5 Things that Marketers Need to Know about Contests on Social Media

Do you remember when companies that made breakfast cereals offered prizes in exchange for the completion of a form that was printed on the inside of the box? They provided a wide variety of presents, including t-shirts, desktop computers, and even paid vacations. Those are becoming increasingly rare in today’s world!

The concept of giving things away, on the other hand, did not go away entirely. Instead, they shifted their focus to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, moving away from cereal boxes and magazines. Every single day, brands all over the world run contests on social media, but the question is whether or not they are doing it correctly.

Because, let’s face it, it’s not as easy as just selling lottery tickets! Let’s take a deep dive into the world of social media contests so that we can learn the dos and don’ts of participating in these types of events.

5 Things Every Marketer Needs to Know


The following is information that marketeers need to know about competitions on social media:


1. Make Sure you Hold the Appropriate Kind of Contest for your Company



Although a contest and a sweepstakes might appear to be the same thing at first glance, there is a significant difference between the two. Every variety of promotion adheres to a different canon of policies and standards. Before you begin your campaign, it is imperative that your company has a clear understanding of which option it intends to pursue.

The three most popular social media promotions are contest, sweepstakes, lottery. People will know how to enter the giveaway and how they can win based on the type of giveaway that you choose, so it’s important to choose wisely. Once you have decided what kind of promotion you want to run, you can move on to the next step of the process: planning the details.


2. Research the Social Media Rules



When it comes to running a giveaway on social media, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not taking the time to become familiar with the rules first. Not only does every social media platform have its own unique set of rules and regulations, but so does the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The Federal Trade Commission requires that you disclose in your post whether or not you are receiving compensation for your partnership with another brand that is providing the item that you are giving away. It is essential for your followers to have a comprehensive understanding of the connection you have to the brand in order for them to have a better comprehension of what it is for which they are applying. Transparency is of the utmost importance!

It is even more important than it sounds to follow the guidelines established by the FTC for partnerships involving social media. Should you choose to disobey their regulations, you run the risk of receiving a hefty fine. Take some time to ensure that you are complying before launching a campaign right away, despite the fact that it is tempting to do so in order to start seeing new followers coming in. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer look over everything before you get started, does it?

There are many different social media platforms, and each one is unique in its own way. Take, for instance, the social media platform Instagram; its rules are entirely dissimilar to those of Twitter! It is your responsibility to ensure that the rules of the sweepstakes are adhered to at all times, regardless of whether you are running the contest on a single platform or promoting it across a number of different platforms.

Before you get started on your campaign, make sure you take a look at these guides.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

If you do not follow the guidelines for each platform, you run the risk of having your posts deleted, having your social media profile deactivated, or having your business be subject to financial penalties. It is much better to take the initiative and check that you are adhering to all of the guidelines than to get in trouble later!


3. Set your Terms & Conditions



When you’re in the middle of running a contest, the last thing you want is for people to start asking you questions about the rules and regulations. Before you announce your sweepstakes to the general public, you should first write down the requirements. This establishes the ground rules and can help prevent problems in the future down the line.

The more valuable the item that is being given away, the more important it is to have the terms and conditions worked out. This is especially important to keep in mind if the prize consists of a trip or some other activity that could potentially be hazardous. Regardless of the value of the prize, you must not overlook the necessity of settling these details.

The following are some of the aspects of the rules of your competition that you should take into consideration:

  • Minimum age to enter
  • Restrictions based on geographical locations, such as countries
  • When does the promotion begin and when does it end?
  • When are you going to let everyone know who the winner is?
  • Details regarding how the winner will be notified
  • Whether or not the winner will be disclosed to the public
  • The particular brand and number of each item that you will be giving away
    If there is a fee or purchase required to enter the venue.

When it comes to organizing a social media giveaway, one of the most important steps is coming up with the rules and regulations for the competition. It might be an annoyance, but if you don’t have them, you could leave your company vulnerable to legal action or accusations of unfairness. It is well worth one’s time and energy!


4. Promote your Social Media Contest



What is the purpose of holding a competition on social media if you are not going to make the effort to publicize it? Your audience needs to be aware that a significant event is going to take place very soon. You should still share it on all of your other social profiles, even if people can only enter through a particular social media platform that you specify as a requirement for participation. You’ll get extra credit if you also post it on your website or send it out via email.

For instance, if you are running a contest on Instagram to give away a Peloton bike, you should also take the time to write a post on Facebook informing people about the contest. You should include links to your Instagram profile, in addition to some of the ground rules, such as when they need to finish their entry in order to qualify for the competition.


5. Measure the Success of the Contest



It is important to be somewhat analytical when planning a social media contest, especially if you are going to spend the time to plan the contest. For instance, you’ll want to figure out how many new followers you attracted as a direct result of the promotion that you ran. In addition to this, it is essential to monitor the overall engagement on your profile before, during, and after the conclusion of your competition.

Be sure to keep a record of the following information both before and after you launch your competition:

  • Page views
  • Follows
  • Postreach
  • Page likes
  • Post engagement

Giving things away isn’t just a nice thing for companies to do out of the goodness of their hearts. They do this for a number of reasons, one of which is the desire to expand their social following. It is essential to keep detailed records of a contest’s results because organizing one requires a significant investment of time, energy, and resources. It would be counterproductive to continue investing in more giveaways if it turned out that those giveaways had no effect on the performance metrics you were tracking.

Final Thoughts 


Social media contests have the potential to increase a company’s number of followers, improve audience engagement, and fortify customer loyalty to the company’s brand. In general, they contribute to the growth of your account in a manner that would not occur naturally otherwise. In point of fact, Instagram accounts that run competitions tend to gain followers up to 70% more quickly than accounts that don’t!

Everyone likes free stuff. The popularity of contests can be attributed to this very fact. The possibility of winning a brand new computer or a trip to Cancun without having to put up any money at all is extremely appealing. When your company takes this approach, you can anticipate an influx of new followers. Even better, if you are successful in selling a product or service, you should also see an increase in the number of people who convert into customers. The conversion rate for contests can reach as high as 34 percent!