How to Run a Contest to Boost Engagement

Ever wondered how some brands keep their audience engaged? Some of them have mastered the art of running a contest or giveaway!
Imagine transforming casual followers into enthusiastic participants and loyal customers—all through the excitement of winning something valuable. Let’s explore how to create a buzz that draws in new followers and strengthens your existing community.

Step 1. Define Your Objectives

Before launching your contest, just like before launching an app, it’s crucial to define your objectives. What do you hope to achieve? Common goals include:

  • Increasing social media followers
  • Growing your email list
  • Boosting product awareness
  • Driving traffic to your website

Clear objectives will help you tailor your contest to meet specific needs. For example, to grow your email list, ask participants to sign up with their email addresses. Using an email verification tool ensures the quality of your email list, reducing bounce rates and improving deliverability. You can also directly implement lead generation forms to collect emails from your website.

Step 2. Choose the Right Type of Contest

You can run various types of contests, each with its benefits:

  • Photo contests: Encourage users to share photos related to your brand or product, creating a wealth of user-generated content for future marketing campaigns.
  • Caption contests: Followers caption a picture for a chance to win, driving high engagement rates and fostering creativity.
  • Trivia contests: Engage your audience with fun questions, increasing interaction and time spent on your platforms.
  • Sweepstakes: Simple and effective—participants enter their details for a chance to win.

Choose a contest that aligns with your objectives and appeals to your target audience. Add a link to the contest to your digital business card to allow people in your network to participate.

Step 3. Create a Gallery or Highlight Reel

Consider creating a gallery or highlight reel of the best submissions. This could be a dedicated section on your website or a video compilation shared on social media platforms. Such galleries:

  • Celebrate your participants
  • Serve as a testament to your brand’s vibrant community
  • Showcase engagement over time

Step 4. Select Attractive Prizes

Your prize needs to be attractive enough to motivate participation. Consider offering:

  • One of your products
  • A gift card
  • An exclusive experience


The prize should be relevant to your audience and valuable enough to generate interest. For example, if you run a small business for beauty products, offering a bundle of your best-selling products would be more appealing than a generic gift card. The prize should entice and attract your target audience’s desires, driving more entries and engagement.

@stylebysammy

thank you guys so much for 50k!! heres whats included: 🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷 -40oz cream Stanley -glow recipe -$25 whitefox gift card -LV pink keychain -iconic skincare headband -headband and wrist bands for skincare -jewelry case -gold bead bracelets, pearl bracelets -iconic H bracelet -iconic VC clover necklace -chunky gold hoops -gold rings and ear cuffs -gold necklaces (evry jewels!) 🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷🩷 HOW TO ENTER: 1. follow me on tiktok (stylebysammy) and on instagram (sammoffettt) 2. tag 5 friends (each comment is a new entry) 3. for extra entries, repost and tag me 🩷 MUST LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES i cant wait!! thank you guys so much 🩷🩷🩷

♬ maneater - <3

Step 5. Set Clear Rules and Guidelines

Clear rules and guidelines are essential for any contest. Include:

  • Eligibility requirements: Who can enter (age, location, etc.)
  • Entry methods: How participants can enter the contest
  • Duration: Start and end dates
  • Winner selection: How and when winners will be chosen and notified
  • Legal disclaimers: Protect your brand


Transparency in your contest rules builds trust with your audience and ensures a smooth-running contest. For example, Cruise America, a company known for its RV rentals in California clearly mentioned all the rules and guidelines in their “Explore Farther” giveaway, setting clear expectations for entries.

Step 6. Showcase Entries

Showcasing participant entries on your social media channels, website, or newsletter can boost engagement. Highlighting entries:

  • Makes participants feel valued and appreciated
  • Inspires others to participate
  • Keeps the excitement and momentum going

Sharing UGC can also fill your content calendar with authentic, engaging content created by your audience. You can also leverage AI in social media marketing to prompt the contest.

