12 Social Media Contests You Should Try

12 Social Media Contests You Should Try

12 Social Media Contests You Should Try

12 Social Media Contests You Should Try

Social media contests are an excellent opportunity to increase engagement and gain new followers. In today’s blog, we’re sharing our favorite ideas for social media contests that are guaranteed to bring results. 

Like/Comment/Share/Retweet/Tag Contests

Sometimes what’s tried-and-true is still the simplest and most effective strategy. This contest is exactly what you think. You offer a great prize and to enter a social media user must take the desired action (like, comment, share, etc) on the post. The great thing about contests like these is that you can combine any or all of these actions in one contest. Liking and commenting can be combined with tags that knock out two birds with one stone. Tags and shares can also be combined with retweets. Use relevant hashtags (but not too many!) to help promote your contest and clearly state the rules in each contest post. 

Follow to Win

This one takes the Like/Share contest a step further to increase your followers in a quick fashion. Use it in combination with a contest that requires retweeting, sharing, or tagging to reach even more new followers.

Follow/Like/Share + Influencers

Boost your contest efforts by partnering with an influencer or micro-influencer in your area. Airline company Lufthansa gained a cool 650 new followers when they partnered with influencer Marissa Cox to give away a free trip to anywhere in Europe. Typically, both you and the influencer will post the contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes on your social media pages. Instagram is the best platform to use for influencer marketing. You and the influencer can decide together the terms of the contest including how you will both benefit. If you both want more followers, you may ask that both pages be liked or followed, but it’s not a requirement. The best way to determine the direction of the contest is to figure out what you are trying to achieve with it. Do you want your audience to engage more? Do you want to get them excited about a new product or service? 

Follower Milestone Contest

Often brands who are about to reach a new follower milestone like adding a K or M to their follower numbers will create a contest to quickly boost their followers and reach that important milestone. This tried-and-true method works for any brand big or small. This contest is typically done by creating a post detailing your milestone goal and how you will reward a lucky follower for helping you reach the finish line. Most brands ask followers to share the post or tag a certain number of friends who don’t currently follow your page in the comment section. All followers who share or tag should be entered into the contest, along with any new followers. To easily keep track of new followers, you can ask that tagged or new followers comment on the original post with a short phrase like, “Hi, I’m new.” You can also track new followers in your Notifications tab, but asking them to comment on the original post is a much simpler way to track. 

Weekly or Monthly Drawings

Sure you can gain a lot of followers in short order with contests but keeping all those new followers is an entirely different story. One way to retain followers is to give them a reason to want to stay loyal to your brand by offering weekly or monthly drawings or contests. You don’t have to break the bank with recurring contests either. Give away inexpensive prizes like t-shirts or water bottles, offer the chance to be featured on your social media channels (this works especially well for influential brands like art galleries, clothing brands and retail, gyms and fitness experts, and popular bars and restaurants). You don’t have to be a major national brand, you just need to be a big deal in your area or industry. Other types of businesses such as marketing firms, medical and dental clinics (especially specialty clinics), and even attorney offices can give away gift cards to local businesses or branded swag. 

Play to Win

Gaming is an increasingly popular strategy to engage and increase followers. You don’t have to be elaborate with your games. They can be as simple as the contest Chipotle used on Instagram in which followers were asked to comment the word Q-U-E-S-O in uninterrupted succession to increase excitement about adding queso to their menu. In another contest for the same campaign, the Mexican food chain asked followers to spot the difference in photos on Instagram Galleries.

Vote to Win 

Create an Instagram Stories poll, Facebook post, or Tweet asking viewers to vote on their favorite product or service. For example, Anderson Pens created a quick, simple contest featuring a graphic with four different ink colors. Followers were asked to drop their favorite color in the comments section to be entered into the contest to win pens in all four ink shades. Simple, right? 

Photo Caption or Best Comment Contest

Photo caption contests work well for print brands, artists, photographers, and art gallery owners. Give away a small piece of art, a mini photo session, or a discount on an item of their choice by asking followers to caption a photo of the item or sample item you plan to give away. Of course, you don’t have to be one of these types of brands for a photo caption contest to work for your business. Asking followers to caption a funny staff photo can work well for any type of business and it shows followers a lighter side to serious businesses like clinics. A close cousin of photo caption contests are best comment contests. Prompt followers to comment on why they deserve to win your prize or to help name a new product or service. 

Social Scavenger Hunt

Increase engagement and followers and gain new leads across multiple social media platforms by creating a social scavenger hunt. Drop “Easter eggs” or clues throughout your social media channels with a call to action attached to each clue. The CTA might simply ask them to submit their first name and email address using a direct link to a form on your website from the contest post. Contests with higher valued prizes should require a bit more from followers. CTAs for these types of contests should at least ask the follower to sign up for your brand’s email list or, perhaps, to download an e-book or newsletter. 

Exciting Unveils + Influencers

Take a cue from Foot Locker’s #HorsewithHarden contest which skyrocketed the shoe retailer’s YouTube subscribers by a whopping 300 percent. The brand asked subscribers to share a video of their most creative basketball shots along with the Horse with Harden hashtag. Then in a twist, Foot Locker partnered with NBA standout James Harden who recreated the best submissions on the brand’s YouTube channel in a face-off contest. 

Enter-to-Win Sweepstakes

Did we mention how well classic strategies work? Enter-to-win are another call-to-action contest that will help generate new leads. Require your followers to “enter” some type of basic information such as their email address as their entry to the sweepstakes. Like the social scavenger hunt, you would get this information through a direct CTA link that would read something like “Click here to enter the sweepstakes.” The link would lead to a form on your website that asks for the information you require for entry. 

Hashtag Challenges

Promote a new product or service with a hashtag challenge like Guess first did with their #InMyDenim photo challenge. You can even partner with an influencer to encourage followers to come to try your product or service for the contest. Participants will still need to share a photo of themselves trying the product or service using the hashtag to be entered into the contest. Only those who do the challenge using the hashtag qualify for entry.


Prizes are as important to a successful contest as the creativity behind it. You don’t want to center your contest around a prize few people actually want or care about. I’ve mentioned a few possible prizes throughout the article, such as those in the photo caption contest. If you’re not an artist, photographer, or gallery owner you probably don’t have a piece of art at your disposal waiting to be given away. The good news is that your prize doesn’t necessarily have to be a product or service from your business, although offering a significant discount on a service or giving away a less expensive but still valued product as prizes are great options for many types of businesses. Other popular prizes include free t-shirts, inexpensive tickets to an upcoming event in your area, trending products like wireless bluetooth earbuds or phone accessories, gift cards to a local restaurant or even a movie theater. (Please note that some of these prizes may not be available during the pandemic. Depending on your location, you can likely find some fun alternatives to currently sidelined options like movie theaters.) 

Want to learn more about social media contests and other proven strategies to improve your followership and engagement? We’ve got the answers you’re looking for. Click here to request your free half-hour consultation with Hilary today.