Social Media Contest Ideas and Recommendations from Experts

Karyna Mazur
9 min

Contests on social networks have a controversial reputation, and all because of gifts like a broken car and non-existent courses. Yes, and lovers of prizes ready to break for a box of sausages do not improve the situation.

It's time to improve the name of the competitions in social networks, so I'll tell you about the types of contests and what to do to make the system work for the growth of your communication channels.


If the phrase “Should we launch a competition?” is often heard in your open space, you need to figure out why the brand needs it. Otherwise, you'll end up draining the budget and time of the SMM manager.

The contest should be pre-planned in the content plan, have a real goal and fit into the brand's communication strategy.

In Loopo you can easily track the spam of contests and the schedule of all stages of their implementation. And in a content creation planner you can also plan different types of competitions for subscribers in different social media - YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc.


To motivate users to create content about the company with a gift, repost it to your page and leave it to go viral on the network. To achieve the goal, I advise you to think carefully about the mechanics of the competition and the prize.

Talk about news 

The competition will help promote the product online, and interested participants who did not win a prize can buy the product to try it out.

Increase page engagement

“Like, subscribe, comment under the contest post” is a classic. The downside is that engagement can be raised by bots and prize lovers, who will leave the page immediately after the draw.

Build a user database

Participants who tried their hand at the competition but did not win anything can be offered a discount on their next purchase. So the brand gets a loyal and satisfied customer.

Increase sales

While the participant liked the last 5 posts on the page, he managed to read about what a cool Korean cream is in stock, so he bought it to try. Almost forgot about the contest.



Giweaways for 150 sponsors

That giveaway, for which you can fly into the Instagram shadowban, or you can't get into it if you do it right. Giveaway will work when not 150 bloggers gather, but 2-3 brands or influencers and raffle gifts related to them.

Don't create a separate page for the contest, it's a red flag for Instagram. With the Shared Posts or "Partnerships" feature, all partners will be featured in the giveaway.

Pros: a lot of gifts, users participate in the drawing.

Cons: high participation costs, part of the subscriptions “leaves” after the end of the giveaway.

Creative competition

For a photo, video, or story, the participant receives a prize. The mechanics are simple, but with a catch: people come to social networks to relax, not to think about content. But if the wave goes, it will flood everyone 🙂

Pros: users make publications about the brand, the contest becomes viral.

Cons: a small percentage of social media users are ready to produce content, the mechanics should be clear.

Multi-stage draw

The competition is divided into several steps, after passing each stage, the participants are eliminated or vice versa - everyone reaches the final, and the winner is chosen by points.

Pros: engagement in the brand profile is “stretched”. Participants constantly visit the page, checking whether a new stage of the competition has been released.

Cons: you need to constantly control the activation, the participants do not reach “to the end”, complex mechanics.

From online to offline

In such pranks, participants look for hidden treasures, take pictures near a specified location, and then talk about them on social networks.

Pros: Just like creative contests, a cool UGC is created to share.

Cons: contests are tied to the location, and organizing and participating is so difficult that only the Hulk can do it.

Last comment

In the comments in the competitive publication, participants put emoji, the serial number of participation, or any hidden word. When you are just starting to run contests on the page, you can start with this format.

Pros: easy and quick to launch, many participants, the prize can be small.

Cons: the mechanics attract prizes, after choosing the winner, a conflict may arise.

Prize for Repost

Jokes about “sushi for a repost” are no longer popular, and the contest mechanics are still being used. To become a member, you need to subscribe to the page, like or comment on the post and add it to your page.

Pros: the publication from the brand page is distributed across the network.

Cons: for the user, and not prizes, to want to repost the draw to the page, the prize must be valuable, and the brand must be honest.


Find 5 differences in the photo, take the test and publish the result in stories, catch a discount on the product - any game turns into a contest. Depends only on the imagination of the creator.

Pros: the participant does not bother and, even without winning a prize, gets cool emotions.

Cons: adaptation of the mechanics to the site, additional work of the designer on layouts.


Thousands of lovers of prizes and bots, participants outraged by the loss, the search for the winner before 3 am - sounds like an excuse to go to a psychotherapist. And this is just summing up the results of the competition in social networks.

You can and should protect yourself from this:

  • Write official rules and add them to the site. 

Official rules

In a short post, you will not indicate the conditions for participation from the age of 18 by capable persons, the severity of the profile, and the territory of the event. But in the official rules on the site, you can prescribe the restrictions for bots and prizes, the mechanism for selecting the winner. If there is no site, upload the rules to a file and post a link to them in stories.

  • Use the winner selection service. 

This is a randomizer that finds the lucky one according to the given parameters. The service must be selected before the start of the draw and specified in the rules.

  • Fix your budget. 

If you give a trip to choose a winner or a certificate - play it safe. Otherwise, you can get into unexpected expenses and pay for a trip to the North Pole (yes, it's more expensive than the Canary Islands);

  • Don't fix the exact time. 

Situations are different, force majeure too. Specifying only the date of summing up will protect against evil participants who noticed a five-minute delay. If the winner is chosen live, announce the time a few days before the end of the competition, when you have everything ready for broadcast;

  • Prepare your prize ahead of time. 

Buying or making a gift before the draw will ensure that it will look the same as on the contest posting. Then the winner is satisfied, and the SMM manager sleeps peacefully.

A contest in social networks works when it is prepared, understanding why it is needed and what the results will be. And yes, I'm not only talking about pranks now.

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