How to Create a Social Media Contest [Step-By-Step Guide]

Are you looking for an effective, quick, inexpensive way to grow your business?

A social media contest or giveaway could be the perfect solution for you. Here’s why a giveaway can help:

  • Grow your social media following. Get more Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followers… automatically!
  • Increase your email list. More email list subscribers means more potential customers for your product
  • Drive more revenue. Get more eyeballs on your products, websites, or services!

And much more…

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Recently, we generated 6,144 emails subscribers with one simple giveaway:

Social media contest results

Often, the hesitation for social media influencers and business owners is simple…

“How do I actually run a social media contest or giveaway?”

We’re here to help.

In this post, you’ll learn 4 steps to run a successful social media contest or giveaway.

Plus, we’ll share social media contest examples, creative social media contests, and more to get you going.

Let’s get started…

4 Steps to a Successful Social Media Contest

1. Set an objective

How will you judge the success of your social media contest? It could be…

  • New social media followers
  • New product sales
  • More email subscribers

There are a ton of reasons you might want to run a giveaway contest. Start by defining the “success” metric so you can stay focused.

If you don’t know what you’re contest objective is, how will you know if it’s been successful?

When it comes to think about the real, tangible value success will bring to your company.

2. Choose a prize that rocks

Psst. Want to know a secret?

…social media contests and giveaways often fail because their prizes suck:

  • They’re too generic (“win an iPad!”)
  • They don’t excite the audience (“get this FREE lame little pin!”)
  • No one cares enough to enter (“here’s this tiny thing you don’t care about!”)

Want your social media contest to smash your targets?

Find a prize (or prizes) that your niche is super excited about.

For example, here are some social media contest statistics that show just how powerful giveaway contests can be…

We were able to get 6,411 entries from a book giveaway that cost about $60!

Imagine if you had 6,411 engaged social followers on your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. That’s worth $60!

Why did this work? Simple:

  1. Our audience is interested in business and marketing
  2. Seth Godin’s books are incredibly well resected in this niche
  3. Entrants know these books (the prize) will help them toward their goals

What does YOUR audience like?

Here are some prize ideas to get you started:

  • Product from your business or niche
  • Consulting call (you can share your tips on something you’re good at)
  • Books that your followers would like

Sometimes, you can even get products for free!

To REALLY make your giveaway successful, partners can help by providing prizes and promoting your giveaway.

If you promise to tag them or mention them in your promotion, sometimes they’ll reciprocate by emailing their list and sharing with their audience across social media.

To get started, come up with a list of 10-15 potential partners and drop them an email about getting involved.

Here’s an example from Julien Marion who used giveaways to grow an email list:

Social media contest giveaway script

Often, the most successful social media contests have prizes that appeal to the lifestyle and passions of your audience.

Once you have your prize (or prizes) in the bag, it’s time to get this show on the road…

3. Set up your contest

“How do I actually set up a social media contest?”

You might think this is the hardest step. But, it’s actually really easy…

There’s a free social media contest platform called KingSumo to help you set up your giveaway in minutes.

Social media contest tool KingSumo

When creating together your giveaway:

  1. Give it a short, snappy title headline
  2. Create some high-quality images/visuals to showcase the prize(s)
  3. Write a solid description to help people understand why they want to win

Here’s a great contest landing page example:

Social media contest tool example

Pro tip: Keep your giveaway contest length short — don’t keep your entrants waiting to know if they’ve won.

This is SUPER important and overlooked by many giveaways.

There’s no magic contest length, but I’d say you want to be aiming for anything between 1-2 weeks to give you time to promote your contest and get enough entries in.

You could even experiment with “flash” giveaways lasting just a day or two.

Anything longer, and people lose interest or forget.

4. Promote your contest

Now you’re ready to go. Your contest is all set up, but how will you get entries?

