When looking for ways to generate traffic to your small business social media page(s), one of the most commonly recommended options is a social media contest—and for good reasons. We are inherently competitive. The average user on social media will check out a contest and take part if it is attractive.
One way to ensure your social media contests are appealing to your audience is to choose the right types and make them an integral part of your social media marketing. If you get this part locked down, you will not only attract all the benefits of running a social media contest (engagement, quality leads, and conversions), you will also grow a new stream of loyal followers.
Why? More than 80% of people who enter social media contests become more open to content from your brand and will still share interesting ones long after the contest has ended.
To choose the right type of social media contest for your business, you need to define your goal for each campaign. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Do you want to generate more sales? Do you want more followers for your page? When you have clear goals, the next step is to go through top social media contest ideas and pick the best fit.
Top social media contest ideas
The top contest ideas for some of the most popular social media marketing platforms used by small businesses are covered below:
If you have a Facebook brand page, chances are that you already have thousands of users that are accustomed to seeing contests from brands they love. With the myriad of tools that exist on the platform, organizing a contest is also super easy. Here are some excellent ideas:
Like and comment
This is a simple contest option you should consider. Just ask your followers to like and comment on a specific post for a chance to win something. You can also just ask for more likes for your business page. At the end of the contest duration, choose a winner randomly from those that took action.
Run a quiz
People love to take a crack at that one quiz that everyone is talking about. Why don’t you make it one of yours? A quiz contest is another excellent way to drive engagement on your brand page through the roof. However, it will only work if the quiz is interesting yet challenging enough. You don’t want the quiz to get solved five minutes into the start of the contest, so take the time to come up with the perfect quiz option.
Gain customer insights
You can use contests to find what customers are thinking about your brand. What do they think about your logo? Which of your product label designs do they like more? What blog posts do they want to see? These are all questions you can ask as part of a contest. You’ll pick one or two winners randomly from the respondents, but the insights you can glean from such an exercise can be highly valuable.
Instagram is all about photos and hashtags, so the bulk of your contest options will revolve around these. Here are some options.
This contest option involves posting a photo and asking your audience to come up with witty captions. The photo needs to be an interesting one—even better if it is meme-worthy. Choose the winning caption(s) and announce them on the page.
Hashtags are an important part of Instagram, so users are usually comfortable with posting certain hashtags as an entry into a contest. You can ask them to comment under a post with specific hashtags or to post on their feed with the hashtags you provided.
Choose your winners from the participants. If you are going with this option, use a tool to find hashtags that are relevant to your brand. This will help you to increase brand reach and visibility through the competition.
Like to enter
The focus of this contest is to generate as many likes as possible for a post. Just as it is on Facebook, you can also ask people to comment for a chance to win. On Instagram, this contest option also increases the chances of a post appearing on people’s feed, making it another excellent way to increase brand reach.
Get user photos
If you want to spice up your Instagram page a bit, ask your audience to submit nice photos, using your recommended hashtags, for a chance to win a contest. Using the hashtags is a way for you to track the post, and getting your followers to post the images on their page will grow your reach and attract new leads. For the best results, consider asking for photos showing people using your products.
Most of the contest options we have seen for Facebook and Instagram will also work on Twitter. You only need to change things up to reflect the Twitter reality. Here are two ideas.
Hashtags started on Twitter, and they still work great here. You can ask contest participants to tweet hashtags while taking an action that qualifies them for an entry into a contest such as taking part in a poll, commenting on a post, etc.
Fastest correct answer
This is a popular contest option on Twitter. It involves posting a question and picking the fastest correct answer at the end of the contest duration.
Tips for a perfect social media contest
For the best result with your social media contest, here are some rules you should follow:
Set clear rules
People should be able to know the grounds for entry at a glance. If you have any rules to prevent abuse, state them up front.
Don’t break the rules
Most social media platforms have rules that could make your social media contest illegal. For example, if you ask people to share your Facebook post for a chance to win something, it is against the rules.
Make contests interesting
If the prizes to be won are not interesting enough, it may be hard to generate interest in the competition. A good tip is to offer your highly popular product. For example, asking people to compete for a T-shirt as a confectionery business may not get the same attention as putting up a tray of colorful cupcakes as the prize to be won.
When you finally choose a winner, announce it clearly. Avoid picking winners with new accounts. Apart from the fact that there is little value to be gained in terms of reach, it could give your audience the impression that you are giving prizes to your burner accounts.
Make the competition time short
This will vary from one platform to the other. Twitter users will be less likely to keep tabs on a contest that will last more than 12 hours while Facebook and Instagram won’t have any issues waiting for a day to find out if they won. However, on all the platforms, very few people will want to wait for days or weeks.
The right type of social media contest will come down to your brand goals, and the social media platform you are targeting. Once you have figured out what you hope to achieve with contests, it is super easy to know what approach to take. Don’t forget to stick to the rules guiding the social media platform and stay transparent in all the contests.