’s a comprehensive list of proven social media contest ideas that you can use:
Holiday Contest Ideas
1. Easter – Run an easter contest and allow your fans to enter to win an Easter gift pack. Easter sweepstakes are great for chocolate shops, hotels, and other businesses in the hospitality industry.
2. Christmas – Christmas is one of the most popular holidays of the year. Capitalize on this event by running a Christmas contest. Allow users to enter to win a Christmas basket, gift cards, or bundles of related products.
3. St. Patrick’s Day – St. Patrick’s day is a great time to run a contest since people love to get dressed up, go out for drinks, and have a good time. Reward your customers and fans prizes for wearing green and showing their St. Patrick’s day spirit!
4. New Years – New Years is a great time to run a contest! Not only are people looking to get into shape, but they’re also looking to go out and have a good time! Try a New Year’s sweepstakes or even a photo contest to take advantage of this holiday.
5. Father’s Day – Father’s day can be a great opportunity to run a photo contest or even a sweepstakes for a father-son giveaway package.
6. Mother’s Day – Don’t forget about mom! Run a mother’s day promotion that can include giveaways for the family and chances for people to share their favorite memories with their moms.
7. Valentine’s Day – Valentine’s day is an awesome chance for a ton of businesses to run a social media contest. Whether it be a photo contest, romantic dinner giveaway, or others. Check out Our Most Successful Valentine’s Day Campaigns for inspiration.
8. Thanksgiving – Run a Thanksgiving promotion as people get together for the holidays. Contest ideas can include “what are you thankful for” essay contests or share your Thanksgiving memories photo contests.
9. Halloween – Halloween is one of the best times of year to run a photo contest, and that’s because people love taking photos of themselves in their costumes. In particular, photo contests that allow for voting and sharing can get quite a lot of reach during the Halloween season. Check out [5 Spookily Successful Halloween Contest Examples Critiqued]https://blog.wishpond.com/post/115675436138/5-spookily-successful-halloween-contest-examples-critiqued) for more.
For more on runing a holiday contest, check out “5 Creative Holiday Contest Ideas & Examples
Pet-Related Contest Ideas
10. Cute Dogs – If you’re a dog owner, or if you know anyone with a dog, you might be aware of how many photos they have of their dog at any given time (the answer is a lot!). Use this to your advantage by running a cute dog photo contest.
11. Pet Halloween Costume – Sometimes pets can have even better costumes than their owners. Run a best pet Halloween costume contest to determine which pet has the best costume as determined by a panel of judges or voting.
12. Funny Pet – Try running a funny pet video contest to determine which outfits, actions, and behaviors people determine to be the funniest. These types of contests are great with a voting element.
13. Favorite Pet Memory – Let people share their favorite memories of their pet through either a short essay or comment, or through a photo and a caption.
Milestones Contest Ideas
14. Graduation – No matter if it’s high school, college, trade school, etc, graduation day is one of the biggest days in a lot of people’s lives. Let them share their graduation memories and participate in a contest.
15. Back to School – Back to school is a time when people all over the world begin looking for school supplies, clothing, and things needed for their studies. This is a popular time to run things like back-to-school sweepstakes and others that can help people get prepared. Check out 4 Back to School Contest ideas & Examples for inspiration.
16. Wedding Day – There are few if any more significant say in people’s lives than their wedding day. Run a wedding day social media contest and allow people to post pictures of their special day, comment on a photo, or submit a video of a first dance.
17. Engagement – Use people’s engagement stories to run a “how did you get engaged contest.” This can easily be done through a photo or essay contest. This type of contest can be great for jewelry stores, hotels and resorts, and other types of establishments.
Arts Contest Ideas
18. Best Song – If you’re a band, recording studio, music store, or even a live contest venue, running a “best song” contest can be a great way to engage your audience by allowing them to upload their own original tracks and voting on each.
19. Best Poem – Poetry can be subjective, so sometimes it’s difficult to run a poetry contest that is decided by voting. Often poetry contests can be decided by a panel of judges, however, and is a great way of raising awareness for publishers, schools, causes, etc.
20. Best Dance – Using a video contest, you can easily run the best dance contest! Best dance contests are great for dance schools, promoting live events, and encouraging community engagement.
21. Drawing – People love to share their art; give them a chance to share it with the community by running a drawing contest. People can submit their art, view all entries in a gallery, and vote on their favorite.
User-Generated Content Contest Ideas
22. Name our Mascot – Ask your fans to help pick the name of your mascot! This can be done by using a caption Contest which will allow users to submit their entries and allow others to vote on which one they like best!
23. Logo Redesign – Leverage the creativity of your audience to help come up with a logo redesign. Users can submit their renditions of your logo for a chance to win a prize.
24. Selfie Contest – Selfie contests have been phenomenally popular on Instagram and Facebook in the past few years. They’re also a great way to get user-generated content for your customers at different venues and events. These photos can then be aggregated into a gallery to help build a community around your brand.
25. Product in Action – Ever wonder how your customers actually use your product? Run a photo contest and ask them to share their experiences using your product for a chance to win a prize. You might be surprised by what you discover!
26. T-shirt Design – Allow your fans to design your next with the best t-shirt design contest!
27. Company Spokesperson – Who better to be a spokesperson than by choosing someone who’s already crazy about your brand. Use a contest to collect entries for your next spokesperson and allow fans to vote on who should win!
Sports Contest Ideas
28. Superbowl – Anytime there’s a big sporting event, there are a ton of opportunities for companies to capitalize on. And there’s no bigger sporting event than the Superbowl. Use all of the attention of the big game to run a giveaway or photo contest to get your fans engaged and allow them to show their team spirit.
29. NHL / NBA Playoffs – Run an NHL / NBA Playoff contest to get your fans excited for the big game. Giveaway prizes can include tickets to a game or a bundle of products that can be used during the playoffs.
