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17 Social Media Contest Ideas & Examples to Grow Your Business

Last Updated on July 9, 2020 by Stacey Corrin

Are you looking for easy ways to grow your business? Running a social media contest is an ideal way to raise brand awareness, attract potential customers, and gather qualified leads. Yet with so many companies using this tactic to boost their business growth, coming up with new ideas is a challenge.

To help you get started quickly, we’ve created a list of social media contest ideas and examples to grow your business faster than ever!

Let’s dive in!

1. Share a Photo Contest

Our first social media contest idea is to run a social media photo contest. It’s a great way to gather user-generated content from your audience and you can use it to showcase features of your products or services. Simply ask users to snap photos of how they use your products in return for entries.

Choosing a winner can be as simple as asking people to vote for the best photo or even via a panel of judges.

Gansetts beer ran a photo contest in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. To enter, fans had to share a photo of what Valentine’s meant to them and tag it with the brand’s hashtag. The winner received a dozen roses to give to a loved one.

Valentines social media photo contest

2. Submit a Video Contest

Similar to a photo contest, video contests require users to submit a video in return for entries. You can use a video contest to increase subscribers on your YouTube channel by creating videos announcing and promoting the giveaway.

For bonus entries, you can ask users to share the contest with a friend, watch a specific video, and more. This will help you expand your reach and attract more participants.

3. Sweepstakes Social Media Contest

Sweepstakes are a bit like raffles where users can enter their contact details to win a prize. The winner is usually drawn at random to keep things fair.

This is a great way to generate leads for your brand and since it’s easy for people to participate, it’s a must-have for your list of social media contest ideas. Usually, users have to sign up with their email address to enter, making it the perfect tactic for growing your email list.

Universal Studios have an excellent example of how sweepstakes can be fun, vibrant, yet easy to enter. For this opportunity to win a trip to Hollywood or Orlando, all users have to do is enter their contact details.

Universal parks and resorts trip sweepstakes

4. Refer a Friend to Win

Running a referral contest is the perfect way to increase your business reach. The entry requirement for this type of contest is to share the giveaway on social media. Then, as more people share your giveaway, more people will see it, and so on.

You can also include bonus entries to follow your social media channels to help grow your followers.

5. Write a Caption Contest

Caption contests let users create a caption to go with an image in return for entries. You can either pick the best caption as the winner or draw a winner randomly. This is another easy way to attract lots of entries as little effort is required to enter.

With this type of contest, it’s a good idea to include additional ways to enter and share the contest.

Instagram social media caption contest

For example, Sebastian & Co asked users to follow them on Instagram and caption their photo for a chance to win.

6. Comment to Win Contest

Commenting contests require users to leave a comment on your social media post for a chance to win. Since it’s easy for people to enter, it can generate tons of new leads for your brand.

The great thing about this type of contest is you can run it for any social media channel. All you have to do is create your post with a caption explaining the entry rules and details.

Alternatively, you can host the contest directly on your website using a giveaway tool like RafflePress. Then you can promote your contest on all your social media channels for maximum reach.

7. Vote to Win Contests

The winner of a voting contest is the user with the most votes. This is another way to spread the word about your giveaway as participants will share the contest with friends and family to secure more votes.

You can ask users to vote for a winner in the comments section of your post, or host the contest on your website and use a giveaway tool to keep track of votes.

This type of contest is easy to pair with a submission-based campaign. For example, Drovers began their campaign as a photo contest, then asked users to vote for the winner on their Facebook page. 

Drovers social media photo contest

If you’d like to keep track of votes, use the Surveys and Polls entry action included in the RafflePress builder. Then you can quickly see who has the most votes at a glance and pick a winner.

polls and surveys giveaway

8. Submit an Essay Contest

Essay contests are ideal for collecting user-generated content around your customers’ experiences. You can then allow users to vote for the best entry and share the contest on social media to maximize your reach.

With essay contests, you can ask for submissions on any topic, but it’s best to keep things relevant to your brand. 

For instance, you could ask for essays on:

  • Why users are passionate about your products
  • Stories about your industry people want to share
  • People’s experiences using your products

You can combine this with a voting contest to motivate users to share the giveaway on their social channels.

9. Tag a Friend to Enter

Tag a friend contests are technically a comment and share wrapped in one. And when people participate, it creates a ripple effect where one friend tags a friend, who then tags a friend, and so on.

