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How Social Media Contests and Giveaways Can Boost Your Business


You know the expression that to give is better than to receive? It’s true. But this could be a purely selfish thing to say. Why? Because sometimes when you give, you also receive, and what you receive is even better than what you gave.

The next time you are sitting around wondering about what you can do to boost your social media engagement, remember what I just said and use it to your advantage. How? By having a giveaway or contest with a really good prize.

Contests Can Equal Social Media Success

Whether you are a big company or a small one, you can easily garner a lot of recognition just by giving something away. So even if you have the purse strings held tight around the company fortune, you might want to find a way to break into your finances and host some type of prize give away. It very likely could pay itself forward very quickly.

Five Companies That Have Successfully Held A Social Media Contest/Giveaway

To see what I mean, look at these five companies who successfully held a social media contest and giveaway.

1. Reconverse. With very few LinkedIn followers, Reconverse decided it needed to do something to take advantage of LinkedIn’s status update feature. However, no matter the type of update it created, nothing seemed to work.

So it posted the following:

We want to see if people read these company updates. Like this update and after a week, we’ll put all the people that liked it into a hat, draw out one person, and that person will win a few bottles of their choice.”

Within minutes, they had eight likes. Within 30, they had 100 likes. But they weren’t just getting likes, they were getting comments as well. And, according to them, the comments were friendly, not critical.

In less than a day, they had received more than 585 likes, 55 comments, and 42 new followers. And, according to them, they expect that equates to their brand being potentially exposed to nearly 300,000 new users. However, all of this was only the first day.

Did the attention die down as quickly as it started? Well, look at the numbers two weeks after the original post: 2,478 Likes, 186 Comments, and 134 New Followers. That’s not that bad.

Since this status update, Reconverse has only continued to grow and has held more contests through this channel. Plus, all it cost them to do this was a few bottles of the winner’s choice. It was clearly worth it.

2. Qwertee. Qwertee is a T-shirt making company that knows how to use Facebook to host a good contest. In fact, it has a daily contest that has become quite successful for them.

The idea behind Qwertee is that they create a new shirt every day. You can go buy the shirt for a good price on their site, but you can also like or share the design for the chance to win it for free. So while you are thinking, “Sweet! All I have to do to get this cool shirt is like or share it!” they are thinking, “Sweet! All we have to do is give away one shirt a day and our design will be shared and liked and spread all over Facebook!”

See what a smart idea this just became?

Not only do they run daily contests on Facebook, but they also take advantage of Tumblr and people’s desire to not do laundry. It had a “Laundry is for losers” sweepstakes campaign on both of these social media sites where it gave away 30 days’ worth of shirts to a lucky winner.

To enter, all you had to do was follow, share, comment, etc. their account and posts. Wouldn’t you do that for a chance at a month’s worth of free shirts?

The point I am making here is that giving away a T-shirt or two a day – or a month’s supply every now and then – is nothing compared to the branding and exposure you could get by doing it.

3. NatGeo. Just to prove that even the biggest names still take advantage of social media giveaways, take a look at a big annual campaign launched by National Geographic. In it, professional and amateur photographers can compete to have their photo grace the cover of a NatGeo magazine. The pictures can be submitted in any of the three categories NatGeo requested: people, places, and nature.

First prize gets $10,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit National Geographic’s headquarters. So it’s a pretty good prize that makes me wish I had some photography skills. Still, it isn’t all altruistic for the mega company.

Pictures sent into the company do not just exist in a vacuum. People can look at them and share them. They can also vote on their favorites The photographers probably want their friends and family to see that great shot they took and to vote for theirs (though it’s NatGeo panel, not the fans, that ultimately picks the winner) so they are going to more than likely share theirs.

In 2014, this contest had more than 9,200 entrants. Now imagine that is 9,200 people just right there sending out a link to National Geographic. Then think about the friends and family of those 9,200 people looking at the photos and sharing them with their friends and family as well as visiting the NatGeo site.

Talk about a way to get some attention.

4. Eggo. In another example of a major brand making a big wave in the social media contents arena, let’s look at the famous waffle brand, Eggo, created by Kellogg’s. The contest was rather brilliant if you think about it: it was a recipe contest.

Do you have a good Eggo waffle recipe? You could have sent it in to Eggo’s Facebook page. Similar to NatGeo, while Eggo was the ultimate judge for the $10,000 first prize, the company’s Facebook fans were encouraged to vote on their favorites and share it with others.

Here is the thing about voting on the best Eggo waffle recipe, though. In order to truthfully pick a favorite, you need to try the recipe. But, to actually try the Eggo waffle recipe, you need to go buy some Eggos. Similarly, to go out and create Eggo waffle recipes, contestants needed to get some Eggo waffles in order to test out potential winning entries. See where this is going?

While a $10,000 prize is steep, for a company of this size, the amount gained in increased sales and brand exposure will vastly outweigh the dip into the pocketbook.

5. Tires Plus. Tires Plus is a small company in De Queen, Arkansas – a place I have only heard of because I am writing about it right now. When it had a competition on its Facebook page, it didn’t offer a $10,000 prize for the obvious reason that it was a small business located in a town that most people have probably never heard of in a state that most people have probably never visited. Instead, it offered a clock.

The brilliance behind offering a clock was in its direct marketing appeal. You see, the clock was a Michelin Man clock. And who would even want a clock like that? Probably not many people, but those who do are likely going to be the exact clients a company like Tires Plus wants, and for a company like this, that is all that matters.

In order to enter the contest, the tire company asked potential entrants to write a short essay explaining why their dad was the best, and then people could vote on their favorites. The contest, as you might suspect, was run around Father’s Day.

Though the company was small, they could still use social media to get some attention. The only difference between them and National Geographic is the size of the prize and the reach of their market.

Were they successful? Well, as you can see when you visit their site, they must be doing something right. The company was featured in Social Media for Dummies.

What To Learn From These Awesome Companies: Three Quick Tips

What you can learn from all of these companies is that social media competitions can really get you a lot of attention for a minimum amount of work. However, there are certain things you should keep in mind when you hold one:

  1. Don’t think you have to offer up a million dollars to get people to notice you. Let the size of your company and the people you are targeting dictate what you offer.
  2. If you don’t want to offer a money prize, think of something that you know your potential customers will want. Just like the Michelin Man clock was intended for a specific audience, you can come up with a prize uniquely focused on your clientele.
  3. If you create new products regularly or daily in bulk, think about copying companies like Qwertee and give one away a day or a week or a month. The amount you will make in exposure will likely outweigh the cost of one free gift.

When run properly, social media competitions are a great way to boost your social media presence and brand.

About the author


Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.


Click here to post a comment
  • First of all, very thankful to Julia for this contests/giveaways case studies sharing.

    Social Media is the best platform to increase visitors but again there is the question about healthy visitors and social engagement is important for this.

    Social Media Contests/Giveaways are the best ways to increase our social engagement. Methods are dependent on your business.

  • Great tips are discussed in the article to Boost Your Business with Social Media Contests and Giveaways.

  • The main thing is social media is becoming the lifestyle of everyone which is good thing and it cna capture a lot of audience easily.

  • Obviously Social media is playing a big role. I am from India and these days Indian Politics are highly influenced with social media. Its power is much more than this.

  • Social Media itself can increase so much traffic on your site that you won’t need any organic traffic. You can target your target audience via social media tools.
    One thing that I have noticed is that in majorly every viral video, they are using an intro maker to make stuff good and acceptable.

  • social media a new medium to rank the website in search engines as they have started counting social signals as a one of the ranking factor.

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