Definition of Social Media Contests

A social media contest is a promotional event organized by brands or businesses on social media platforms, where participants can win prizes by completing certain tasks or meeting specific criteria. These contests typically aim to increase customer engagement, boost brand visibility, and generate leads. Common types of social media contests include sweepstakes, photo or video submissions, hashtag campaigns, quizzes, and voting competitions.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Social media contests can increase brand visibility, engagement, and attract potential new followers and customers.
  2. Well-thought-out contest rules, adherence to platform guidelines, and clear communication with participants are essential for a successful contest.
  3. Tracking and analyzing contest outcomes can provide valuable insights for future social media marketing efforts and help refine your strategy.

Importance of Social Media Contests

Social Media Contests are important in digital marketing because they provide an engaging and interactive approach to building brand awareness, increasing audience reach, and boosting customer loyalty.

By offering incentives such as prizes and rewards, businesses can encourage users to participate in contests, driving social media interactions like shares, likes, and comments.

This generates a snowball effect, exposing the brand and its products or services to new potential customers.

Furthermore, Social Media Contests can provide valuable user-generated content and insights, which can help businesses understand their audience better and produce more targeted marketing strategies.

Overall, these contests play a crucial role in fostering long-term relationships and enhancing the overall brand experience.


Social media contests serve as an engaging and interactive strategy within the realm of digital marketing, fulfilling the dual purpose of promoting brand awareness and fostering a sense of community among consumers. By hosting competitions or challenges on popular social media platforms, businesses can tap into the innate human desire for recognition and rewards, attracting new followers and fostering potential long-term connections with their target audience.

Moreover, these contests provide an excellent opportunity for user-generated content, which not only alleviates the burden of the creative process on the company, but also gives consumers a sense of involvement and investment in the brand. The effectiveness of social media contests lies in their capacity to create a buzz around the brand and spread it across multiple platforms through participants sharing and connecting with friends, families, and acquaintances.

By offering a reward or a chance to win a prize, companies motivate the audience to actively participate and share their contest-related posts or stories, thereby amplifying the brand’s exposure and organic reach. Beyond building brand awareness, this marketing tool also helps in understanding the audience’s preferences, as contests can reveal valuable insights about consumer behavior.

These valuable insights can then be used to craft more tailored marketing campaigns in the future, resulting in an optimized, more effective marketing strategy.

Examples of Social Media Contests

Starbucks’ White Cup Contest: In 2014, Starbucks launched the White Cup Contest, inviting their customers to doodle on their iconic white cups and submit pictures of their artwork on social media platforms using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The winning design was featured on a limited edition reusable cup sold in Starbucks stores, resulting in increased customer engagement, brand exposure, and user-generated content for the company.

Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” Contest: Lay’s has run multiple “Do Us a Flavor” contests where consumers are encouraged to submit their unique ideas for a new chip flavor through their social media channels. Participants have the chance to win a significant cash prize, and the winning flavor is produced and sold in stores for a limited time. This contest not only generates buzz and engagement on social media but also allows the brand to gain valuable insights about consumers’ preferences.

GoPro’s “Million Dollar Challenge”: GoPro, the popular action camera company, has run the “GoPro Million Dollar Challenge” several times, inviting users to create and submit videos captured using their GoPro cameras. Participants were required to share their videos on social media platforms using specific hashtags, with the chance to win a share of a million-dollar prize for the selected contestants. This contest boosted user-generated content, showcased the capabilities of GoPro cameras, and increased the brand’s social media engagement.

Social Media Contests FAQ

What are social media contests?

Social media contests are online competitions or promotional events hosted on social media platforms, usually encouraging user participation by offering prizes or other incentives. These events can involve various post formats such as images, videos, or hashtags and can be run on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

Why should businesses run social media contests?

Businesses should run social media contests because they are an effective way to boost user engagement, increase brand visibility, and potentially attract new followers or customers. Contests can create buzz around a brand or product, drive traffic to the website, and help businesses gather useful user-generated content and data.

What are some popular types of social media contests?

Some popular types of social media contests include photo contests, video contests, caption challenges, sweepstakes, polls, and hashtag campaigns. The choice of the contest type mainly depends on the goals of the campaign and the desired level of user interaction.

How do I select a winner for my social media contest?

You can select a winner for your social media contest by having a clear set of rules and criteria such as originality, creativity, or compliance with the contest guidelines. There are also several tools and apps available to help randomly pick winners from eligible participants, ensuring fairness and transparency.

What are some best practices for running a social media contest?

Some best practices for running a social media contest include setting clear and measurable goals, choosing the right platform, offering valuable and relevant prizes, creating simple and easy-to-follow rules, and promoting the contest across various channels to maximize reach and participation.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Engagement metrics
  • Giveaways
  • Photo and video contests
  • Hashtag campaigns
  • Viral content

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