A great example of this in action is this giveaway from Broke Green Mums.

tag a friend to enter social media contest

They teamed up with a complimentary brand for their contest and asked participants to tag 2 friends in the comments. They then bolstered this with optional entries to follow both profiles on Instagram to get more Instagram followers.

10. Follow to Win Contest

Follow to win contests are the most straightforward solutions for broadening your audience. They’re also usually paired with a request for a like and share to maximize engagement.

But you don’t have to stick to the standard format. Instead, you can run a follow to win contest to reach a specific follower goal. Then when you reach the goal, you can randomly draw a winner.

11. Regular Social Media Contests

You may already know that it’s easy to lose followers quickly on social media. Yet if you run regular contests on your social channels, you can attract loyal followers who’ll stick around longer, rewarding you with a steadily growing follower count.

Costello’s Bakery runs a weekly giveaway on Instagram with significant effect.

Every Wednesday, they give away one of their cupcake boxes to one lucky random winner. All people need to participate is to leave a comment and follow their profile.

Weekly social media giveaway contest

Their giveaway posts receive tons of likes and engagement while helping to grow their followers.

12. Follower Milestone Contests

Reaching follower milestones on social media is an excellent opportunity to thank your audience and reward them. So why not run a giveaway celebrating your milestone?

Create a post thanking everyone who’s followed you in the past. Then highlight that you’re running a giveaway to celebrate. To help spread the word, ask users to follow, like, or comment for a chance to win. 

Alternatively, you can use a giveaway app to get people to follow you on other social platforms. Then you can grow your audience there too.

13. Play to Win

Another unique way to engage your audience and secure those crucial leads is to turn your contest into a game. For a chance to win, ask users to play the game and enter their details to notify them of the winner.

This is what Trident did with the Chew Tunes contest to win a trip to the Grammys or a cash prize.

Play to win social media contest ideas

Users had to play each record and vote for the favorite to enter. Since users had to sign up with their email address, it gave Trident the ability to reach those people with marketing messages in the future.

If you don’t have the budget to create a game from scratch, consider running a spin-to-win campaign.

14. Social Scavenger Hunt Contest

Scavenger hunts don’t automatically spring to mind when running a social media contest. Yet they’re a great way to engage people’s curiosity and promote your brand simultaneously. 

One way to run a social media scavenger hunt is to hide clues across all your different platforms as photos, videos, and more.

Alternatively, you can ask a series of questions, and ask users to find the answers in posts scattered through your channel.

To complete the entry requirements, participants can leave their answers on your giveaway widget and join your newsletter.

15. Hashtag Challenge Contest

Hashtag challenges have been around for some time. Yet with the growth of sites like TikTok, they’ve seen a surge in popularity. Because of that, it’s now easier than ever for brands to create a branded hashtag that prompts users to get involved and become brand ambassadors.

Chipotle is an excellent example of this in action. To celebrate Cinco de Mayo and drive usage of their app for orders, Chipotle created the lid flip challenge.

Chipotle tiktok social media lid flip challenge

After just 6 days of the challenge going live, 110,000 videos were submitted to the challenge, resulting in 104 million video views. More importantly, it created record-breaking digital sales, driving app downloads, and delivery among Chipotle’s target audience.

16. Use a Filter to Win

Another creative way to promote your brand and engage your audience is to create a filter challenge to win a prize. 

Lots of companies have created branded filters to promote their products and raise brand awareness.

For example, the Kiss The Brides bridal show ran a filter contest to win tickets to their next show.

Social media filter contest

To enter, participants had to follow the show on Snapchat, visit a participating location, take a selfie using their branded filter, and send it to them in a story.

17. Pin it to Win it

It’s easy to forget the power of Pinterest to drive followers and leads to your business. As one of the largest platforms for visual content, it’s the perfect place to get your audience engaged with your products.

One way you can run a Pinterest contest is to ask users to create a Pinterest board of their dream home using your products. Alternatively, travel companies can get users to pin their dream vacation.

You can then reward the winner with free products or a prize bundle of relevant goods.

That’s it!

We hope this article helped you find some great social media contest ideas and examples you can use for your own campaigns.

And if you’re ready to start creating your own social media contest, check out this step-by-step guide.

Don’t forget to follow us on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for more great tips to grow your business.

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