Here are a few ways to promote your contest:

  1. Offer bonus entries for social shares: This is an awesome way to boost entrants and it’s even baked right into KingSumo, making it super easy to reward people who share your contest with more chances to win.This is also how you grow your social media following! Give bonus entries if people follow you on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter

    Social media contest entries
  2. Message your lists: If you already have an email list, a Slack community, or even a bunch of subscribers on Facebook Messenger, send a message out about your contest. Here’s an example message promoting a contest:

    social media contest prizes
  3. Promote on social media: Your followers on social media are highly likely to be interested in your giveaway, so sharing it to your social channels is a no-brainer.But if you want to reach new audiences, try sharing in Facebook Groups, using new hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. or even finding relevant subreddits to post. Top tip: always make your posts relevant to each audience, just like Sam Jeffries:

    social media contest launch

Pro tip: Check each social network for any guidelines on how you can promote giveaways on their channels. For example, “share to win” contests are no longer allowed by Facebook.

Ready to launch an awesome social media contest?

So there we have it, how to launch a social media contest in just 4 simple steps:

  1. Set an objective
  2. Choose prize(s)
  3. Set up your contest
  4. Promote your contest

And before we leave, here’s one more bonus tip…

BONUS: Ensure everyone’s a winner

Once your social media contest or giveaway is over, announce the winners as soon as possible.

To make even the non-winners happy, the trick is to provide all entrants with something that makes them feel special. This could be:

  • Free download (content upgrade, eBook, or more)
  • Discount code
  • The chance to be entered into the next giveaway for free

For example, in one of our recent giveaways, everyone who entered received a bunch of discount codes just for entering — this way, no one leaves empty handed.

And it drove a TON of sales!

social media contest success

Ready to launch your own social media contest giveaway?

Take the steps outline in this giveaway, and use the free social media contest platform KingSumo to get started!

4 New KingSumo Features in April 2018

We made 4 big improvements to the KingSumo web app over the past 2 weeks. 🤓

Here are the big changes…

#1 – NEW bonus page (coming soon) 🤩

New KingSumo bonus entries

Our new bonus page will make it easier for entrants to take action on your bonus entries — like following your social accounts or clicking to your site.

Plus, an simpler bonus entry page means more people sharing your giveaway.

The new bonus page is coming soon.

#2 – Improved bonus entries section 🚀

Cleaned up bonus entries

We cleaned up and sorted the bonus entries in your admin dashboard.

This makes it easier for you to pick which bonus entries you want to use — so your giveaway can go viral.

#3 – Improvements to reduce spammers 🙅

Spam blocker

#4 – New KingSumo Blog 🖥

New blog

We created a new blog to share our latest KingSumo web app updates with the world (and you’re reading it right now!).

Plus, we’re going to start sharing our favorite KingSumo tips, strategies, and step-by-step guides on this blog to help you run more successful giveaways.

Thanks for using KingSumo. 👑

7 New KingSumo Features in March 2018

We updated the KingSumo web app with 7 new features for you!

#1 – Facebook entry 👍

Facebook entry

Now people can enter your giveaway in one click using Facebook login.

To save you and your entrants time, Facebook entries are auto-confirmed.

#2 – Embed widget you can place on any web page 💻

Embed widget

Embed your giveaway on a blog post, your homepage, or anywhere else on your site.

Click here to see the embed widget on OkDork.

To use the embed code, Just paste the code below on any page of your site…

<div id="kingsumo-embed" data-url="YOUR GIVEAWAY URL"></div>
<script src=""></script>

#3 – Updated bonus entries 🎉

Bonus entries image

We cleaned up the Twitter and Facebook bonus entry options — and made them easier and more effective.

Then, we added a daily entries option. Use daily entries + embed code to get people to return to your site daily.

#4 – Easier confirm for Gmail and Yahoo entrants 🤓

Gmail confirm image

From the entrant dashboard, Gmail and Yahoo entrants can click to go directly to their email inbox and confirm their entry.

And more confirmed entries = more email addresses you know are valid.

#5 – Simplified time and date setup for giveaway admins

Time setup image

Instead of taking forever to manually type in your date and time, you can now choose from a cleaned-up drop-down menu.

#6 – Halfway and final day reminder emails 📩

Halfway email

Automatically send a reminder email to entrants to increase sharing:

  • Halfway through the giveaway
  • And with 24 hours left in the giveaway

When your entrants share your giveaway with their friends and network, you’ll get even more entrants.

And more entrants means more email subscribers for your list.

#7 – Increased image upload size to 3 MB 🖼

Image increase size

We increased the image upload size from 1 MB to 3 MB per image.

Upload higher-resolution images to your giveaway without issue.