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17 Social Media Contest Ideas & Examples to Grow Your Business

17 Social Media Contest Ideas & Examples for 2024

Written By: author image Stacey Corrin
author image Stacey Corrin
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the co-founder of RafflePress. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Are you looking for social media contest ideas to grow your business?

Running contests on social networks is ideal for raising brand awareness, attracting potential customers, and gathering qualified leads from a wider audience. Yet, with so many companies using this marketing strategy to boost their business growth, coming up with new ideas is challenging.

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!

How Do You Make a Good Social Media Contest?

The easiest way to run a successful social media contest is to use an online giveaway tool like RafflePress.

You can run a social media contest easily with RafflePress

RafflePress is the best WordPress giveaway plugin on the market. It makes it super easy to do a giveaway online right from your WordPress website. Plus, it gives you everything you need to accomplish your giveaway goals, whether to grow your email list, increase website traffic, or boost social media engagement.

You can learn how to create a social media contest with RafflePress here.

Expert Tip

Before you start, it’s essential to consider the goals you have for your social media contest. Tailor your contest to the demographics of your target audience. For instance, LinkedIn might be more suitable for professional-oriented contests.

Some common goals include increasing brand awareness, growing your follower count, boosting customer loyalty, generating leads, and collecting user-generated content.

Best Social Media Contest Ideas

1. Share a Photo Contest

Our first social media marketing giveaway idea is to run a social media photo contest.

Photo contests are an excellent way to collect user-generated content (UGC) for your brand. You can also partner with influencers to promote the contest. UGC can include photos, videos, reviews, and more. This type of content is valuable because it’s seen as more authentic and trustworthy than traditional digital marketing campaigns.

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 on their social media accounts 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 Social Media Contest

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

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

Did you know that running a video contest is one of the best ways to get more likes on YouTube?

3. Sweepstakes Social Media Giveaway Ideas

Sweepstakes are like raffles where users can enter their contact details to win prizes. They’re not only a great way to generate leads for your brand but can also help you grow your email list. Since it’s easy for people to participate, it’s a must-have for your list of social media marketing competition ideas.

Universal Studios offers an excellent example of how sweepstakes can be fun, vibrant, and easy to enter. To win a trip to Hollywood or Orlando, users simply need to enter their contact details on the giveaway landing page.

Universal parks and resorts trip sweepstakes

4. Refer a Friend to Win

Referral contests are a great way to increase your business’s reach. The entry requirement is to share the giveaway on a social network, which helps you reach new audiences. 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.

Check out more refer-a-friend promotion ideas here.

5. Write a Caption Contest

Caption contests let users create captions with images 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 many entries, as little effort is required to enter.

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

Instagram social media contest ideas

For example, Sebastian & Co asked users to follow them on Instagram and caption their photos for a chance to win. You can easily create a similar social media giveaway post.

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 many new leads for your brand and boost engagement.

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

The winner of a voting contest is the user with the most votes. This is another fun 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, host the contest on your website, and use a giveaway tool to track votes.

This type of contest is easy to pair with a submission-based campaign. For example, Drovers began their campaign as a photo contest. And in their social media giveaway post, they 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 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.

You can ask for submissions on any topic with essay contests, 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. When people participate, it creates a ripple effect: 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 ideas

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 Instagram profiles to get more followers.

10. Follow to Win Contest

Follow-to-win contests are the most straightforward solutions for broadening your audience and gaining new followers. They’re also usually paired with a request for a like and share to increase engagement. Users need to follow you to enter to win.

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, using our templates to streamline the process. 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 and brand loyalty.

Costello’s Bakery runs a weekly Instagram contest 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 contest ideas: giveaway contest challenge

Their food contest idea for social media receives tons of likes and engagement while helping to grow their followers. Why not run a similar

12. Follower Milestone Contests

Reaching follower milestones on social media is an excellent opportunity to thank and reward your audience. 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 Social Media Contest Giveaway

Another unique way to engage your audience and secure those crucial leads is to turn your contest into a game. For instance, you can ask users to play social media games or participate in quizzes to win prizes.

All they’d have to do is play the game and enter their details. Then, when the giveaway ends, you can notify them of the winner, helping you drive traffic to your website.

Expert Tip

Ensure the prize you offer is relevant to your business and will interest your target audience. Doing so helps attract the right people to your contest. For example, a software company might give away a subscription to their service, while an eCommerce retailer might offer a gift card or a popular new product.

Trident implemented some game ideas with the Chew Tunes contest to win a trip to the Grammys or a cash prize.

Play to win social media contest ideas

To enter, users had to play each record and vote for their favorite. Since users had to sign up with their email addresses, this allowed Trident to reach those people with marketing messages in the future.

Consider running a spin-to-win campaign if you don’t have the budget to create a game from scratch. Or you could create a fun game with a trivia question format.

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 simultaneously engage people’s curiosity and promote your brand.

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

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

Participants can leave their answers on your giveaway widget and join your newsletter to complete the entry requirements.

15. Hashtag Challenge Social Media 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. Social Media Contest Ideas: 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.

Many 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, making this a great ticket giveaway idea.

Social media filter social media giveaway ideas

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. This example is an excellent social media contest idea for events or trade show social media contests.

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.

You can run a Pinterest contest 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.

Bonus: Follow up After the Contest

Following up with participants after your social media contest ends is a crucial way to show appreciation and nurture potential leads. Here’s how you can do it effectively:

  • Thank Everyone: Send a thank you message to all participants, regardless of whether they won. This can be a quick social media post or a direct message expressing your gratitude for their participation.
  • Offer Consolation Prizes: Consider offering a discount, exclusive content, or a small prize to those who didn’t win. This helps maintain positive brand associations and encourages them to engage with your business in the future.
  • Ask for Feedback: Use your follow-up as an opportunity to gather feedback from participants about their contest experience. This can help you improve future contests or gather valuable insights into your audience’s preferences. You can include a link to a short survey or simply invite participants to reply with comments.

Here is an example email that you can use:

Dear [Participant's Name],

Thank you so much for participating in our recent [Contest Name] on [Social Media Platform]! While you weren't the winner this time, we appreciate your enthusiasm and support.

As a token of our appreciation, we'd like to offer you a 10% discount on your next purchase. Use code [Discount Code] at checkout.

We'd also love your feedback – what did you enjoy about the contest? Are there any ways we could improve?

Thanks again! [Your Company Name]

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there best practices for promoting contests without high ad spend?

Promotion best practices include leveraging partnerships, using targeted ads efficiently, and engaging with your community to amplify reach. Tailor strategies to your audience and goals for effective contest outcomes.

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.

Explore more ways to engage your audience with tailored marketing strategies. Check out our article on dental marketing ideas for creative approaches to growing your dental practice through effective social media contests

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.

author avatar
Stacey Corrin Writer
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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