30. World Cup – Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. No matter if you’re a bar, restaurant, sporting goods store, or even a local sandwich shop, take advantage of the World Cup to run a contest that will get your fans excited.
31. Olympics – The Olympics is one of the biggest worldwide events that ever takes place. There’s no shortage of contests you can run to help show national pride and to support local athletes during that time.
In-Store Contest Ideas
32. In-Store Selfie Contest – People love taking selfies; why not reward them by letting them take a selfie in your store for a chance to win! These types of contests are great to incentivize more foot traffic into your store.
33. Favorite Dish – If you’re a restaurant, consider running a “favorite dish” contest. Customers can name or upload a photo of their favorite food item for a chance to win a prize.
Tips & Social Media Contest Best Practices
Make Your Prize Relevant to Your Business
One of the main things to remember when running any contest is that at the end of the day, people are entering for the contest prize that you’re offering. For that reason, if you give away an iPad, you can expect that the people who enter are interested in iPads.
Don’t make the mistake of being a pet store and giving away an iPad because chances are at the end of the contest, you’ll end up with a list of people who want iPads, and not your store’s products.
Give Away Gift Cards
One easy solution for generating a targeted list of potential customers is to give away a gift card that can only be used at your business. This way, you’ll know that everyone who enters will be interested in your store’s products and will be much more receptive to follow-up offers from your business.
Take a look at this example from Sock Mafia, which gave away a year’s supply of socks to one lucky winner.
Give Away Local Products for Local Businesses
One tip we commonly give to local business owners is to focus on giving away local products whenever possible. By giving away products, such as gift cards, and other items which can only be used locally, you ensure that the people who enter will be local.
Send Post-Contest Follow up Emails
Shortly after a contest ends is one of the best times to follow up with all your contest participants thanking them for taking part in your contest. This is a great opportunity to send a follow-up offer and prime them for any additional content that you wish to send them after the contest.
Use Facebook Ads to Promote
Especially for well-designed contests, there are few tools that are as effective for increasing exposure and reach as Facebook ads. Spend time honing in on the right audience, and what you’ll find is that the CPC can be significantly lower in driving traffic to a contest compared with other types of landing pages.
Use a Contest Rules Generator
Some general housekeeping, always remember to have contest rules prepared so as to avoid any problems as the contest progresses. It’s always better to have your bases covered before hand regarding who can enter and the exact criteria for how you will be awarding a prize.
Partner With Similar Businesses for Added Reach
Leverage the audiences of similar businesses by adding them as a contest sponsor in exchange for an email about your contest to their audience. Partnerships of this nature (big and small) can sometimes tip the scale between a successful contest and an unsuccessful contest.
Use a Facebook Custom Audience to Target Contest Leads
Like many things in life, follow-up is everything. Don’t let your new list of leads fall by the wayside by ignoring them after a contest ends.
One tip is to use a Facebook custom audience to begin targeting those users with relevant content and ads after they converted on one of your social contests. Used this way, you might be able to find that you’ll get a lower CPC and higher brand awareness for less.
Social Media Contest Ideas Throughout the Year
Here’s a helpful breakdown of some different social media contest ideas and types that you can hold throughout the year.
Summer Social Media Contest Ideas:
1. A Father’s day sweepstakes, where the prize is tickets to a sporting event
2. A photo contest, where the prize is a graduation-related giveaway (like prom night)
3. A sweepstakes targeting families, where the prize is a kayaking, ziplining, bungee jumping, canoeing or surfing trip for 4
4. A vote contest targeting moms, where the prize is a summer makeover (wax/laser, haircut)
5. A photo contest, where the prize is a camera with a tripod stand
6. A “be a tourist!” sweepstakes where the prize is a ferry/boat trip
Fall Social Media Contest Ideas:
7. A “Ready for back to school?” sweepstakes, where the prize is back-to-school gear
8. A “Send them off smelling sweet” photo contest, where the prize is a bathroom care package
9. A “Make sure they call!” referral contest, where the prize is a 6-month phone bill
10. A “Flu Season is Here. Get Prepared!” giveaway, where the prize is 50% off all cold/flu products
11. A photo contest for Halloween, where the prize is a Netflix subscription (with recommended scary movies)
13. A “Give Thanks” Thanksgiving sweepstakes, where the prize is a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings
Winter Social Media Contest Ideas:
14. A “What’s your Favorite Holiday Memory?” essay contest, where the prize is a shopping spree
15. A “Don’t burn the Ham” video contest, where the prize is a cooking class, cooking book, and shopping spree
16. A “It’s Better to Give than Receive” contest, where you enable people to donate money in return for a thank-you card from a food bank.
17. A “Keep your Family Safe” sweepstakes, where the prize is a winterized vehicle package
18. A “What’s your Favorite Holiday Memory?” essay contest, where the prize is a shopping spree
19. An Ugly Sweater photo contest, where the prize is a party package of food, decorations and games
Spring Social Media ContestIdeas:
20. A “St Patrick’s Day” sweepstakes contest, where the prize is a brewery tour or whiskey tasting
21. A “Do you Deserve a Break?” photo contest, where the prize is a table for two at a romantic restaurant
22. A “It’s time for a girl’s weekend!” sweepstakes contest, where the prize is a spa getaway with champagne lunch for 4
23. A “Be my Valentine” essay contest, where the prize is limo service and dinner for two
24. A “Hollywood Night” sweepstakes contest, where the prize is tickets to a movie premier
25. A “Spring Cleaning” sweepstakes contest, where the prize is a complete cleaning product package or maid service
Hopefully this article has given you a better idea of what a social media contest can be and how to run a successful one.
If you have any questions about any of the ideas in this article, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comment section below!
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