Everybody loves to win prizes—especially from their favorite brands. Create a social media giveaway or contest to feed this desire while improving your engagement and supercharging the buzz around your brand.
Giveaways and contests boost your follower count, convert leads, amplify brand awareness and increase loyalty.
✨FIVE DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS✨ One lucky winner will receive a gift card for @Airbnb for $1,000 and a flight credit for up to $1,000! Now that is something to smile about.
Rules to enter below! pic.twitter.com/w9LR83BC3d
— Sparkling Ice® (@SparklingIce) December 8, 2021
In this article, we take you through how to launch a social media giveaway or contest and share 12 ideas that will help you connect with your audience and convert customers.
What are social media giveaways and contests?
Before we jump into examples, let’s review what social media giveaways and contests are and why your brand should create one.
What is a social media giveaway?
During social media giveaways, brands, influencers and creators ask people to complete a task (such as tagging their friends, following accounts and liking or sharing posts) for a chance to win a prize.
Giveaway winners are selected at random, which means it’s fair game for all entrants. Giveaways help you reach a wider audience, so they’re a strong platform for promoting new product launches and brand partnerships.
What is a social media contest?
During social media contests, people are challenged to submit their best versions of an assigned task, like their best photo, caption or answer.
The winner(s) of the contest receive a prize based on their performance, which means your most creative or talented followers have an advantage. Challenging your followers to be creative sets the scene for you to foster relationships, build a niche community and source user-generated content.
CONGRATULATIONS 🎉 @rxr_realty on opening your NEW state-of-the-art One Clinton Park complex in the heart of downtown New Rochelle. Today kicks off our #NewRoConnects apartment giveaway hashtag contest. Find out how to win a 12-month rent-free studio apt: https://t.co/kVP2Iw1Iqv pic.twitter.com/4EZdvOfdNn
— New Rochelle – Ideally Yours (@IdeallyNRNY) July 18, 2022
Why your brand should create a giveaway or contest
At a time when short-form video is dominating social feeds, it can be a challenge to create marketing campaigns consumers will actually engage with. Views are great. But engagements are a sign you’re creating enduring customer relationships.
That’s where social giveaways and contests come in. They have the power to:
- Increase your follower account: You can ask someone to like or follow you as a way of participating.
- Convert leads: Request people sign up or submit their entry by completing a form on your website. Ask for their name, email address and other relevant information.
- Amplify brand awareness: By partnering with different brands or influencers, you tap into a new audience and increase your reach.
- Increase loyalty: If you offer exciting prizes and opportunities, your followers will stay tuned for more in the future—especially if you continue to reward your superfans.
How to run a social media giveaway or contest
Now you know the benefits of running a social media giveaway or contest, so let’s go through the steps to launch one.
1. Set your goals and decide your giveaway or contest type
Determine whether you’re trying to increase social media followers, generate more leads, retain customers or bolster brand awareness. Use your goal type to shape your giveaway or contest.
2. Pinpoint your budget and prizes
What is your marketing department willing to spend on the contest or giveaway? If you plan on doing these regularly—to keep your followers excited and engaged—ensure you include them in your annual budget.
Once you know the budget, you can distribute it between ads and prize costs. Decide if you’ll give away a product, cash prize or something else altogether. Choose a prize that’s relevant to your target audience so you’re attracting entrants that are most likely to convert.
3. Know your audience and choose the right platform
You need to know your audience demographics to determine which platform(s) to host your giveaway or contest.
Make sure to read and follow your chosen platform’s giveaway and contest guidelines, so your campaign is compliant.
4. Plan and run your giveaway or contest
Create a project plan that includes the following steps::
- Chart your timeline, determine deliverables and set your rules.
- Build your content and communication calendar.
- Kick-off the giveaway or contest by alerting your audience and announcing your prize. Use a tagging tool like Sprout Social to track all outgoing content.
- Run ads and cross-promote (e.g., on other social platforms, in your email newsletter and on your website) to increase your reach.
- Watch the entries pour in.
Once your plan is approved, you’re ready to move forward and run your giveaway or contest.
5. Measure your results
The contest has ended, you’ve announced the winner and sent off their prize. It’s time to measure its performance based on the objectives you set earlier. How well did your social media contest or giveaway perform? Did you achieve your goal?
Use tools like Sprout Social’s platform-specific reports to collect all the data you need to measure hashtag and keyword use, follower count and engagement rate. This analysis can help you improve your future campaigns.
