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The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Contest Ideas

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Posted June 7th, 2019 by Jenn in #social media management tips (88)

Social media contests are more common now than ever and we see them everywhere. But sometimes it’s hard to know which kind of social media contest is best for your brand or your current social media marketing strategy. Not all contests work on all social media platforms and each type of social media contest has different end results in mind, such as engagement, exposure or conversions.

social media contests

In this Ultimate Guide to Social Media Contests, we are going to break down the different types of social media contests and show you how they work, what social media platforms they work well on, different creative ways you can use them, what kind of results they achieve and roughly how long they usually take to run. So let’s break down each type of social media contest:

Surveys

About this type of contest:
This type of social media contest is an old but great one. Either using a form on your website, a social media survey platform or a third party server platform, draft up a survey and encourage your followers to fill it out to win a prize.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube

Estimated time frame:
From 1 week to 1 month

Type of results:
Brand feedback, website traffic (if the survey is on your website), target audience research, lead generation

Creative ways to use this contest:
* You could use surveys to get feedback on a product you’re developing to see how your customers might change it or how they would respond to the new product.
* Surveys can be used to get feedback on a change you’ve made or are planning on making to your website or brand’s logo.
* Surveys can be used to get a sense of where your target audience spends most of their time online and what their interests are.
* You can use surveys to see if your target audience has noticed a new online ad campaign you’ve been running.
* Surveys can also be used to gauge how your customers prefer to be engaged with (whether that’s social, email, etc.)

Location Check-In Contests

About this type of contest:
These social media contests are easy, simply ask your followers to check-in at a certain location (such as your store or possibly an event you’re attending) and then they get entered into the contest to win a prize.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare

Estimated time frame:
Within a day or over a weekend/week

Type of results: Engagement, exposure

Creative ways to use this contest:
* This contest is a great way to kick off a new store or location opening.
* These are good contests to use at conferences and conventions.
* These contests would be a good way to increase store attending during a new promotion or product launch.

Caption Contests

About this type of contest:
This social media contest is held by using a picture or GIF and asking your followers to caption the picture. The winner could be chosen by either by having your followers vote, choosing the post that was shared the most or having a person/team select the winner.

Best social media channels:
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit

Estimated time frame:
From 1 day to 1 week

Type of results:
Engagement, brand feedback

Creative ways to use this contest:
* Caption contests can be used to get feedback on new logo designs, product designs or website designs.

Fill-In-The-Blank Contests

About this type of contest:
With this social media contest, all you need to provide is a sentence or two with blanks in specific spots and ask your followers to fill in the blanks. For example: When I go into a store, the first thing I notice is ____ and _____.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Twitter, Reddit

Estimated time frame:
From 1 day to 1 week

Type of results:
Brand feedback, engagement, target audience research

Creative ways to use this contest:
* These contests can be used to help better understand your target audience.
* This type of contest is a good way to get feedback about how your customers view your brand, store, products or website.

Essay Contests

About this type of contest:
Essay social media contests are done by giving your followers a topic and asking them to write a short essay about it. That could be about their favorite way to go on vacation, the best experience they’ve had at a restaurant or the worst and why, or their version of a perfect day. Then you can choose a winner either by having your followers vote, going by the most number of shares or having a person/panel of judges choose the winner.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Reddit

Estimated time frame:
From 1 week to 1 month

Type of results:
Brand feedback, target audience research

Creative ways to use this contest:
* If you pick a topic that is similar to what your business is interested in without coming out and asking them what they think of your business, you might be surprised at how insightful the submissions are (for example ask them to write about what their pet means to them, not what your pet store means to them).

Voting Contests

About this type of contest:
This social media contest is done by offering a series of options and having your followers vote on one of the choices. These contests usually end up getting shared often if the participants are particularly invested in one of the choices being the most voted. Then the winner can be randomly selected from all the people that voted.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube

Estimated time frame:
From 1 day to 1 month

Type of results:
Engagement, target audience research, brand feedback, brand exposure

Creative ways to use this contest:
* This contest could be used to allow your customers to choose certain things like new product features/designs, customer perks, brand design changes and more.

Like-To-Win and Comment-To-Win Contests

About this type of contest:
Like-to-win and comment-to-win social media contests are similar. You judge the contest by entering every person who A) liked/followed your social page, B) liked your social post or C) commented on your social page/post into a raffle and choose a winner randomly.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Estimated time frame:
1 week to 1 month

Type of results:
Engagement, brand exposure

Creative ways to use this contest:
* For new social media profiles, this contest can be particularly effective in growing the channel quickly, especially if you partner with existing well-established social accounts and have them spread the word to their followers about your contest.

Photo and Video Contests

About this type of contest:
Using a photo or video social media contest is simple. Ask your followers to submit a photo, GIF or video. Then choose a winner by either asking your followers to vote on their favorite, picking the most shared entry or choosing an entry based on specific criteria.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Estimated time frame:
1 week to 1 month

Type of results:
Engagement, brand exposure, brand feedback, target audience research

Creative ways to use this contest:
* This contest could be used to encourage your followers to take a photo or video of their experience in your store.
* You could use this type of contest to get feedback on how your product is being displayed in other stores.
* These types of contests could be used to get feedback on your customer’s impression of your brand, your brand’s industry, your product or their interests.
* Using this social media contest, you could get an idea of how your customers use your product/service.

Sweepstakes

About this type of contest:
These social media contests are mainly used as a lead generation tool. You create a portal of some kind and to enter, your social media followers just need to enter their information and the winner is selected at random.

Best social media channels:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube

Estimated time frame:
1 week to 1 month

Type of results:
Lead generation, brand exposure, website traffic (if the survey is on your website)

Creative ways to use this contest:
* If you want to increase the number of submissions in your sweepstakes contest, try incentivizing the participants that have already entered by giving them additional entries for each person they encourage to enter or for each place they share the contest.
* These contests could be combined with surveys to get the feedback and lead generation aspects of a contest.

Each of these social media contests has a different goal in mind but all of them could be incredibly useful for your brand’s social media marketing strategy. We hope that you’ll be able to use one or many of these contests to increase engagement, conversions, exposure and more for your brand’s social media channels.