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The Big List of Social Media Contests to Promote Your Business

Social media contests are a proven strategy to increase engagement on your company's social channels.

They’re entertaining! The real challenge is choosing the right contest to motivate your target audience to participate. Is it a gift? Photo contest? Maybe a simple "Resubmit to Win" draw will suffice.

Once you decide that a contest may work for you, you may be wondering what triggers interest on Instagram and is there a better-performing type of competition on Facebook? To answer these questions, we've gathered 25 contest promotion ideas for online businesses. With the right preparation, you can awaken your target audience and attract more interested eyes to your store. But before we dive into these ideas, let's discuss some of the basics of running a successful contest.

  1. Set a goal. You need a clear goal for what you intend to accomplish with your social media contest. Goals can include things like:
    • Get XX new followers on Facebook.
    • Get 15% new Instagram reactions.
    • Gain XXX new email subscribers.
  2. What prize will you offer? Believe it or not, the prize you offer should never be the thing that you sell. Instead, think of a prize that will be of great interest to your target audience - something valuable enough to spend a few minutes of time and maybe give up an email address for. 
  3. Decide how you will choose the award-winner. Make this process as transparent as possible to build audience trust, and remember that contests and giveaways are subject to extra scrutiny online.
  4. Decide how you will spread the word about your contest. Emailing your customer list is great, but presumably, you’re trying to build that list beyond what you already have. So decide how you will get your message in front of qualified participants.

Now, enough with the planning. Let’s get those social media contest ideas flowing!

Share Your Best Tips Contest

Get customers to share their best tips for how to use your products or services. You may be surprised at how many different ideas your customers have! They will have fun sharing with each other, and you’ll learn a lot from them in the process. Have the social media audience vote on entries, or choose a random winner from among all the entries.

Essay Contest

Ask participants to write an essay about why they like your company and/or your products. In these essays, you'll find some great customer stories and quotes that you can use later.


Sweepstakes work well to get new people to sign up for your email list, like/follow/share your social media accounts, or view items in your store and comment on a specific blog post. Oftentimes, the more participants perform such actions, the more entries they can earn. From there, a random winner or the one with the most votes will be chosen at the end of the competition.

Video Contest

Leverage user-generated content by having participants create a short video as an introduction to a contest. The video can show someone using your product, share why they deserve to win your contest or talk about why they love your brand. These stories can be great ways to get references for your brand and also to encourage contest entrants.

Photo Contest

Have participants create a creative or fun caption for a photo you posted, then choose your favorite as the winner. Ideally, the photo is relevant to your store or products to keep the competition relevant. Pro Tip: You can also request subtitles for short videos before the match.

Instagram Contests

Online contest ideas that always work. Create a contest that encourages people to post photos of your product or business on Instagram with a private hashtag and shoot weekly or monthly winners. This helps build brand awareness and shows that your product is loved by satisfied customers.

Ideas for Instagram contests can vary depending on the content you want your participants to post. For example, you can ask your followers to post an Instagram story with a product review, create a post using your company's custom filter or mask, share their story in the comments, or repost a photo of your product. Pro Tip: Remind participants that you can't see their posts if their profile is private.

A scavenger hunt is another great option for Instagram. For example, consider multiple puzzles or quests posted in Stories and/or your feed. For example, "Answer a question about stories" or "Find 15 (or whatever number) differences in two similar pictures. " Contestants must complete each mission to enter and the first follower to complete all missions will be crowned the winner.

Cutest Pet Contest

The Cutest Pet Contest is a great way for contestants to share photos of their furry friends and encourage votes, sharing, and promotion of your store. Plus, it's an easy way to learn about your pet customers!

Recipe Contest

Especially around the holidays, a recipe contest is a great way to get people to share their favorite dishes and cooking tips. If you have a food-related online store, see if you can tie the recipe challenge to your products and encourage participants to do something new with your products.

Here’s a fun idea: Create popular seasonal dishes or recipe contests based on flavors during the holiday season.

Trivia Contests

Test your audience's knowledge with trivia questions about your brand. You can also encourage store visits by asking very specific questions about your brand history, products, or using quotes from product photos.

Once you get started offering social media contests, you’ll find you come up with even more ideas for them! And one thing we know for sure - social media audiences love it when their favorite brands give them fun things to do online. So get out there and try one of these lead-generating brand builders today!