Running A Successful Social Media Competition.

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940 658 Peter Cox

Over the years it feels like I’ve run hundreds of social media competitions and each competition guarantees you 2 things:
A) positive engagement
B) immense brand awareness.

It goes without saying that giving something away will be met with positivity, in a world where virtually nothing is free, to have the opportunity of winning something for little amount of work, is clearly very appealing. But it’s not just a case of giving something away for the PR and potential engagement it may bring you, but also to give something back to your customers. So what are the rules of running a successful social media competition? Let’s take a look.

1. Choose a great giveaway.
We’ll start with the most obvious first. Choosing a good product to give away is extremely important. You need it to be worth the customer’s while to share and essentially promote your business to their friends across social media; and to do that, the product needs to be exciting.
If you’re a restaurant for example, you may want to think about giving away a free meal for 2 near Valentine’s day, or if you sell your products online you might want to give one of your hero items away for free, alongside a few other treats.

The most important thing to avoid though, is making it boring, but try to keep it relevant to your brand. Afterall, it’s your brand you’re trying to promote here, so give away something relevant, not just a box of Dairy Milk because people cannot resist chocolates (other chocolates are available!).

2. Make your advertising topical
If you’re giving away a prize during Christmas, make it Christmassy. Or if it’s in Feb, why not attach the idea and branding to Valentine’s day? It’s simple but very effective and it could be the difference between a customer sharing your post to enter your comp, or not.

We recently produced a Valentine’s day giveaway for one of our clients, which will have the winner announced near Valentine’s day; and of course, the artwork was made with this popular occasion in mind.

Trending topics or relevant marketing is key, so don’t just throw any old thing out there and hope it sticks. Create your campaign with some backbone and reason.

3. Stick some money behind it
Most of the traffic you receive from your social media competition will be organic, it’s just the nature of virality, however putting some money behind it will give it that extra boost and ensure it reaches everybody possible.

Facebook advertising is brilliant for smaller budgets behind a singular campaign. You could easily stick just £20 behind a post for example and receive hundreds of targeted reach and with the combination of a good giveaway and strong, relevant branding, your customers and potential customers are bound to share.

4. Get your T&Cs in order
Here’s a little handy tip… the notes section on your Facebook page allows you to write a page worth of text and what’s more, you can link to it.

This is a good spot to put your T&Cs for your competition. You can outline them in a nice format and not getting too in the way of the juicy part of your marketing, the giveaway itself. And I say “get them out of the way” but this doesn’t mean they’re not extremely important. Every competition needs to have T&Cs, as it covers your back and also protects the customer when it comes to their expectations. You’ll want to detail everything from exactly what the prize is, to when it’ll be announced. Bear in mind that any food you’re giving away should be detailed in the terms for health and safety reasons and of course if you’re giving away alcohol, that the comp is strictly over the legal age limit. It’s easy to forget these details in the heat of excitement when launching a comp.

Email me at if you’d like me to send you my handy T&C template for social media competitions. I’d be happy to share it with you, free of charge of course.

5. Try get a pic of the winner and their prize.
Every campaign needs a good launch plan, a strong execution and a nice round up and by getting a pic of your customer receiving their prize, really shows the human side to your business. You could even arrange to take it to them locally, or when they pick it up, get a photo of them with a member of your staff. The most important thing is that feel good factor and that follow through gives out some nice additional trust.

Well, that’s just 5 things I’d recommend for running a successful online competition. We get thousands of reach and shares and hundreds of new likes and customers for our clients, by simply encouraging them to give something away for free.

When was the last time you ran an online comp? I’d love to hear your success stories and of course if you’d like any more advice on this front, drop me an email at

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Peter Cox

All stories by: Peter Cox