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How to Set Up a Social Media Competition for Your Followers

Have you noticed a drop in your audience engagement on social media? Or perhaps you are seeing a steady rise in success and want to boost your overall engagement? You might be thinking of holding a social media contest for your audience and followers to boost engagement.

From Facebook to Instagram to TikTok, social media is a great place to hold a contest, as almost anyone can get involved - and who doesn't love getting involved in a free competition with a chance to win prizes? First, there are a few things to consider when holding a contest online - it will take some planning.

Planning The Social Media Contest

Your Budget And Goals

Before diving head-first into hosting a contest, you must consider your personal or business limits. You should set a budget and decide on a prize that comfortably fits that budget.

The contest prize could be a cash prize, voucher, or something related to your business. If you run an art business, the prize could be a free commissioned piece of art - this is probably your best option, as it will spread more awareness of your business than a simple voucher would.

You should outline your goals for this contest. If it is simply to increase followers, the contest should ask participants to follow your account to enter. It could be to promote a particular product or generally grow your platform.

Choosing The Platform

If you have made it far enough with your business to be holding a contest, then you will know all about your target audience. With your goal in mind, you should think about which social media platform you will use for your contest. Some things you should consider include:

Do your audience use this platform?

Is it easy to engage people on this platform?

Is this platform suitable for the contest?

The platform you choose has to be compatible with the type of competition you choose. Once you have come up with your contest idea, you can pick the right platform to host the contest.

Social Media Contest Ideas

As we mentioned earlier, the type of competition you choose should reflect your goals. There are numerous social media contest ideas you can use, and while most of them will have a similar outcome, the specifics of the contest can have a huge impact on the growth of your platform.

If you don't know where to start when coming up with a contest idea, here are some popular social media contest ideas you can consider:

Video contest

Video contests are a great way to get your audience involved. The best platform choices for this would be TikTok or YouTube, a place where videos are already the main form of content. This is an example of a contest that will allow for a range of user-generated content to be produced. However, it may be hard to get a lot of entries if you have a small follower count or the requirements are too tricky or specific.

Photo contest

Similarly to a video contest, photo contests encourage your audiences to engage with your platform by creating unique content. Instagram would be the most suitable platform for a photo contest since it is the most visual-based social media channel. A photo contest may get more interaction than a video contest because it will be easier to participate in. Photo contests are a pretty common contest idea, so you can take inspiration from other businesses that have done this.

Holiday contest

Holiday contests are a good way to host recurring competitions on your different social media channels. At Christmas time, a festive-themed contest with a Christmas-themed prize will encourage participation from a range of people. These recurring contests can be simple, asking people to "like and follow to enter" rather than asking for user-generated content. These contests can be held on whatever platform you choose, as they can be anything you like, and you can change the contest ideas for each holiday.

Essay contest

Essay contests are another type of contest that requires a high amount of audience participation. Like video contests, you may not receive many entries if you have a low follower count. This contest gives your audience a chance to speak their mind, offer opinions or suggestions, or write creatively. The entries can be sent to you directly, and this type of contest may be trickier for people to vote in, as it will require people to do a lot of reading!

Caption contest

Caption contests are a great way to get people involved without putting in too much effort, essentially a short version of an essay contest. You could even merge this with a photo contest and have your audience submit a photo with a caption. A caption contest could be on any platform that allows users to comment, which leaves your options open. It could also attract a wider audience as you don't have to be a specialist to come up with a fun caption. Also, with this type of contest, you can easily allow people to have more than one entry, as it won't be hard to get creative.

Running contests

Similarly to holiday contests, a running contest can happen more than once. For example, you could hold a short monthly competition that gets people to participate each month - this would keep your audience engaged in your social channels. You can also change the content each time to keep things fresh and fun, but try to use different contest ideas from time to time, as your audience might lose interest.

Establish The Rules

After you have brainstormed your social media contest ideas, you are almost ready to hold your social media contest. If you are a business, professional, or someone who doesn't want to get into trouble, then you need to make sure you have rules and that you understand them. You will have your own rules that you can come up with, but you also need to follow the rules set by others.

Depending on the chosen platform, there will be different rules for each social media. You can find these rules on each platform, so it is crucial to familiarise yourself with them before you share your contest. You should also include the terms and conditions of your social media contest for all participants to be aware of them.

Holding The Competition

Hopefully, now you have some great social media contest ideas and an idea of which platform to hold them on. If you have a large, active follower base already, you should be able to receive high levels of participation. If not, there are things you can do to guarantee a successful social media contest outcome.

Getting People To Participate

Hosting a social media contest and having no contest participants will be disheartening. Here are some ways to ensure that enough people take part in your contest or how to get even more engagement.

Make a contest announcement across different social media platforms - this way, a higher number of people will see it, rather than just your Instagram followers

Encourage people to share the post - if you make sharing the post part of the entry requirements, others will see it, possibly increasing the number of contest entries

Make it fun - ask yourself, would you participate in this contest? If not, then add a personal flair to it to make it fun and unique

Monitor Your Engagement

If the primary goal of this social media contest was to increase engagement or increase your social media followers, then you should check that it's working. If you see no improvement, you should adjust the contents of your social media post. You can be creative, as it will depend on your business type, and the social media contest itself.

Once the social media contest is over, you can reflect on the event, figure out what went well and plan future social media contests - especially if it worked out well! Successful social media contests can benefit your business or brand, so spend some time coming up with new social media contest ideas for the future and watch your business boom.

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Frequently asked questions

    • Do social media competitions actually work?

      Social media contests are a great way to increase engagement and draw attention to your page. If you want to improve your general social media engagement, a contest can be a chance to get involved with your audience. You just have to execute it well if you want it to actually work

    • Why are social media competitions important?

      They will make you stand out from your competitors, especially if your contest is a huge success. It can also show that you care about your audience and this is a way to give back to the people that support you.

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