We love contests here at Wishpond because they’re one of the best ways a business can interact with their fans, build a strong community, and generate leads to turn into sales.
In this guide, I’ll cover 25 clever ideas for your next social media giveaway, including types of contests, prize ideas, and some contest page best practices.
Here we go…
Social Media Giveaway Idea #1. Run a photo contest
We love photo contests because they get your entrants invested – contestants are more invested when they’ve created something themselves. On top of that, photo contests help you collect user-generated content that you can use in your future marketing efforts. Use a third-party app (like Wishpond) that allows users to upload their own photos to a gallery where they can see others’ entries.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #2. Run a referral contest
A referral contest helps you generate massive social engagement. Because participants are rewarded with extra entries for sharing your social media giveaway with other people, they’re incentivized to engage with your brand and contest on social media. This is awesome because it helps you build your social following, and spread the word about your giveaway to your entrants’ friends and family.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #3. Run a hashtag contest
Creating a hashtag for your social media giveaway allows you to link your entries and more accurately measure your engagement. Pairing this strategy with a photo contest allows you to use an app to grab all photos with a specific campaign hashtag and automatically upload them to an entry gallery.
When creating your hashtag, use something unique to your campaign – don’t use something generic like “#friends”, or you’ll get a ton of unintentional entries.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #4. Countdown timer
Adding a countdown timer to your social media giveaway helps to create urgency. Urgency is a psychological phenomenon that makes potential contest entrants aware of the time limit on your giveaway, which causes them to act more immediately. Put the countdown timer front and center so your page visitors know exactly how long they have left to enter.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #5. Benefit checklist
When it comes to optimizing your giveaway page, you’ll want to consider different types of visitors. One big group of users comprises what we call “skimmers” – people who don’t really take the time to read everything on your page.
Creating a bullet-point list for the most exciting parts of your giveaway (usually your prize) makes it simple for people to see the benefit they’ll derive from entering your contest, helping to increase your entry rate.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #6. Cover photo/bio
Once your giveaway is running, you want to promote it as much as possible. One awesome way to do this on social media is update your cover photo (on Facebook) and banner (on Twitter) to a photo that promotes your newly-created giveaway. Highlight the prize (I’d add a photo) and a URL-shortened link to your contest to make it as easy as possible for your followers to enter.
For Instagram, update your bio link to a URL for your giveaway, and add a CTA to your bio (“Enter to win [awesome prize] in the link below!”) to prompt followers to visit your contest page.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #7. Checkboxes/more info
Usually, we advocate for less form fields – minimizing the number of these helps you increase conversion rate by making it as easy as possible for people to enter your social media giveaway. However, sometimes adding fields to your giveaway can help your post-contest sales efforts.
Let me explain. Getting some additional information (for example, the type of sport an entrant plays if you’re a gym) by adding a dropdown or checkbox field to your form gives you some more insight into potential customers. When you’re creating your after-contest email drips, you can segment your entrants based on this new information, allowing you to better personalize your marketing efforts.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #8. Share prompt
This is one of our contest best practices, since we’ve seen it work so well in the campaigns we run here at Wishpond. Basically, a share prompt is a popup that appears after a visitor has entered your social media giveaway. The popup asks entrants to follow the brand on social media and share the contest page in exchange for extra entries.
Because these people have already entered the contest, they’re more likely to respond positively to other things you ask of them, especially when they have an incentive to do so. Share prompts drive massive social engagement, giving you more leads for your social media giveaway.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #9. Coupon
We know that it can be tough to turn social media engagement into sales, even when you’re generating leads using a social media giveaway. One simple way to get sales from your list of entrants is to give them a coupon through email as soon as they’ve entered, or when the contest is over.