Social media giveaway ideas
Now that you have the tools to launch your giveaway, it’s time to find the right idea. Use these seven giveaways for inspiration.
1. Brand partnership bundle
A tried-and-true way to reach more of the right audience is to team up with brands they already follow to co-host a giveaway. Combine your resources to create the ultimate prize bundle. Employ a “follow to win” strategy by asking entrants to follow you and each of your partners.
Note: The best brand partnerships are between complementary brands who don’t compete with each other. Research which products your audience uses outside of your category, and assemble a dream team.
2. Travel to a dream destination
Doesn’t everyone fantasize about an all-expenses paid vacation? Your followers will flock to a travel giveaway. Tease it with photos from the destination and details about the accommodations.
3. Win a mystery box
The only thing people love more than free prizes? Free prizes with an element of surprise. Assemble a box full of mystery goodies to pique your audience’s interest. To keep the momentum going, ask the winner to film an unboxing video when they receive their prize.
Enter for a chance to win a $50 mystery box!!! (Giveaway is not affiliated with TikTok) #booktok #books #book #bookclub #bookworm #giveaway #bookish #booktoker #bookrecommendations #indie #indiebookstore #independantbookstore #bookstan #shoplocal #giveaways #duluthmn #SlurpeeRun #greenscreenvideo #HPRadicalReuse
4. Reward loyal customers
Encourage customers to join your loyalty program so they can get early access to your best deals and new products. To up the ante, give premium freebies to those that enter within a certain timeframe.
5. Follower milestone giveaway
Thank your followers when you hit a major milestone. Whether you’re celebrating 100 or 100,000 followers, show you appreciate them to nurture loyal fans for the long haul.
6. Let friends get in on the fun
Encourage your followers to tag their friends in your comments section or send their pals your giveaway details via direct message. Word of mouth recommendations from friends and family are trusted and valued, so tapping into your brand evangelists will help increase your giveaway’s awareness.
7. Give back
According to the 2022 Sprout Social Index™, 71% of consumers think it’s important for brands to raise awareness and take a stand on social issues. Use your giveaway as a chance to donate to people or organizations in need.
Social media contest ideas
When a social media contest is the best choice for your brand objectives, turn to these five examples to inspire your winning idea.
8. Seasonal and holiday-themed contests
Whether it’s building the best gingerbread house, finding the most adorable Mother’s Day photo or filming the spookiest Halloween scare, people are eager to get in the holiday spirit. Seasonal contests are a timely way to drive engagement and highlight a product or service.
The cuteness is killer. You could win your very own Chucky doll by using ChuckyShareandScareSweepstakes. @luna.foxxig
9. Award for best photo, caption or video
Ask your followers to share their creative passions with your brand—whether it’s a beautiful photo or a hilarious caption. Use this as an opportunity to source content that features people using or interacting with your product, service or location.
10. Complete a digital scavenger hunt
In today’s hybrid world, you can create a digital scavenger hunt for social media users all over the world. To kickoff your contest, make a list of challenges for entrants to complete. Have them submit photo or video proof after they finish each challenge or find the right items. Award people who submit the best content. Tie back the theme of your scavenger hunt to an ongoing campaign or upcoming event.
11. Win a trivia or guessing contest
Whether it’s testing their knowledge at a game of trivia or guessing how many objects are in a photo, people are keen to compete for prizes. Design a game related to your brand or product, and you will hit the engagement jackpot.
12. Submit an essay, story or poem
Host a writing contest to find talented writers who can help your brand tell a story. Award the winners with prizes, plus ask them to speak at an upcoming event—a great example of how contests can foster relationships offline, too.
Calling all writers, poets & spoken word artists! Join our contest with new work that reflects on 200 years of Jacksonville history and envisions the next 100 years. Cash prizes will be awarded and winners will be invited to read their work aloud on 8/12. https://t.co/RYGZeN4vKo pic.twitter.com/d4NOa6e83Y
— The Jessie (@TheJessieJax) June 28, 2022
Turn social media giveaway and contest entrants into customers
The true goal of giveaways and contests isn’t social media clout. It’s building genuine relationships with people.
What might seem like fun and games is actually the beginning of a connection that will keep consumers coming back for more. It’s part of the process of becoming a brand your audience loves and trusts.
Learn more about what people are looking for when they interact with brands on social by downloading the latest Sprout Social Index™: Social Media Trends for 2022 & Beyond.
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