How to Run a Social Media Contest?

How to Run a Social Media Contest?

Aleksandra Jasnos

In social media marketing, one of the most important aspects of businesses is users’ engagement. Publishing valuable content and targeting ad campaigns precisely is crucial for the company’s presence in social networks, but from time to time, it can be beneficial to run a social media contest and boost performance. Read on to find out how to plan and proceed with such a marketing activity! 

Choose the goal of a social media contest

First, you need to choose your business goal. Sometimes marketers can run contests only because other brands are doing so. The goal should always be clear, and it can help shape your own social media contest plan. 

What do you want to achieve by running a social media contest? Here you can find some examples:

  • grow engagement rate
  • increase brand awareness
  • build trust
  • drive traffic to your website 

Decide on your target group

Based on your goal, you can specify your target group. You can run a social media contest dedicated to your current customers, or to new ones. You can also specify your contest to target only one gender or people who live in a certain city – a great idea can be to run a few contests targeted to different groups. 

Then, you have to decide which social networks are the best to run your contest. You can either run a multichannel competition or use only one platform for that purpose. For example, some contests can be available only on Twitter, while others can also use Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger and lead to a landing page. Single-channel competition can be easier to handle in terms of messaging and keeping a focused audience, but multichannel contest can drive traffic to your website. Once again, it would be best if you defined your main business goal to decide on which platform you’ll conduct a competition. 

Choose a competition task and prize 

Feel free to research your competitors and find out if they conducted social media contests in the past. That way, you can get inspired, make sure you won’t copy their ideas, and learn what types of contests succeeded. Keeping your target groups in mind, create contest mechanism and requirements. Remember that the challenge that contestants will face can’t be too challenging. The effort, that social media users will make, has to be proportional to the prize they can win. That way, you’ll have more chances to succeed.

It’s better to provide a few prizes so that they can be more appealing to the contestants. For example, you can reward one person with the main prize and additionally offer two more gifts for other contestants. The prize should be somehow related to your brand, although it doesn’t have to be your product. The task and prize can also depend on the time of the year or upcoming Holidays. Many companies decide to run a social media contest just before Christmas to generate traffic to their websites and increase sales. 

Define the rules 

Once you figure out the mechanism of your competition, target groups, and the dates, you need to write down the rules. If you run a competition on Facebook, you need to highlight in such document, that it’s not connected with Facebook itself. 

Make sure your contest is compliant with the law of the country you want to lead the competition in. Moreover, you should inform users when are you going to announce the winners and how you will deliver the prizes. 

Social media contest types

Social media post

It’s probably the most popular way to organize a contest. You can simply post an image or video on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. Prepare an attractive visual material to get users’ attention while they’re scrolling the newsfeed. Publish all the essential information about the contest in the post, so that all the rules are clear. Link to the separate document with detailed terms and conditions. On Facebook, usually, brands ask for creative pictures or text submissions in the comments. When your competition is finished, you can announce the winners in the comment as well, so that everyone who commented on the post will get a notification.

Instagram or Facebook Story

This format is great for a quick contest, as stories disappear after 24 hours. The competition task should be easy and doesn’t require a lot of effort, and the prize should be valuable to motivate contestants to take part. You can ask your followers a question and wait for a response in direct messages

Messenger chatbot

A contest in Messenger supported by a bot can be very beneficial. It’s more engaging, as it’s in the form of conversation. Additionally, you don’t have to moderate it manually, because a bot responds automatically. Users can be more willing to share their pictures and answers via Messenger than publicly as the comments. Even though implementing a bot seems like a challenge, you can take advantage of chatbot platforms and avoid coding. 

Landing Page

You can also create a dedicated landing page with all the details of the contest and an option to submit the competition task. It’s reasonable to use such a landing page when the mechanism of the contest is more complicated and requires more than one action or has few rounds. Share a link to your contest landing page in all your social media to create a buzz and attract potential contestants. 

To make the most of your social media contest when you use a dedicated landing page, you should shorten a URL and add retargeting pixels. This simple action will enable you to retarget your future campaigns to users who clicked your links. By creating a custom audience, you can reach your precise target group, who is interested in your brand and run more effective campaigns. Moreover, in RocketLink you can add CTAs or pop-ups to your links so that you can drive traffic from your contest landing page to your home page, or a specific blog post, product page, etc. 

Influencer marketing

How about collaboration with an influencer? That way, you can reach followers of a given person and promote your brand. You can either ask influencers to share your posts on their social media accounts or run a contest entirely on their profiles. Make sure they’re tagging your brand. Check out how to choose the right influencer


Social media contest can help your brand to increase its awareness, as well as gain followers and hopefully at the end, new customers. But the additional benefit is that you can learn more about your target group and get user-generated content that you can use in your future content creation. For example, by showing how customers are using your products, you give social proof of your brand and build trust. Keep in mind your business goal while thinking about the competition task and the whole content strategy.

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