Hosting a social media contest is relatively easy and it takes little time to have a huge impact on the growth of your business. With organic reach on a slow decline, a simple giveaway can create a large media buzz and boost online, but it’s important to follow some steps. Let’s take a look at these from start to finish.

Set Your Goal

What are the goals or KPI’s you want to hit? Start by prioritizing the things that are most important for your business. These goals should be measurable, attainable, and specific to growing your brand. Some examples to choose from are:

  • Growing your email list
  • Increase your following
  • Promoting a new product or brand
  • Create user-generated content
  • Get to know your audience through surveys or voting
  • Increase community engagement

Choose Your Prize

Your prize should be exciting in order to create a buzz. Some ideas to start might include a gift card, your product, a product related to your brand, a service you offer, tickets, or a vacation. Think about your budget, your audience, and choose wisely.

Choose Your Platform

There are plenty of platforms to use when running a social media contest. You don’t have to stick to one. Evaluate what results you are looking for to help determine what platforms you should use for a successful contest. Is your main goal to build brand awareness, increase followers, or to rapidly grow your email list? Whether it’s an Instagram photo contest, a downloadable coupon in an email, or a simple Facebook giveaway, we recommend promoting the contest where your audience is most likely to engage.

Choose Your Entry Requirements

The type of entry you choose should be determined by the goals you are looking for. Your entries can be as simple as following certain accounts, using a hashtag to track entries, retweeting a post, vote to win, or a caption contest.

Determine the Time to Enter

The time your followers have to enter should be determined by the size and value of your prize. If you are giving away a small prize, you may choose to run short and more regular contests. If you choose a more high demand and exciting prize, may only want to run a promotion one or two times a year for a longer amount of time. A larger prize will remain on people’s minds and you can keep the excitement running for a longer period of time for entries.

What Your Promotions Must Include

When creating a social contest, be sure you are following the legal requirements for each individual platform. Your promotion must include the following:

  • When running a contest you must include your promotion’s official rules.
  • A notification that the platform is not liable or relatable to your contest.
  • Terms for your contest.
  • Make sure your contest complies with laws in your region.


Once you’ve followed the steps above it’s time to start spreading the word! Make it easy for your followers to understand how to enter, what the prize is, and the terms and conditions. It’s important to get your audience excited about the prize for an increase in entries. Be sure to keep the copy short and full of energy!


As people engage and enter your contest, be sure to comment and thank everyone for entering. It’s important to build that trust, communication, and relationship for a possible purchase down the road. To keep followers around, you may want to entice them with a potential for more giveaways.

Choosing/Announcing Your Winner

To choose a winner, use a comment/like importer tool with this random entry selector guide from

Ways to Contact Your Winners:

  • Make a comment in the comment stream of your post.
  • Contact the winner by sending an email provided upon your contest entry, if applicable.
  • Send a Tweet.
  • Make an announcement on your website or blog.
  • Post a status update.

Time to put these contests to work! If you want to steer clear of any trouble when running a social media contest, contact us at TargetMarket today. We have the experience to help your business grow through your online presence, including the knowledge of what’s legal and what’s illegal on your social media platforms.

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