02:55 PM, 04 02, 2019

How to run a successful competition on social media

Do you want to increase your followers, promote a new product or get more customers to your site? Either way, a well-run social media competition is the answer. These online contests are simple, effective and not to mention cheap. But it’s not as straight forward as posting it out and waiting for it to take off by itself, it takes careful planning and thought. So where do you start? 


You might have an amazing prize, but if you haven’t thought out your strategy it could cause more harm to your brand than good. Before even starting your campaign, you need to make sure you’ve thought about what you want to achieve. Common goal examples are:

•    Gaining more followers.

•    Driving more people to your website.

•    Increase over sales. 

•    Improve brand awareness. 

•    Increased conversions. 

Once you have decided on your goal, make sure that it is fully set up e.g. if your aim is to drive people to your website, make sure that people must visit your landing page to enter. Make sure you also make the most of this opportunity and have simple and obvious call to actions. 

Choose the format

Now that you know what your goal is you can decide which form of contest is most likely to get you there.

•    Photo Contests.

•    Video Contests.

•    Caption Contests.

•    Comment to Win.

•    Like, Share and/or Reply.

•    Vote to Win.

•    Sweepstake.

You need to consider that more complex competitions, such as photo contest, will require guidelines and a way of choosing the winner. Whereas a simple like and share contest can be chosen at random. There are also helpful online tools that can help you keep track of everyone, check out Shortstack https://www.shortstack.com/, Wishpond https://www.wishpond.com/social-promotions/ and Rafflecopter https://www.rafflecopter.com/ for more information. 

Creating the look and feel

Finally, now you can get going on the fun stuff. This is what your audience will see, so you want it to be exciting and for it to stand out on the newsfeed. Imagine if you’re putting it on Twitter where a posts life is a matter of seconds; you only have one chance per post to catch their eye. 


It’s easiest to start at the end and work backwards. So, start from when you’re announcing the prize and then figure out when the competition closes, when which posts are going where and finally the go live date. The longer the contest lasts, the more difficult it can get to maintain engagement and create a sense of urgency. On the other hand, if your contest is too short, you risk not getting many participants, meaning fewer followers and/or leads. If you’re not sure how long it should run for, as a general rule, the bigger and better the prize the longer the competition should go on for. 

Check the social platform rules 

It would be easy to miss the step as not many people think about it, but it’s important to make sure you follow each site’s rules or you could have a nasty lawsuit on your hands, not exactly the great brand publicity you want. This is especially important if your target audience are children; “if you’re going to do anything related to kids, make sure you have something saying that the legal guardian is the one that’s entering, because there are some legalities around that” . 

Follow these links to understand the different sites policies: 

•    Facebook https://www.facebook.com/policies/pages_groups_events/ 

•    Twitter https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/twitter-contest-rules 

•    Instagram https://help.instagram.com/179379842258600 

•    Pinterest https://policy.pinterest.com/en/advertising-guidelines 

The prize 

The prize, or prizes, you decide to use completely depends on your target audience and what you think would attract them the most. If you’re stuck for ideas, see the list below:

•    Your own products or services.

•    Another product related to your brand.

•    A vacation or unique experience.

•    A Gift Card. https://joom.ag/Vh1Y 

It can be hard to choose a prize that will appeal to lots of people at once. Afterall, the more people that want the prize the more people you will get entering your competition. That’s why choosing a Gift Card as your prize is such a good idea, you only have to choose one prize, but the winner can still decide what they get. 


Don’t forget about the competition once you’ve announced the winner and presented them with their prize. Analyse how it went, did you achieve your goal and if not, what went wrong? Studying the success of your campaign is essential for improving on the next one. 

To find out more about which Gift Card would be perfect for your online competition talk to our dedicated team on 01709 303 102 or email hello@svmglobal.com.

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