Social media contests are an excellent way to build your brand and create awareness. By boosting fan engagement, you grow your audience organically.

At the same time, you are able to gather insights and data on your audience. With new subscribers, your email list grows. With new insights, you serve them better. For prizes, you might try teaming up with Partners in the industry. This is a huge marketing plus. You are potentially reaching their audience as well as doubling your own!

A successful social media contest requires good planning and perfect execution — especially during the launch. These contests don’t require a huge budget. Here are some examples of easy contests that worked. You can use them with Facebook, Twitter and to promote your brand through Pinterest.

1. The Sweepstakes Contest

When Qwertee tried this contest, their goal was simple, yet sky-high: to reach 100,000 Facebook likes. (Update: They have 355,663 likes as of this writing.) Soy candle manufacturer Diamond Candles also held a sweepstakes. They generated over 30,000 new fans in six weeks. Their fans began creating even more Pages and fan videos, and their brand grew organically. Macy’s promoted their fitness clothing line through a similar Facebook sweepstakes.

How to Run It: Ask entrants to like your page and submit their email for a chance to win. Pick random winners, sweepstakes-style.

2. The Photo/Essay Contest

In this one, fans vote the winner. This is great for encouraging creativity in your followers, and they get to be the judges. Apps like Wishpond enable you create an essay or photo contest. Breakfast waffle company Kellogg’s Eggo did this in a two-part series on Facebook. The Great Eggo Waffle Off! began with a recipe contest in which fans voted for their favorite recipe. Warner Bros. followed the same concept for the Man of Steel Facebook Contest with great results!

How to Run It: Ask your fans to create and upload their photo/essays onto your Page. Then ask them to vote; the entry with the most likes, wins.

3. The Fill in the Blanks Contest

You probably saw Dove’s Real Beauty Should Be Shared contest on your own Facebook feed. It was an amazing success. People had to write why their friend “represents Real Beauty” by filling in their friend’s name and two things that make them beautiful. The winners didn’t receive a product, but became the new faces of Dove’s campaigns.

How to Run It: Ask your audience to get creative and fill in the blanks with the sentence you give. It’s up to you whether you want your fans to choose the winner (most-likes concept), or have your team be the judges.

More Ways to Make Social Network Contests Work

Here are a few more tips for getting the most out of your online marketing:

Create Urgency

Your audience is more likely to take action when they feel like time is running out. Using an app, you could include a countdown clock so people know time is short.

Link Your Social Media Networks

If you are managing a bunch of social media networks at the same time, make sure that the accounts are linked. This way, you don’t have to spend double time promoting your contest.

Eyes on the Prize

Make sure the prize you are offering is not only exciting, but generates long-term interest in your business. This might take time to brainstorm, but it will be worth it when you have loyal fans and followers.

Your Website Landing Page

Create a new landing page for your website to feature your ongoing social media contest. Ensure that people are redirected back to your Facebook Business Page. Make it as easy as you can for your fans to find you!

Pinned Posts

By pinning your contest announcement post, you keep it visible on your Page.

Have fun!