5 Things Marketers Need to be Informed About Contests on Social Media

Worldwide brands host every day social media events, are they doing it correctly?

After all, it’s not as simple as selling a lottery ticket! Let’s dive deep into the world of contests in social media to learn the dos and don’ts.


Here’s what social media competition marketers need to know:

1. What kind of competition you should run?
2. Rules and Regulations for any social media site?
3. What should the terms and conditions contain?
4. How to promote your competition?
5. How to measure your competition ‘s success?


1.Run the Right Type of Contest for Your Business

While a contest and a host may sound like the same thing, it’s different, In fact. There are clear rules and standards in any form of promotion. Before beginning your campaign, your business must understand which one you want to go with!
The three types of social media promotions are:



A contest is a promotion where the winner is chosen based on merit. For example, the best drawing, the funniest picture, etc.



A sweepstake is most commonly known as a giveaway. Each entrant has an equal chance to win, and they are selected at random.



A lottery is a promotion in which a purchase is required for entry.


2.Research the Social Media Rules

The biggest mistake you can make when organizing a social media giveaway is not familiarizing yourself with the rules first. The Federal Trade Commission ( FTC) does not only have its own set of rules but also each social network have their own rules.


FTC Social Media Guidelines


If you have a paid partnership with another brand who is providing the item you are giving away, the FTC requires that you disclose that in your post. It’s important for your followers to fully understand the connection you have to the brand so they can better understand what they are applying for. It’s all about transparency!
Following the FTC guidelines for social media, partnerships are even more important than it sounds. If you violate their rules, you could be hit with a hefty fine. While it’s tempting to launch a campaign right away to start seeing the new followers come in, take some time to make sure you’re complying. It doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer take a look at things beforehand, either!


Social Media Contest Rules


Not all social media platforms are the same. For example, Instagram has a completely different set of guidelines than Twitter! Whether you’re hosting your sweepstakes on one specific outlet or you’re promoting it on several different ones, you need to make sure you’re following the rules.


Take a look at these social media platform guides before you get started on your campaign!

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Pinterest

Not following the rules for each platform can result in your posts getting removed, your social media profile getting deactivated, or your company incurring fines. It’s better to be proactive and make sure you’re following all the rules!


3.Set Your Terms & Conditions.

The last thing you want right in the middle of your contest is a set of questions about terms and conditions. Before you set your sweepstakes out into the world, write out the qualifications. This sets the basic rules and can avoid potential difficulties.
The more valuable the giveaway item is, the more important the terms and conditions are to be ironed out. This is particularly true if travel or other potentially dangerous rewards are part of the prize. But don’t forget to arrange these details irrespective of the award!


Some of the things you should consider for your contest terms are:


  • Required age of entry

  • Geographical locations, like country restrictions

  • What day the promotion starts and ends

  • When you’re going to announce the winner

  • How the winner will be contacted

  • Whether the winner will be announced publicly

  • The exact name and quantity of items you are giving away

  • Whether there is a purchase required for entry

Creating contest terms and conditions is one of the most important steps for organizing a social media giveaway. It may seem like a drag, but without them, you could open your business up to lawsuits or unfairness claims. It’s worth the time and effort!


4.Promote Your Social Media Contest

What is the point if you don’t take time to promote the Social Media contest? Your followers must know that something amazing is about to break. You can also share this with your other social accounts, even though people are asked to join a specific social media site. Bonus points if you also share them via e-mail or on your website!

For example, if you’re giving away a Peloton bike on your Instagram account, take the time to write a post on Facebook letting people know. You should add links to your Instagram profile, as well as some of the ground rules like when they need to complete their entry in order to qualify.


5.Measure the Success of the Contest

It ‘s important to be a little thoughtful about this if you take the time to plan a social media contest. You may want to know, for example, how many supporters you have earned through the promotion. It is also necessary, before, during and after your competition, to keep track of your overall commitment to your profile.

Be sure to document the following information before and after you launch your contest:


  • Follower count

  • Page views

  • Page likes

  • Post reach

  • Post engagement

Because they feel generous, brands don’t host giveaways! They do it also because they want their social activity to expand! Since contests take a lot of time, effort and money to prepare, the progress of contests is important to log. If it turns out they don’t have an effect on your success metrics, you don’t want to start investing in more giveaways!


Summary on How to Run a Social Media Giveaway:


  1. Decide on which social platform you want to host your contest.

  2. Research that platform’s rules and regulations.

  3. Determine how you want people to enter.

  4. Write instructions on how people can enter and pair it with a quality photo.

  5. Share details about the promotion on all your social media outlets.

  6. Once the contest is over, share who won on your social media.

  7. Measure the success of the contest by looking at your page’s performance.

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