Types of Contests on Social Media

Types ofContests on social media is a great way to drive traffic and engagement. They are relatively simple to do since Facebook has relaxed their rules for contests. Contests also have their pitfalls. It’s important to create rules that spell the contest out. That being said I will tell you some contests you can run on social media platforms. NOTE I am not an attorney and when questioned find an attorney or prize official to clarify rules.

Like/Comment to Win – This is a simple contest you can have on Facebook. All people have to do is like and/or comment on a post to be entered. It has a low barrier to entry for you and your fans. Make sure you stay away from “share to win.” These currently violate Facebook’s terms of service. There are apps that can randomly pick a winner. The down side is you have no information to contact the winners. Its up to them to see their name and arrange prize fulfillment. I have run contests where the first, second and third pics never responded. Keep your rules simple and put in a time limit to claim the prize and when a new winner can be picked.

Retweet to win – Twitter has no real rules against contests. You can run this the same as the Like to Win above and pick a random winner. It will get plenty of exposure for your brand. Just like above too you have no real way to contact the winners other than a public Tweet. This is better than Facebook because they should see it in their notifications. It has the same limitations as the like to win.

The two different contest can be applied to Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. You can modify them to fit the regulations to each of the sites regulations. Also, companies have created free tools to randomly pick a winner. This is handy if you have a lot of people who like your post.

The two mentioned above are great to get some quick exposure, but what if you want to have follow up with your contest winners?

Third Party App – Have people enter your contest via a third party app. You can control what information you receive from them. It could be name, phone, address and more. The app will let you capture information from contestants. This is the way you had to do them on Facebook prior to their relaxing their rules on contests. Sites such as WooBox will walk you through setting up numerous types of contests.

Back to the rules. If you can hire a lawyer or company such as PrizeLogic or ePrize to write them for you, that is preferential. It will save you in the long run for them to write them. They have practice in contests and can write rules that protect you from  issues you may not know exists.

If you do a contest keep it simple and have fun!


Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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