What if I told you that you could generate a 35% increase in social media followers, as well as hundreds of leads by running a Social Media Contest? Would it be worth your time?

Running a Social Media contest has so many advantages but these cannot be utilised unless you, as a small business know exactly how-to run and optimise Social Media contests.

Why You Should Run A Social Media Contest

For your business to be a success online, you need to generate leads which turn into sales. One of the most effective ways to do this is through a social media competition or contest. I had a client just last year generate 2,700 leads and thousands of pounds in sales just from spending £100 running a Social Media competition over the course of 5 days. They can be very successful IF you know how to run one.

Here are 5 things to consider when running a Social Media Contest.

1. Choose ONE Social Network

As a small business, you should just chose the social network which you are most engaged on, and run the competition using that network. Most businesses choose to run a competition on Facebook using an approved third party app because this is where success can be easily measured.

2. Choose Your Third Party App

If you try to run a competition on Facebook without using a verified third party app, they will close your Facebook Page down for good. Take a look at Wishpond, Gleam or Short Stack as a third party app to run a Social Media Contest.

3. Make It Easy To Enter

I see so many businesses setting “guidelines” to enter their competition which include giving their name, email address, telephone number, address, age, gender as well as having to share the contest with their friends, and following on the particular social network. This is SUCH a turn off. Keep it simple and easy for your audience to enter. Just ask for the basic information like name and email address.

4. Have Rules In Place

You will always come across rule breakers online and you need to make sure you are clear with your rules and regulations to enter the contest. Keep these as simple as entering, but do make sure your audience are abiding by your rules.

5. Logistics

There are a few things you need to consider before starting your Social Media Contest. How long are you going to run the competition for? What is the prize? How are you going to chose the winner? How are you going to announce the winner?

Consider the above questions and make sure they are answered before creating your Social Media contest.

How-To Tips For Each Social Network

Depending on the network you chose, your approach should be different. Whilst I am not going to take you through the specific how-to for each social network, I will share with you great tips for executing your Social Media contest on your desired network.


If you are running a Facebook ad, consider advertising this on Facebook to make sure your audience are seeing the contest. Promoted Posts will help increase visibility whilst also promoting your contest to your target audience. This will generate more engagement, leads and entries for your business.

If your contest is based on someone submitting a photo or video, make sure you share the entries with your audience. This will give your audience an idea of what it looks like to enter, and encourage them to follow suit.


When it comes to running a contest on Twitter, there are certain hashtags you should be using to reach a larger audience. Consider using both #Contest and #Sweepstakes in your tweets as people will be searching to enter a contest with a prize they want to win.

You should also be tracking engagement throughout the duration of your contest. You can do this using Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Measure your mentions, retweets, favourites and engagement to see whether Twitter is the best platform for you to run a contest.


Instagram is the social network for Hashtags and you must adopt this approach when running a contest. Encourage users to use hashtags to enter, as well as engage with you as a brand. This will also make it easier to track progress.

You should also make sure your contests are topical, and relevant to the time of year. There is no point running a competition based on a winter scarf or jacket in the middle of Summer.


Whilst Pinterest may not be your chosen social network to run a contest, you can use it as a way to increase your following on the social network. Get entrants to “follow” you as a part of a condition to enter if this is what your end goal is. You should also create a new Pinterest board if submitting a video or photo is a part of how people enter.

I hope the above will help you create your Social Media contest!

What tools do you use to run a Social Media contest, and; do you have a content calendar in place to help you better manage the content you share? If not, take a look below.

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