Recipe for the best social media contest

With the rise of social media, means the increase in social media contests too. To a consumer, social media contests are an incentive, a chance to win something from a brand that they like or are loyal to. For a brand, it means meticulously planning and creating a successful social media contest. In many cases, these contests have great potential of attracting a high reach and frequency of consumers. If it does, it only means so much more benefits for the brand than what there is for the consumer. It is important to incorporate all essential elements to successfully design a social media contest. With that, these are some of the ingredients I think are crucial for marketers to bear in mind.

Social media platform

Before planning anything else, marketers must first decide what media platform they want to use. There are endless options… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. It is important to consider who the target audience is, what social media platform that group tends to use the most and other factors that might affect the extent to which the contest actually meets the intended audience.

Name of contest

When deciding the name of the contest, you definitely want to be creative, but at the same time be clear on what is the purpose of the contest. As a marketer, it is important to make sure that the name isn’t too long but is instead short and sweet. A name that is humorous will definitely be a bonus in catching the attention of consumers, and maybe even non-consumers. At the same time, even having a contest name incorporating a hashtag is definitely valuable.

Entry/ participation of consumers

After deciding the platform and the name, the next logical step is to figure out how the audience is actually going to participate in this contest. There are many ways in which they can enter the contest. Some of which are commenting on the posts, sharing and liking the content, following a certain social media account and even having them to create original content and having them to upload it on the site. At the same time, it is crucial to bear in mind that by having consumers to do a lot will prevent them to participate. This is because if it involves too much of an effort, that is greater than the benefit, it is considered a turn-off.

Duration of the contest

As for the duration of the contest, it is best not to have the contest run for too long. This is because after a while, the excitement of a contest just dies down. On the other hand, if it’s too short, there is the chance of the audience not being aware of the contest actually existing, or even enough time for them to enter the contest.

Design/ Graphics

Along with the other elements, the design and graphics involved in the contest is equally as important. If the page looks dull and boring, it would not be appealing to the audience and wouldn’t encourage them to participate. However, if it was very visually appealing, consumers can be easily lured into joining the contest.


It wouldn’t be a contest if there wasn’t a prize. Or at least a prize that is worth winning. Because it is a contest, it is crucial to offer a prize that is appealing and valuable to the audience. The brand could be offering something that is limited edition and isn’t always readily available to consumers. Perhaps something that isn’t directly related to the brand itself, such as the chance to win an Ipad or Iphone. Or even offer a prize that is intangible like meeting the celebrity that represents the brand. Overall, the prize is essentially what draws the audience into entering the contest.

Rules to follow

In order to ensure that the contest goes smoothly, it is important to establish some ground rules. This is just to avoid anyone from cheating. For example, if the contest revolves around racking up the most Facebook likes. A possible rule could be that it is not allowed for the same IP address to like it multiple times.

Promotion of the contest

This promotion of the contest is a crucial step in creating a social media contest. If people don’t know about the contest, no one is going to participate in it. With that, marketers need to promote about the existence of the contest prior to it actually starting. Not only that, on-going promotion of the contest is necessary. Awareness of the contest could be further promoted on the brand’s other social media platforms.

So as you can tell, social media contests involve a lot of different elements and factors. However, through thorough planning of a social media contest, it can bring about great benefits to the brand. It can generate brand awareness, increase sales, increase customer loyalty, increase engagement with the brand and create a positive perception of the brand. The benefits are endless. However, it is also important to recognise it’s downsides. There is the chance of cheating and if the measurement of how the winner is not clear, there could be problems of deciphering a winner. Overall, social media contests have been utilised by many brands. Some of which are Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, RedBull and Sephora.

With that, social media contests are definitely becoming more popular among brands but is still yet something that all brands are to use in their marketing strategy.


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