The leads you generate from your social media giveaway are “hottest” once they’ve just entered – that’s when they’re the most engaged and interested in your product. Using marketing automation, you can send them a coupon that they can instantly redeem for a discount on their next purchase, which is a great way to get them to become paying customers.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #10. Share entries
One best practice I see all the time for companies that run social media giveaways is sharing great entries. Though you shouldn’t do this for any type of vote contest (you don’t want to appear biased towards certain entrants), this is a particularly great strategy for photo contests because it lets you use utilize the user-generated content you’ve been collecting from your giveaway. Share these images on your social platforms, tagging the user who created the content.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #11. Highlight the value of your prize
One way to emphasize the benefit that your contest provides your entrants is to highlight the actual value of your prize. It’s one of our social media giveaway best practices, and we use it every day in the campaigns we run for our many clients.
Why? Basically, it takes something that can be quite vague (i.e. the value of the prize) and makes it concrete. This helps particularly when we consider most people won’t actually read everything on your contest page.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #12. Partner
Partnering with another business to run your giveaway can help you greatly increase the reach of your next social media giveaway. Because you’re now marketing to two email lists and two social media followings, you’re now reaching a new untapped segment of your target market – meaning more potential customers.
Of course, these people will only be potential customers if they’re interested in your industry. This means you have to find a partner brand that’s related to your business. This boosts your reach and can spice up your prize offering – it’s a win-win.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #13. Host in a Facebook tab
Facebook’s still the most popular social network around, and with good reason. Because of this, you may want to consider running your social media giveaway within a Facebook tab, making it more accessible to potential entrants who visit your page for other reasons. Pin a post or change your cover photo to direct people to the tab for your contest, which will help direct stray traffic to where you want them to be.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #14. Run Ads
As much as we love the idealism of organic reach, we also recognize it’s not a great way to reach new customers. As a result, we recommend you run ads to your contest on social media to help spread the word about your contest to relevant traffic with the potential to turn into new customers.
Run ads on Facebook or Instagram (they use the same editor) and target precisely to people who will likely be interested in your contest and your brand based on interest or location.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #15. Choose a theme
Though contests are great at any time, I’m of the opinion that they’re much more engaging when they revolve around some central theme. This theme could be a holiday (think Christmas, Valentines, or Easter) or an event (the Grammys, Super Bowl, Oscars, etc.). This makes your contest feel more relevant – someone is more likely to enter a contest if it’s related to something they’re already thinking about.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #16. Send to newsletter
Though you might think this is like preaching to the choir, you know best that your email list isn’t composed solely of customers. Chances are, it’s full of a few active customers, tons of inactive ones, and even more people who are interested in your products but have never actually purchased anything.
Sharing a contest with them is a great way to reignite their interest in your brand. Because you already know they’re interested in your products, they’re likely to convert – and even more likely to turn into sales once you begin marketing to them more directly after the contest is over.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #17. Win a free year
Let’s look at some prize ideas. The first is a free year (or six months, or what have you) of a certain product. I love this prize idea specifically because it’s attention-grabbing – a year of anything is an intriguing prize idea.
Obviously this won’t work well if your business sells big-ticket items, but for those with small production costs, it can be a great way to spread the word about your products.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #18. Getaway
I know what you’re thinking: that’s expensive! And it is, but it’s also incredibly enticing and can help you build a huge list of leads after your contest is over. Even if it’s a nearby getaway (for example, Vancouver to Whistler), a getaway can be a great prize idea if you’re confident that you can turn even cooler leads into sales.
Social Media Giveaway Idea #19. Prize package
A simple way to make your prize a little more exciting is to make it a package. Give away several of your products, or add other related items to one of your products, to create a prize package that’s more engaging than a single prize. Lots of entrants want to determine the value of the prize in contests they enter – adding multiple prizes together can boost the subjective value.
Social Media Giveaway Idea 20. Gift card
Gift cards are one of our favorite prize ideas because they ensure that everyone who enters your contest is directly interested in your brand or products. Though they’re not the most exciting prize, giving away a gift card ensures that each of your entrants is a high quality lead, and that means a better chance of sales down the line.
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