All of the competition for attention on social media these days has made it difficult for companies to keeps fans and followers. Because of this companies must be engaging to stir up a little activity; and what better way to do it than a contest!

Here are some tips for creating a winning social media contest:

1. Make goals. What are you hoping to achieve through the contest? Maybe getting people to subscribe to your newsletter? More Facebook engagement? Brand recognition? Whatever it is, let this target be the basis of your planning process.

2. Choose what type of contest you want to have. There are a lot of different contests you can try. Sweepstakes is one of the simplest, however you could also go with photo or video contests with fan votes. Regardless, make it easy to understand (which we will cover more later).

doritos contest

Remember the Crash The Superbowl Contest last year by Doritos? Fans got to create their own Doritos commercial and entered to win and be featured! People got super excited, which created a lot of buzz for Doritos.

3. Give it a good name! Does this contest apply to a particular product? Is it seasonal? Whatever it is, make sure the name is clear, short, engaging and easy to remember.

4. Map it out. How long do you want the contest to run? The best way to plan this is to go backward from the date you announce the winner(s). Figure out when judging starts/ends, when promotion starts, etc. While it’s not necessary, an editorial calendar is helpful with social media posts and other aspects of the campaign!

5. Choose a platform. Do you want it on Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? Or all three? Just remember if you do multiple platforms, your responsibilities grow and tracking entries becomes more difficult.

6. Create a plan for graphic design/artwork. Pixel dimensions and images size vary across multiple platforms, so set aside time to work on your images. Also the graphic should be memorable and engaging!

employee recipe

This flyer promoting an employee recipe contest looks clean, it’s clear, and  provides all the info you need!

7. Make it engaging. Provide motivation/incentive. No one wants to share a boring contest! Even for those who don’t win, an engaging contest gets shared more.

8. Promote it! Consider using paid options on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Also, USE HASHTAGS! They are easy, fun and get people talking. They’re also the best way to keep track of entries and conversation happening around your contest. You can also use amplification networks like Outbrain or Taboola.

9. Capitalize on the attention w/ other content. If a contest is done well, you will hopefully gain some exposure to your brand as well. That being said, integrate your overall brand message into the contest! Consider throwing in product info or sporadic brand related posts.

10. Make the rules clear! This is super important. If the details of the contest are too complicated, people won’t participate.  On the other hand, some people will try and loophole; so be clear but also specific.

11. Moderate the submission entries. Don’t allow auto tweets, automatic submission posting, etc. You need to review every entry to protect against unsavory imagery, language, etc. Protect your brand!

A social media contest is fun, easy and effective if you plan correctly! For a little inspiration, check out this article from Adobe about 6 Stellar Social Media Contests.



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