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How to Run a Successful Competition on Social Media

Thursday 9th February 2023

Blog Author Beth Perrin by Beth Perrin

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How to Run a Successful Competition on Social Media

Thursday 9th February 2023

Competitions and giveaways are an excellent way to bring new followers to your social media pages, generate excitement surrounding your brand and boost engagement. In fact, competitions have a 3.7% higher conversion rate compared to other CTAs and an average of over 34% of new customers are acquired through competitions, proving just how effective they can be in growing your audience and incentivising clicks. While running a social media competition is relatively straightforward, they do require some planning beforehand - and there are a range of best practices and guidelines you’ll need to follow. Read on to discover our top tips and tricks to make yours go smoothly.

Gold trophy beside laptop with Facebook on screen


Choose Your Aim

First and foremost, you need to choose the goal of your competition - why are you running it and what exactly do you want it to achieve for your brand? Here are some example objectives:

Raised awareness (reach and impressions)

New followers/fans

Engagement (likes, shares, retweets and comments)

Customer feedback

Collection of UGC (User Generated Content)

Your desired aim will determine what you need to ask people to do to enter your competition, such as following your page, liking the post or sharing a positive experience they’ve had with your brand.


Pick Your Platform

Once you’ve decided what you want your competition to achieve, it’s time to pick your platform - do you want to post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or another social network? Of course, this will depend on which platforms you already use for your brand, what kind of audience you have on each one, which one(s) you’ve seen success on in the past, and which one(s) you are hoping to grow.

Instagram is a great consideration, with accounts that hold contests growing their followers 70% faster than those that don’t. Plus, competitions on this platform receive 3.5 times as many likes and 64 times more comments on average than regular posts. Meanwhile, 78.4% of contest shares are done on Facebook, making this another excellent platform to try for your competition.

If you choose to post your competition on more than one platform, you’ll need to decide whether you want to pool all of the entrants together (if doing so, make sure this is clearly stated in your copy so people know that there are more entrants than those they can see), or pick one winner from each platform.


Learn the Rules

Each social media platform has a specific set of guidelines for running promotions and contests. It’s crucial that you follow these rules otherwise your page may get restricted, blocked from performing certain actions or even deleted. The rules include things like making it clear that the competition isn’t affiliated with or endorsed by the platform in any way, discouraging people from making multiple accounts to enter more than once, and preventing excessive sharing of content.

Here are the promotion guidelines for the big three:




You can learn more about this in episode 6 of our podcast.


Decide on a Prize

Now for the fun part: choosing what to give your winner! This will depend on the nature of your brand and the budget you’re prepared to put behind the prize, but make sure it’s something that will really excite your audience and encourage them to participate, while also generating ROI (Return on Investment) for your business.

It’s also important to choose something that’s relevant to your brand, otherwise your competition may attract people who are only interested in the item you’re offering as a prize instead of your brand as a whole (sometimes known in the industry as ‘compers’ or ‘prize pigs’!), making them less likely to stick around after the competition.

For restaurants, it could be a free meal, a free course or free drinks

For hotels and other accommodation providers, it could be a free overnight stay or mini break

For eCommerce stores, it could be a free product, bundle, or year’s supply of a specific item

For all industries, it could be a gift card, voucher or cash, or a prize supplied by a partner brand or collaborator


Write Your Copy & Create an Image

With all the planning out of the way, you can get started on writing the copy for your social media post and designing an eye-catching image to go alongside it. Make sure you use the word ‘win’, ‘competition’ or ‘giveaway’ near the start of your post to grab your audience’s attention straight away, and explain clearly what they need to do to enter. Describe the prize and what it entails, and state when the competition will close so people know how long they have to enter. When it comes to your T&Cs, you can either include these directly in your post or add a link to them on your website.

The image for your competition can either be a relevant photo with text added over the top, or a branded graphic that shows off your design skills - anything that will draw people in and entice them to enter. Don’t forget, there’s a high chance that your competition will get seen by a wider audience than just your existing fans (a whopping 94% of users will share a contest immediately after entering!), so it’s a good idea to include your logo on the image so newcomers can instantly see who the promotion is being run by.


Respond to Entrants

It’s essential to carry out Community Management after you’ve posted your competition, especially if you’ve asked fans to share their stories, opinions or photos as a form of entry. Like and/or respond to their comments, thank them for entering and wish them luck, taking time to generate longer conversations and build rapport where possible. If you want to download and save their photos or videos to use as UGC on your page in the future, always remember to ask for their permission first, and give credit when sharing.


Pick and Announce a Winner

Once the competition has closed, choose a winner - either by selecting your favourite entry, or by picking a person at random (if your competition was a sweepstake-style contest). Reply to the winner’s comment to let them know that they’ve won, and ask them to send you a private message to arrange their prize. Never ask them to share personal information such as their address or phone number in a public comment. Then, once they’ve contacted you privately, gather the necessary details to send them (or book) their prize, making sure to also provide them with a GDPR-compliant privacy notice so they know how your brand will use their information.


Assess the Results

After you’ve contacted your winner and arranged their prize, it’s time to take a look at the results of your competition to see if it was a success. Did it meet the goal you initially set, such as a certain amount of new followers, a specific number of engagements, or a record level of impressions? If applicable, take a look at the sentiment of the comments - are they mostly positive, negative or neutral? Did all of the entrants perform the required actions, such as liking the post or liking your page? If not, what could you have done better to achieve your objective? All of these steps will help you assemble an even better competition next time.



Competitions and giveaways are powerful tools in the world of social media, and can add a splash of excitement into your content strategy when your pages are in need of a little pick-me-up. With some careful planning and initial research, a competition can boost your brand awareness, fan loyalty and audience size, while also giving people something to talk about and aiding your discoverability. Just make sure to keep it relevant, explain your terms clearly, and stick to the rules of each platform in order to avoid spam entries and account issues. Have you seen a brilliant social media competition recently? Want some additional advice on running a contest for your brand? Tweet us @3sixfivepro - we’d love to hear from you.