There is no better way to increase engagement, followers, and brand loyalty than with social contests.
And for business owners and marketers, it can help with sales and the growth of your business.
A social contest is a promotion aimed at your social media audience. These promotions can rapidly grow your email list in a short time and build brand awareness by allowing you to reach a new and bigger audience.
For example, Trind, a Dutch cosmetics company, ran a giveaway for their manicure set. Within two weeks they generated over 900 new leads.
Social contests include giveaways and sweepstakes and usually offer a lot of value to their target audience.
They became common on Facebook a few years ago and have since migrated to most of the larger social media platforms, with Instagram being a popular choice.
If you’re interested in running a social contest for your online business, you’re going to need to know the tools that can help you get your contest up and running.
Here are the best tools to help you run a successful social contest:
If you’re looking for a powerful all-in-one tool for running your social media contests, consider using Shortstack.
You can run everything from Instagram & Twitter hashtag contests, to Facebook giveaways.
Great Lakes hosted a Facebook giveaway using Shortstack and generated over 200,000 entries, which helped them grow their Facebook fans by 200 percent in only three weeks.
Shortstack can also be used with other platforms such as Pinterest.
There are over 90 templates and 30 themes to help you create your giveaway campaign, drag and drop functionality that even the not so tech-savvy can use, and the ability to use custom URLs to suit your branding.
It also comes with detailed analytics, verified voting, and the option to restrict voting, making Shortstack a robust choice for your social contests.
Depending on your goal, you can increase engagement by rewarding your entrants with extra chances to win when they refer a friend. Or, if your goal is to collect leads, you can have your entrants share information such as their email address or what state they live in.
Shortstack also has an action-gate function to help you grow your list by having an entrant do something – like fill out their email address – to receive a discount or entry.
With the ability to promote your campaign across a variety of mediums such as social media, your blog, and email – and across any device – makes Shortstack a flexible and easy way to build your brand and get to know your audience.
Matthew Knell, VP of social media over at About.com, says this about using Shortstack for their giveaways,
“The ability to create custom promotions with calls to action allows us to acquire people at much less expense than buying likes. It also lets us understand more about our audiences because we can ask them custom, simple questions about their interests and other topics, which we can’t ask when buying Facebook ads.
We hosted a tax day sweepstakes this year for our money channel. We gave away gift cards. The sweepstakes doubled that channel’s audience in about a week and a half. “
Shortstack is an all-in-one tool in the sense that it allows you to create landing pages, and offers a boat-load of features to ensure your campaigns deliver results.
Plans are based on your social media goals. For a free trial, you get 5,000 views, 25 entries and up to 25,000 Facebook Likes. Starting at only $29/month, you can have up to 10,000 views, 5,000 entries, and 25,000 Facebook Likes. And if you have a huge social media following, consider using the Business plan at $99/month for 50,000 views, and 100,000 for entries and Facebook Likes.
Vyper is a referral marketing platform that allows you to run several different types of social media contests:
- Viral Contests/Giveaways
- User generated Content
- Milestone Contests
- Leaderboard Contests
With Vyper’s super easy contest builder. You can create a campaign quickly, change the style and choose how you would like your contest to display (landing page, widget or embed).
The entire platform has been designed to get you more traffic, referrals, shares, email leads and customers.
Not only that but it is unique in the way that it engages with contest entrants. You can create a range of rewards (1st place, random winner, milestones etc) and set “bonus actions” to reward people for sharing, liking, following and referring.
And, Vyper doesn’t just handle contests – use it to run pre-launch campaigns, loyalty campaigns, ambassador programs, and more. You can integrate with your online store (e.g. Shopify) to track both leads and revenue generated via the platform. Vyper starts from free with up to 250 leads / month and $250 revenue tracking per month. Paid plans start at $49.99/month and offer the ability to grow your email list (not just social following).
Rafflecopter is considered one of the simplest and easiest ways to get your contest running. Solopreneurs use it for its ease and speediness, and big brands use it for its reputable campaigns. You can launch a giveaway in under three minutes, and it’s easy to integrate into your site. Just copy and paste the code and decide where you want to display the widget.
This is what it looks like on your blog for example:
It’s easy to incentivize your contest with one-click integration with all the popular social media platforms.
You can provide multiple options for contestants to enter your contest and you can also weight these actions. For example, if one of your goals is to grow your Twitter followers, you can offer more weight – 3 entries instead of 1 – to the entrants who follow you on Twitter.
Rafflecopter offers a free trial of their Basic, Grow, or Premium plan, making it easy to test out their service and see if it works for your business.
You can also use Rafflecopter on your Facebook page for contests geared towards your Facebook community.