Step 7. Use the Right Tools

Using the right tools can significantly impact the success of your contest:

  • Entry ManagementSalesforce Forms can help you manage entries and data efficiently.
  • Content Creation: Effective content marketing tools help you craft compelling messages and streamline your content creation process.
  • Social Media Management: Tools like Bulk.ly offer scheduling and management features to keep your posts consistent and timely.

Step 8. Engage with Participants

Engagement doesn’t stop once the contest is live. Interact with participants by:

  • Liking, commenting, and sharing their entries
  • Showing that you value their participation
  • Creating a sense of community

Consider utilizing CRM platforms to manage participant information and interactions effectively. Video conferencing platforms can be used for live announcements or engaging with participants in real-time, adding a personal touch to your contest.

Step 9. Monitor and Analyze

Track your contest’s performance using analytics tools. Key metrics to monitor include:

  • Participation rate
  • Engagement (likes, shares, comments, and other interactions)
  • Traffic increase to your website
  • Conversions (new followers, subscribers, or customers)

These metrics help you understand your contest’s success and identify areas for improvement, such as optimizing lower conversion rates. Adjusting your strategies based on this data ensures that future contests are even more successful. Equipping your sales and marketing teams with team calendar software ensures they stay organized and collaborate effectively on upcoming campaigns and events.

Step 10. Promote Your Contest

Promotion is vital to a successful contest. Utilize various channels to spread the word:

  • Social media: Use WhatsApp CRM to share regular updates and encourage participation.
  • Email marketing: Run an email marketing campaign to attract more participants.
  • Blog posts: Write a detailed blog post about your contest and share it across platforms.
  • Influencer partnerships: Extend your reach and attract a broader audience.
  • Competitor analysis: Conduct a Google Ads competitor analysis to refine your promotional tactics.
@toofaced ✨💖 GIVEAWAY! 💖✨ We're giving TWO lucky babes a goodie bag from our Destination Too Faced Event we hosted yesterday! 🌴   Prize Pack includes: Born This Way Mini Eye Shadow Palette in Warm Ember Nudes and Cold Smolder Nudes, all four shades of our NEW Chocolate Soleil Melting Bronzing and Sculpting Sticks, and a Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara!   HOW TO ENTER: ✨ Like & Save This Post ✨ Follow @toofaced  ✨ Tag 2 of your besties (they must be following too!) ✨ For additional entries, comment a 🌴 on our most recent posts! (US & INT) Giveaway ends 4/14/24  at 11:59 PM PST & the winners will be chosen on 4/15 via DM by the official @toofaced account! Terms & Conditions on toofaced.com GOOD LUCK! #toofaced #tfcrueltyfree ♬ original sound - Too Faced

Step 11. Announce the Winners

Woo hoo! Announce the winners transparently using:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • A blog post

Include a thank you email or message to all participants to maintain goodwill. Highlighting the winners’ entries encourages more participation in future contests and builds trust with your audience.

Step 12. Follow-Up with Participants Post-Content

Post-contest engagement is crucial for long-term success. Follow up with participants by:

  • Sending thank you emails
  • Offering a discount or special offer
  • Sharing user-generated content from the contest on your social media platforms

Inviting feedback on the contest for future improvement Handling sensitive information responsibly is essential when dealing with user-generated content. Some tools can help you redact sensitive information before sharing it publicly.

Step 13. Integrate UGC into Future Campaigns

Finally, consider integrating the UGC from your contest into future marketing campaigns. User-generated content can be a powerful testament to your brand’s impact and can be used in:

Integrating UGC into your marketing strategy enhances credibility and fosters a sense of community and engagement among your followers. This adds authenticity to your campaigns and shows your audience that you value their contributions.

Conclusion

Running a contest or giveaway is a powerful strategy to boost engagement with your audience. By defining clear objectives, choosing the right type of contest, offering attractive prizes, setting clear rules, promoting effectively, using the right tools, engaging with participants, monitoring performance, announcing winners, and following up, you can ensure a successful contest that delivers results. Leveraging these strategies will help you create a memorable experience for your audience and foster a loyal community around your brand.

We hope your next contest is a hit!

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