What to Consider Before Hosting

a Social Media Giveaway or Contest

Katie Wight | July 27, 2023

“Tag a friend below and be entered to win.”
“For an additional entry, share this post to your Stories and tag us.”
“Fill out the form in our profile to enter for a chance to win.”

We’ve all seen promotions for giveaways or contests on social. Maybe you’ve participated or even won something. But when it comes to your brand’s social strategy, are social media giveaways or contests right for you? 

Why your brand should consider giveaways/contests

When a giveaway or contest is a no-go for your brand

One thing about social media contests and giveaways? They aren’t something you can just “slap up” and start running. They take a lot of planning, attention, and often partnerships or tech to support.

Now’s not the time to run a social media giveaway or contest if:

You don’t have the resources

The timing is off

Timing is everything when it comes to social media contests. If you’re running a massive promotion on a contest or giveaway when there’s a major news cycle happening, for example, you’re probably not going to see traction. It could even hurt your brand’s perception.

Plus, if you try to force a contest when your audience is focused on other things, some followers (and potential followers) may see your campaign as a cheap way to buy engagement or followers, rather than a way to provide value and have fun.

You don’t have a larger strategy (or the giveaway doesn’t align with your overall strategy)

If a brand doesn't have a clear goal for the contest or isn't sure how it aligns with their overall marketing strategy, don’t do it. A contest without a clear objective — or clear alignment to an existing, overarching strategy — will just be a waste of resources.

Another thing? Social media giveaways and contests aren’t just a “quick grab” for new followers and higher metrics. While a giveaway might spike engagement, the high might not last once the contest is over, especially if people only followed or interacted with your account to win the prize.

You don’t understand the legal requirements

You don’t even know what your audience would want

Do you know your audience's preferences as far as content goes? Are they video consumers? Static post people? Stories? You need to know how they consume content before you start promoting a contest. If they are more engaged by video, you don’t want to promote a contest through graphics alone.

The other thing: If you don’t have a prize that’ll have your audience foaming at the mouth, you don’t need to host a giveaway. If you haven’t monitored your offers or products for “best sellers” or you don’t have a new offer with a lot of hype around it, it might be best to hold off.

Partnering with other brands or influencers to make a giveaway “more enticing”? It could work — but only if the prize is relevant to your brand. You don’t want to give away skincare products if you’re a financial services firm.

You get the idea.

Ready to run a giveaway or contest? Here’s what to do

So you’ve decided that a social media giveaway or contest is the right next step for your brand. Now what?

First things first: Define your goals

“Increase engagement” isn’t a goal. At least, not the only goal.

Whether this giveaway or contest is a supplement to a launch strategy, a brand awareness campaign, etc. make sure your goal is clear and measurable.

Choose a contest format

Choose your prize(s)

Review the rules

Again, we already mentioned this above, but it’s worth repeating: Follow. The. Rules.

Make sure you are familiar with Meta or TikTok rules prior to publishing your first contest or giveaway promotion. You can be penalized, and even have your account suspended if you break their rules.

Depending on the value of your giveaway and how you’re promoting it, you might also want to look into contractual CYA clauses. You may need to be hyper-specific about the prize, who can enter, how the winner is chosen, etc.

If you’re entering into a giveaway with other brands, you may also want to have a contract between all parties to ensure that everyone delivers their product/inclusions, and that there are clear guidelines for how submissions are handled, shared, and so on.

Promotion time

Measuring the results

Before the contest, get your strategy right

Inside, F* the Algorithm, you’ll leave with a better understanding of how your social media plan can adapt to ever-changing algos and new ideas — without losing sight of the big picture.

Ready to learn the last content and social media framework your brand will ever need?