How To Run Successful Social Media Contests (Part 1)


Social media contests are a great marketing tool, no doubt about that. They can be used to grow your followers, build your brand image, reinforce your brand USPs and engage with your community. But as with many other aspects of marketing, lots of companies jump into social media contests without really knowing how to execute them properly. Fear not, you can learn to be a marketing guru with our tips on how to run a successful social media contest!



When you think about your contest audience, focus on your prospective customer, the one that WILL end up buying your goods or services. Don’t try to communicate to EVERYONE. Not everyone will be your prospective customer. By focusing on the right demographics, you’ll make your contest much more effective and improve your success rate.

And definitely, don’t aim to get more entrants for your contest just for the sake of increasing the participation numbers. There’s no point having lots of entrants if they are not going to be your future customers.



Ok, now that you know who you are talking to, make sure your contest copy really connects with your prospects. If your prospect is a female millennial working in the CBD, then your copy should sound more like a trendy girlfriend who’s sharing tips with another girlfriend. Don’t write flat, generic copy that does not resonate with your target audience.



Always ask yourself this, does your social media contest fit your brand? Does the prize fit the brand? Does the copy fit the brand? Does the photo and the photo treatment fit your brand? What about the contest mechanics?

Don’t just think of your contest in isolation. The contest you are running is part of a overall marketing strategy and it must add value to your marketing objectives.

Can you imagine if Red Bull ran a contest that asked their followers to submit photos of cute babies?



Contests cost money and so cross-marketing is a great win-win solution to share costs and help you stretch your marketing budget. More importantly, you get immediate access to the other company’s audience. This is a great way to turbocharge your marketing campaign!

Look at your ideal prospect, chances are there’ll be another business that has a similar audience AND doesn’t compete against you. That’s the kind of company that you want to cross-market with!

Another benefit of cross-marketing is that it keeps your marketing fresh and interesting for your existing followers and customers. They will very quickly get bored and fatigued if they always see the same old marketing approaches.



Events can be very useful for your social media contests if they have audiences that are similar or if they resonate with your audience. Obvious examples would of course be events like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc.

But you can go beyond such obvious events. You can also look at upcoming movies that would appeal to your target audience and tie up with movie distributors for your social media contest.

You can also look at festivals, concerts, plays, musicals, talks and sporting events etc. Malls also have a calendar of events that are specific to a demographic. They may have a baby fair, travel fair or electronic fair in their mall atrium. These are all good platforms to base your contest on if the demographic matches yours.



Omigoodness, how many times have you seen a contest with a dumb prize that nobody would want? Yup, plenty of times!

If you are going to take the time and trouble to run a contest, please make sure the prize is attractive enough. Don’t try to scrimp and save and let a poor prize trip up your contest.

Beyond having an attractive prize, please make sure that you make the prize obvious to all. State the prize clearly so there’s no confusion about what entrants stand to win. Tell the contestants the value of the prize.  Because what’s worse than having a poor prize is having a good prize that people don’t know anything about.



Spell out EXACTLY what they need to do to be eligible for the contest. At the same time, spell out any rules that would make them ineligible for the contest.

Whatever your contest mechanics, make sure it is clear and easy to understand. If people don’t understand what the mechanics are, they won’t take part in your contest.


Need help to double your sales? Contact us and we will show you how we can help you to effectively use social media to increase sales!