I’m sure you’ve come across social media giveaways, and they’re big attention grabbers. People love free things, and we love to win! On the business side of things, hosting social media giveaways and contests are a great way to boost your brand’s visibility and engagement rates.

How does one go about putting together a social media contest then? Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you in your process.

1. Determine your goals

What are you looking to get out of your social media contest? We’re talking about specific, measurable and attainable goals. Here are some objectives you can base your contest or giveaway on:

  • Increase followers. This may be a vanity metric, but it can be important for some brands especially if they’re trying to reach the 10,000 followers milestone on Instagram and get the ‘swipe up’ feature!
  • Boost your brand awareness. Giveaways are super effective in making people aware of your brand. Simply ask people to tag their friends to enter!
  • Drive engagement. Users are usually asked to like, comment and share posts in giveaways, which drives engagement. 
  • Promote new products/services. Giveaways can help shine the spotlight on any new products or services that are coming up, and also help generate leads and increase sales.

While one giveaway or contest can help accomplish all of these things, you should prioritize what is most important to you. If the contest is too hard to enter, it could end up having the opposite effect! 

2. Pick a platform

It’s important for brands to have a strong social media presence, but these platforms are not all made equal. Based on your industry and audience, some social media platforms may work better for you than others. 

Which platform does your audience spend the most time on? While Instagram contests and giveaways are the most popular nowadays, it does not need to be a hard and fast rule. For example, if your target audience are working professionals, hosting a LinkedIn giveaway may be the right choice for you!

3. Pinpoint your budget and prize

What will you be giving away and how much are you willing to spend on your social media giveaway? Make sure you factor in the prize, ad/promotion costs and any paid services you may use. If you plan on doing social media giveaways regularly (they’re a great way to keep your followers excited and engaged), you should plan out a yearly budget for it.

The prize that you’re giving away should be relevant to your brand and your audience, so you’re not bringing in contestants that will never convert. This could be anything from a free voucher/session to a set of your products. Make sure you’re giving away something that provides users with a taste of your products and services!

Take for example, Birchbox that gave away $150 shopping points:


Photo credit: @birchbox

Or when they brought attention to a range of new products from Living Proof and gave away exclusive sets to lucky winners!:


Photo credit: @birchbox

4. Understand contest rules

In social media giveaways, your entrants may have to meet a set of requirements (e.g. like, follow and share), but there are also rules that you as a business owner have to abide by! Before you proceed in your planning process, it’s important to read up on the different rules about how you can promote and run your contest. 

If you break their rules, you run the risk of getting dinged by the social media platforms. For example, Facebook and Instagram discourage contests that ask users to incorrectly tag users on content. 

Social media contest rules are not just limited to the social media platforms that they’re hosted on. You’ll also want to make sure that your contest meets your local state or government laws too!

5. Determine your contest length

Set the dates where you want to start and end your giveaway/contest. The more valuable your prize, the longer it can be. A large prize will get people talking and stay on people’s minds, so it’s easier to keep the excitement and entries going. However, too long and people will lose interest and the sense of urgency that compels people to enter. If you’re doing a smaller giveaway, it can last a week, or even as short as a day or two.

6. Promote and run your contest

It’s time to start your contest! Announce it on your social media channel, run ads to get the word out further and cross promote it on other platforms, your website and email newsletters. Keep your copy short but exciting, and make sure that it’s easy for users to understand what they’re winning, how to enter, and the terms and conditions. 

Then it’s time to watch the entries come in. As users enter, tag and share the contest with others, you’ll gain new followers and people who are interested in your brand. Make sure you engage with the users interacting with your brand, and share any user-generated content!

7. Ending and analyzing the contest

When the contest ends, you can use online tools such as WASK to help you randomly pick a winner/winners. Thank everyone for entering, announce the lucky winners, and get in touch with them to send off their prize!

Although the contest is over, you still have work to do. Which is to find out how well did your contest perform, and did it meet your goals? What worked well and what didn’t? Every piece of information will help you better shape your next giveaway and contest.

At this point, you will also want to convert your new followers. You can do this by linking your contest to a promotion that kicks off after the event ends. With it fresh on their minds, they will be more inclined to check out what you have to offer. Even if they don’t convert right away, you’re planting the seeds for a purchase later down the road!