What is Social Media Contest Strategy?

Aside from money and maybe coffee, it’s competition that drives us to get out of bed. As human beings, the promise of free merchandise, from a t-shirt to a keychain is sadly enough to make us stand at attention and claw our way to sweet victory. Big brands and social media managers have tapped into that insight to create what’s being coined as – Social Media Contest Strategy. Social Media Contest Strategy utilizes the competitive nature of people by creating contests and giveaways on social media platforms that offer incentives to people who participate. By like, sharing, or re-posting, people enter for a chance to win a prize, in return, the brands get free advertising and a new customer base. Although the Social Media Contest Strategy is just getting off the ground, the statistics are in; 85% of people who enter social media contests still share content from that brand—even after the competition has ended. Not to mention, contests influence purchase behavior, 3 in every 4 people who participate, ends up buying the product, whether they win or lose. The contest strategy has opened a lot of doors for smaller businesses that lack social engagement. The overall concept of the strategy is easy enough but here are a few ideas for 3 social platforms that can kick off your contest campaign.



Instagram’s currency is pictures, most brands ask their followers to take a picture and use a hashtag as the price of admittance into the contest. Earlier this year, craft giant Michaels tasked their followers to take a professional picture in the store’s flower section without getting caught by a worker. A simple task like that garnered staggering numbers in engagement for Michaels, not to mention several beautiful pictures advertising their products. When Michaels asked the public to choose one winner out of 3 finalists, that again sparked record-breaking numbers in engagement. At the end of the day Michaels only loss $200 in gift cards but ultimately they reshaped public opinion about fake flowers. Their competition was so successful it impacted the wedding industry, brides are opting to save money by using fake flowers when they saw just how beautiful the pictures were from Michaels.



LinkedIn is a pretty niche platform when setting up a competition for the platform the prize is almost always a job interview. In order to advertise your company an idea for a contest would be for participants to meet with and interview as many people in your company’s network over a weekend. Playing to the strengths of the platform is always a good idea, but the key to a good contest campaign is to create a competition the requires the participants to lean on the platform in order to play.



If we were to describe Twitter in 3 words it would be: short, quick, and snappy; a contest should reflect that personality. A brand that poses a question to their participants and defines the contest as first to tweet the right answer, is using the platform to their advantage. Twitter is where the witty and the wise come out of the woodworks, as a brand ask followers to tweet your new tagline or potential product. For example, Oreos and Lay’s have been asking customers to pick a new flavor for their product for years; now with the power of social media, the brand can hear back from a customer at the click of a mouse.


Incorporating the Social Media Contest Strategy has easily become the fastest growing tactic for companies. Who would have thought the promise of free stuff would invigorate an audience you ask? We have kind folks who invented the T-shirt launcher and Mari-Gras beads to thank for that.