Engagement on social media is the number one measure of success for marketers. This is fundamentally why those that chase follower numbers fall short of getting a good return on their investment. Social media is a powerful marketing tool if you take advantage of its potential.

Getting the ball rolling on audience engagement can be tough for startups. That’s why you see so many different social media contest ideas. Fun contest ideas can even go viral, it’s just a matter of timing and execution.

If you’re looking for contest ideas, then look no further. We gathered the 9 best ways you can drive up engagement numbers and get a high ROI.

1. Follower Giveaways

Everyone loves to win free stuff, especially when the playing fields are even and there are no real barriers for entry. Announce a giveaway for those who follow, like, retweet, or share your post. This is one of the best ways to organically grow your followers and drum up excitement from your targeted audience.

2. Memes and Graphics Contests

Running a contest that produces memes or cool graphics for your brand is a great ROI. You generate interest, you receive “commissioned” work for you to use, and you create a trending opportunity. Snickers ran a social media contest that raised the bar on meme generating.

Graphics and memes are perfect social media contest ideas to run on a regular basis if your business targets millennials.

3. Fan Photo Contest

The classic fan photo contest is still a great contest idea. No matter how cliche it may seem, it’s a great way to gauge your follower loyalty. It doesn’t take a lot of effort for followers to submit a selfie, take a pic of your product, or a creative way of expressing their love.

This is a good yearly event for Facebook contest ideas to play with. Mix it up and generate an even larger participation rate by piggy-backing on local sports teams.

4. Voting on Submissions

Social media contest ideas work best when there’s maximum follower engagement. What better way to do that and be 100% transparent with the process than letting them vote? This is great for building trust and social media signals at the same time.

5. Survey Entries

If you want to hold a simple contest that just involves answering a few questions to enter, surveys are very valuable. Most people don’t mind taking a few minutes to answer feedback forms if it means they could win something of value. In this survey, you can capture a lot of useful info.

Include an email address for submissions and you can use surveys to grow a huge subscriber list for future promotions and up-selling opportunities!

6. Video Submissions

Approach this contest idea like you would a Snapchat or short Instagram bit. Have your fans submit videos that creatively express your brand or products. You can even combine it with a trending topic, buzzword, or dance, for example.

Make it fun and you can expect high engagement numbers on a consistent basis for this contest idea. It’s also useful to include your own example submission video to get the ball rolling. Research how to improve your YouTube production techniques, first, though.

7. Localized Contests

We’ve hinted at combining contest ideas with local sports in our list already. Now, take that idea and produce a contest centered completely around community events or locations. Things like scavenger hunts, festivals, and local business premiers can be great launchpads for big social media contest ideas.

You can either make your prizes available only in-person or online, depending on your follower count.

8. Create-a-Product Contest

Use this contest opportunity to crowdsource ideas for your company, while simultaneously growing your social media interest. If you make the prize tempting enough, you’ll likely get a wide range of engineering students, artists, and other creators participating.

You can also fine-tune products you already have in the pipeline. Just be sure to protect your investments with patents, of course.

9. Caption Contests

Another tried-and-true contest idea that is often used interchangeably with meme contests. Captions are a bit more accessible, though. Simply post a picture related to your brand, offer some free tickets to an upcoming concert, then sit back and watch the entries fly in.

This a great time to look into sponsorship advertising and co-hosting for lucrative opportunities. Giving away your own products is fine, but your social media reach will go even further when you’re able to advertise on big events.

Executing Social Media Contests

Don’t just throw up your posts on Facebook or Twitter and call it a day. A social media contest without a plan in place can flop really hard and hurt your image. With a little preparation, your contests will have unlimited potential.

Make Sure It’s Mobile-friendly

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to enter a contest that was designed to be navigated on a computer. Oversized pages, text that cuts off, and having to scroll after every action is enough to make people abandon altogether. Make your contest entry easy, fast, and intuitive.

Manage it Separately

Whatever you do, don’t forward contest entries, inquiries, and support to your main business email. Create a separate one that can be viewed at a glance or you’ll waste a lot of time digging through your emails. You never know how many questions or comments you’ll get from your contest ideas, so plan accordingly.

Put Rules in Writing (ToS)

Don’t assume that your “simple” contest ideas won’t need official rules because it is so straight-forward.

Things like minimum age requirements, entry deadlines, when the winner is announced, banned items, or instances of “cheating” should all be accounted for in a Terms of Services section.

Help with Social Media Contest Ideas

Running multiple social media accounts and managing contests takes a lot of time and effort. Low-effort attempts get ignored, even when there is a free product offered. If you’re struggling with social media contest ideas, you might need to hire someone who can do it for you.

Investment in a social media management service is not just for short-term gains. Your social media accounts continue to produce ROI for you well after your initial investment. It’s never too late to build that loyal customer base.

Digital Marketer

Will Peters Digital Marketer

A digital marketing innovator with a passion for building the most effective sales & marketing campaigns.