Social Media Contests: Get Your Audience Engaged in Your Brand

Contests are not necessarily about winning a big prize. Their purpose is to engage as many people from your target audience on as many platforms as possible. So it’s important to tailor any campaign to a specific strategy with the goal of engagement in mind. Here are a few contests and campaigns that stirred some major buzz, plus ways to apply the concepts to your own contests and other marketing strategies.

Get Real

Your real customers are your best assets, especially when it comes to brand ambassadors. Whether you’re running a contest or not, it’s always a great idea to collect reviews from customers that you can share on your social media outlets and website. Video testimonials, which make a great impact, can be shared on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

Showing your audience real people using your product or service inspires a level of trust and connection that money just can’t buy. Dove used this concept and took it one step further for their Real Beauty Should Be Shared campaign. Instead of offering cash or prizes to their audience, Dove paired a positive message with opportunity, challenging their audience to feel beautiful and to nominate their friends and family whom they think are beautiful on the outside and inside. Contest winners were chosen to represent Dove and be models and advocates for the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

Focus on the Love

Get to the heart of what your customers love and you won’t need to bribe them with free product or big fancy prizes to create a positive lasting impression on your audience. Tom’s shoes is a great example of a social media campaign that generated a lot of buzz on Instagram. Tom’s launched in 2006 with an ethos that quickly made them a philanthropic favorite among teenagers, moms and celebs.

Their 2015 One Day Without Shoes campaign went viral on Instagram because it was easy to participate in and had a positive message. Tom’s donated almost 300,000 pairs of shoes last May when their hashtag #withoutshoes hit viral status thanks to Instagrammers who posted pictures of themselves — namely their bare feet — to promote conscientious consumerism and, of course, Tom’s shoes. Sometimes a positive communal event that sparks a positive dialogue in what can be a very negative cyberspace is often better than a prize.

Tom’s already had a big fan base that helped their month-long campaign get traction. Try partnering your business with local and national charities that already have an established community that you can help to promote positivity and sharing.

Make It a Game

If the popularity of role-playing games, first-person shooter games and Candy Crush Saga has taught us anything, it’s the power of gaming. Make your contest, content or even your advertisements into a game and watch engagement soar. Engage your audience by entertaining them and even challenging their mind with a contest that’s as simple as featuring a puzzle.


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