There are many reasons to run competitions on social media. They are fun, relatively inexpensive to produce, they engage our fan base and are ‘share-worthy’ posts that can expand your fan & follower base.

To get the most out of your Social Media Competitions, we’ve prepared the following Guide with important considerations, top tips and rules for success.

2017 Social Media Competition Guide

These rules apply whether you are running the competition yourself (directly on each network), on a separate page hosted on your website (that you link to from social media), or if you use a separate competition app like Rafflecopter.

Let’s get started…

Step 1: Competition Rules & Regulations

Although it’s certainly not the most exciting part of running a social media competition, ensuring you have the right foundation in place could save you a lot of headaches in the future. Here are some legal and regulatory aspects for you to be aware of…

  • It is vital that any competition you run adheres to the Terms & Conditions of each social network you are publishing it on.
  • Have your own Competition Rules, that you reference and (preferably) link to in your competition announcements. It is especially important you detail how the winners will be selected and any eligibility restrictions. You want to protect yourself from problems – including negative PR – after your competition has launched or your winners have been picked.
  • If you are collecting customer data, that you have the correct data protection & privacy policies in place in your business.
Step 2: Realise that not all goals can be realised within the same campaign

It’s wise to set goals for your competitions. Understanding how different types of competitions support different goals will result in more successful campaigns, and will provide a better user experience for your Fan base. Here are some examples:

  • Setting the goal of ‘more new Fans’ on a competition that requires an email opt-in to enter will result in fewer entries, because it is a higher barrier to entry. If you simply want more Fans, don’t require an email opt-in.
  • However if you do want customer contact details and have the goal of ‘more email sign-ups’ then your prize must be of a high value. A competition with a relatively low prize value is typically not enough of a motivator for people to part with their personal data… people are savvy! So if you want to gather data from entrants, make the prize worth their while.
  • Setting the goal of ‘more shares in the news feed’ may seem simple to set up (and, it is!) but if you have a long list of winner criteria (i.e: Like this post + Share this post + Like our Page + follow us on Instagram + send us a Tweet, etc) then you can actually put some people off. To get the most Shares, keep the rules simple.
  • If you’re running dual-branded competitions with a goal to generate a wider audience exposure, your results will be much better if your partner brand is a) well-known and b) if they promote the competition just as hard as you do.
Step 3: Competition Message: Clear, Simple…Exciting!

It should go without saying that the more enticing a competition is, the more likely people are to enter. Here are some key points to remember:

  • A picture tells a thousand words: have high-quality, descriptive – yet simple – images to promote your competition.
  • Stay on-brand with your images and announcement text: make it personal, e
  • Keep the message short and in line with your goals: try and avoid over-complicating a simple competition.
  • Do your homework: have a look around at other competitions that are running, and try and replicate the elements of the biggest & most successful brands. It pays to use what’s working, and forget about what’s not.
Step 4: Competition Promotion

More attention equals more entries. It’s not enough to post out your competition once and hope it will achieve your goals…it will get lost in the news-feed. Promote your competition regularly across all your platforms, for example:

  • Post the competition multiple times on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Share it with your email list.
  • On your website.
  • In your blog.
  • Depending on the prize value, consider paying to promote the competition on social media to gain more exposure and entries.
  • Use all networks: even if you’re only running a competition on Facebook, absolutely still promote it across your Instagram & Twitter feeds. Remember your goals, and aim to have as many people exposed to the competition as possible.
Step 5: Picking a Winner
  • Be clear on how you will pick your winner from the outset of your competition. Have a plan and stick to it!
  • If you are selecting winners at random, make a note of your reasoning (for example, the 15th comment from the top, etc…) and make sure you are in line with your Competition Rules.
  • If you are selecting winners based on merit, i.e, ‘best answer / photo, etc’ you may be wise to appoint an independent judge, or at the very least have clear judging criteria in your Competition Rules.
  • Check your facts: If you have a competition that requires multiple eligibility actions (Like post + Share + Follow, etc.) then be absolutely sure your winner has done everything required in order to win. You could have a PR nightmare on your hands if it gets discovered your winner hasn’t completed your list of requirements!


So that’s it!

We hope you’ve found this 2017 Social Media Competition Guide Useful.

If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, we’d love to chat with you. Call us on 01305 458149 for a confidential discussion.


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