Social Media Contests: Ideas, Prizes and Customer Engagement

May 14, 2015

Social media contests can drive customer engagement

Social media contests can drive customer engagement

According to social media scheduling tool Buffer, 35 percent of fans like a company’s page on Facebook so they can participate in a contest. Contests drive customer engagement, increase your social media influence and collect valuable feedback from your target market. Even businesses with small budgets can take cues from powerhouse brands on how to run a powerful social media contest. Take a look at what big brands are doing to engage fans and redefine themselves as leaders in their industries.


Dove brands itself as a company committed to their customers’ personal beauty potential. This translates to ads and social campaigns that promote self-esteem and the use of models that look like everyday women. The company launched a “Real Beauty Should Be Shared” Facebook contest, enticing fans to share a photo and list two things that made their friends beautiful in that picture. The winners got to be the next face of Dove. Their savvy, low-cost prize made a big impact and can be duplicated by businesses small and large. Look to see what your business can offer winners, whether it’s a free service or giving them a job as a product ambassador.


SportsCenter asked its millions of Facebook fans to rank their favorite “This is SportsCenter” ads. Jason Sudeikis from Saturday Night Live appeared in numerous promos to help spread awareness for the campaign. Fan votes then determined the order of the top 10 commercials that aired on an ESPN special. While you may not have the same budget to give away thousands of Burger King gift cards like SportsCenter did, you can use unique gift cards and other products to entice involvement.


Waffles aren’t exactly known for being innovative or especially creative, but Eggo managed to infuse new life into the industry by teaming up with International Waffle Day to launch an “Eggo Your Way Contest.” Fans submitted their own waffle-based recipes to win cash prizes of up to $ 10,000 or to be one of the eight winners receiving a year’s supply of Eggos. The contest went viral and resulted in more entries than the brand anticipated. Businesses can replicate the success that Eggo received by offering cash prizes and products, but more importantly they can give their fans a unique way to win.

Kryptoz Media & BitPages

Facebook contests don’t have to be complicated or involve much fan interaction. For example, Kryptoz Media and BitPages teamed up to give away a Bitcoin car. Users were only required to like the company’s Facebook page, sign up at and refer the contest to their friends. They also included an email sign-up form to capture leads. This type of contest is easy for companies looking to break into the world of Facebook promotions while simultaneously generating leads. It also simplifies the process for fans to enter. You may not have a car to give away, but you can offer free products, a seminar or helpful services for your new customer base.

Harlan Coben

Mystery and thriller novelist Harlan Coben used a personality test on Facebook to give away his books as prizes. The test gave the author insight into his fans and what they wanted. Users were also required to sign up for a newsletter and explained why subscribers would find it useful. This type of Facebook campaign can offer insights about what customers want from your products and services and also give you a way to reach out to them in the future.

R+L Carriers

Every December during the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl my social team runs a game long contest, giving away bowl gear like t-shirts, footballs and even gift cards to college libraries. It’s a great way to expose the brand to a new audience and ramp up engagement around the game while gathering user-generated content for next year’s promotions.

Before running a contest be sure to check with your legal department or research online the rules for running a sweepstakes in your region. You’ll need to draft rules of entry and explain the value of the prizes, among other guidelines, and post them where they accessible to anyone entering the contest, preferably on your website.

Have you had success with social media contests? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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