Social Media Competitions: 3 Top Tips

If you follow any big, or indeed, small brands on social media, it won’t take you much scrolling to find a competition on your time line. But why do so many brands use competitions as a tool on social media?

In his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Righthook”, Gary Vaynerchuk points out that brands must give value and generate engagement before asking for something in return from their audience.

So are competitions purely a brands way of giving back to followers whilst expecting nothing in return? Well, no. It is arguable that a brand is unlikely to make a direct sale from an online competition, but if the goal is to drive engagement, follows, likes and general chatter about your brand then a competition is far from a 100% selfless act.

So, now we are excited about running a competition that is great for both us and our adoring fans, let’s get a few tips.


What Do You Win?

The first question to tackle here is what do you want to win? Is the goal to get more followers, likes or shares? Is it to get more engagement from your current audience? Or collect emails addresses for your mailing list?

Answering this will ultimately provide a mechanism for how the competition will work. If you are looking for followers or shares ‘tag a mate’ or ‘share to win’ can be used to get a wider audience for the competition and your page, ultimately getting you more followers… this is easy to follow, so you are likely to get a lot more entries.

If your goal is to drive engagement and really get people interacting with the brand, considering a photo competition or another type of entry will attract your most loyal and engaged customers – this is more time consuming so you are likely to get fewer entries, however it does have the added benefit of providing content for future use (just make sure you make this intention clear at the start).

Collecting emails can be achieved through getting entrants to sign up to your mailing list in order to enter.


Grab Attention

Now we know what we want, we need to make the competition look attractive so people pay attention. There are a few elements to consider here:



The first aspect to consider here is what you are physically willing to give away. The obvious prize is to give away one of your own products or services, as this is likely to attract those who are interested in your brand and products. For example, if you sell beef jerky you are unlikely to have lots of vegetarians enter.

However, another important aspect to consider is whether you are giving away something that people want to win. If you are asking people to take selfies or put some time into their entry then the prize needs to be seen as worth the effort. However tasty your beef jerky is, one small bag is unlikely to get people excited enough to do anything beyond a quick like.



People won’t be able to enter your competition unless they know you are running it. Using a great image or video will really grab people’s attention on social media. As the goal is to get this post shared wide and far, it is also really important that this image/video also reflects your brand and is seen by as many people as possible. This is where hashtags and promoted posts come in to play.



As the competition should be your headline post whilst it is running, there are a few things you will want to consider when it comes to promotion.

Firstly, on platforms where you are able, pin your competition to the top of the page. This means new visitors will see this first regardless of whether or not you have posted since.

Another option is paid advertising to promote the post. Most social media platforms offer this as standard and allow you to target certain demographics depending on your target audience. Often businesses are adverse to paying for advertising, but if you are giving away something of value, investing a small amount in pushing this is a good way to maximize the benefits. And if you’re planning to promote your post, you’ll need to decide whether or not you want or need to target specific demographics.


Catch em, keep em.

Here is the most important part of any campaign on social media. Once you have put in the time and effort to engage your audience and get new followers and likes, you need to keep them engaged.

The thrill of social media is the unlimited potential to be in front of your target audience, by following a solid social media plan that focuses on adding value to your audience means that you will be at the front of their mind when it comes to their next purchase.