How to Run a Successful Social Media Contest

Before we dive into the specifics of running a social media contest, it’s important to note a few things. We’ll be covering the benefits of social media contests, as well as the rules that each platform has to ensure you are fully prepared to run a successful social media contest!

Should I Run a Social Media Contest?

Deciding whether or not to run a social media contest will depend on the goals you are trying to achieve. Determine its purpose and your goals, and if they are aligned with the purpose of the contest, then keep reading to find out how to run a successful social media contest. Are you hoping to generate new leads, earn more engagements or followers, or increase your reach? Establish your goals and set KPIs accordingly. Below are some common benefits of social media contests:

  • Grow your following
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase your email list
  • Generate leads
  • Increase engagement

Picking the Right Platform

Each social media platform has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, especially when it comes to hosting a social media contest


One of the main benefits of hosting a contest on Facebook is that it’s easy to include clickable links! This is ideal if you’re asking contestants to fill out a form, visit a page, or subscribe to your email list. 

You can also pin the post at the top of your feed for the duration of your contest, that way anyone who visits your page can automatically enter.


Instagram is the platform for you if you’re asking contestants to tag friends in the comments, share a post to their stories, submit an image via hashtag, or follow another account. This typically works well for product giveaways and has the potential to amass a large audience. 

Rules for Social Media Contests

Whichever platform you choose to host your social media contest, make sure you’re following their rules! Below are the basics, but check each platform’s on-site rules for the most up-to-date information.

When hosting a contest on Facebook or Instagram, these are the basic rules you must follow. 

  • Communicate clearly the terms and conditions of the contest.
  • State that it is in no way affiliated with, endorsed by or sponsored by Facebook/Instagram.

Facebook and Instagram have their own sets of rules as well. Overall, these rules they set are not hard to follow, however, read up on them below to stay on the safe side:

Choosing a Winner

When announcing your social media contest, make sure to include how you will choose your winner – at random, for following certain criteria, for answering a question correctly, etc. If the winner will be chosen at random, use a random generator to ensure there is no bias – there are tons of free websites out there that will do the trick! 

When It’s All Over

After your social media contest ends, announce the winner (if you choose to) and thank all of your followers for participating in a post or a story. As an added bonus, you can also include a discount code or coupon for all contest entrants who did not win.

At Serendipit, we’ve run dozens, if not hundreds, of social media contests. Check out the AZPetVet Quarantine Tails social contest we created and managed for our client. We know the ins and outs of everything that needs to be done in order to be successful. If you want help with your social media, especially on running social media contests get in touch with us. Our social media team has so many ideas and we’d love to share a few with you.

Written By: Garren, Social Media Coordinator