While the Basic plan has all the functions of the free plan, it allows prize images on your form for only $13/month. If you want one-click email list integration, you’re going to have to opt for the Grow plan at $43/month or Premium for $84/month, which also offers analytics as well as the removal of the Rafflecopter branding.
If you want more than a social contest tool, Wishpond can handle all the marketing needs for your business.
While Wishpond is a powerful marketing automation tool, it also allows you to create landing pages for your social media contests and promotions, helping you acquire more leads and engagement.
According to Diamond Candles, in just six weeks of hosting a contest using Wishpond, they generated 30,000 new leads and over 145,000 Facebook fans.
With over ten different contest options to choose from, Wishpond makes it easy to set up your Instagram hashtag contest or your photo caption contest on Facebook.
Like most of the other social contest tools, Wishpond rewards entrants for referrals, has daily entry and voting, and has customizable forms to help your contest fit your needs.
It’s easy to set up your giveaway within minutes using your own branding visuals and colors, and if you have a WordPress website, you can use their plugin to hold contests on your site.
Once your giveaway is published, Wishpond gives you a real-time report in your merchant dashboard. Here, you can track your campaign metrics and optimize your giveaway’s performance while it’s still running.
After your giveaway is over, you can download your data into Excel. You can see your participants’ profiles such as their age, gender, interests and participant history.
Use this data to create targeted emails for your leads.
Gleam offers a more robust contest and sweepstakes app than what you get with the likes of Rafflecopter.
With Gleam, you’re assured that each contest you run will result in growth of some kind. Whether it’s to grow your email list or social media following, launching a contest with Gleam will help you achieve your goals.
Adding entry methods is simple and quick to do with their drag and drop functionality. Select the type of entries you want – they offer a range of entry methods – and order them how you like.
One unique feature of Gleam is that, unlike many other platforms, there is verification of each action a user takes. Gleam tracks users on whether or not they complete the actions for your giveaway.
This helps you get qualified data and saves you time so that you don’t have to dig through entries that haven’t fulfilled all the requirements.
For the entrant, filling out a Gleam form is much quicker than other forms since some entries only require one click. For example, if one requirement is to tweet the giveaway, you just click once, and it’s done.
With other forms, you’re given a link to copy and paste or you have to wait for a pop-up.
If you want, you can also set some of your entry actions to be repeatable every day. You can reward your participants by allowing them to tweet or share on Facebook daily for more points.
Gleam also allows you to embed a YouTube video to be more interactive by showing your visitors what they will win or how they can enter your giveaway.
Here’s an example of what the giveaway form looks like:
If you’re interested in running the giveaway on your WordPress site, Gleam has a WordPress plugin to help you. This makes it easy to add the form to your site.
To get started with Gleam, you can take advantage of their free trial, which includes a lot of features like unlimited competitions, automatic verified entries, Bit.ly API integration, and Facebook tab installation. If you want email and social data, customized landing pages, and all email integration, opt for the Pro plan at $39/month. And if you require Google Analytics integration, no Gleam branding, customization for entries, colors to match your brand, and the custom tracking API, sign up for the Business plan at $149/month.
Agorapulse is primarily known as a social media management tool, but it doubles as a social media contest platform. With the addition of a CRM, Facebook apps, and an analytics suite to help grow your business.
What’s unique with this tool is their in-depth reporting system. If you’re familiar with Facebook analytics and their management tools, Agorapulse is much more intuitive and geared to focus on your key metrics.
There’s an ROI calculation as well as insights into the best days and times to post, and what type of medium results in the best level of engagement.
Agorapulse has a variety of Facebook apps you can use for your social contest:
- Facebook Quiz App
- Facebook Photo Contest App
- Facebook Sweepstakes App
- Facebook Instant Win App
- Facebook Personality Test App
- Facebook Fan Vote App
- Facebook Coupon App
If you’re interested in running a social contest with Agorapulse, you can try out their Timeline contest for free and choose between sweepstakes, photo contest, or quiz for your Facebook page.
If you want more features and more Facebook apps, you’ll have to try the Medium plan at $79/month when paid annually, which has a 10,000 participant limit. If you want unlimited participants, you’ll need to opt for the Large plan at $159/month or the Enterprise plan at $239/month when paid annually.
Along with Shortstack, Woobox is great if your marketing strategy uses Facebook contests.
But, Woobox is also perfect for other popular social platforms including Vine, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
There are ready-made campaigns to help you get started, such as personality quizzes, poll posts, coupons, sweepstakes and more.
It’s easy to set up your social contest. Woobox has drag and drop functionality to help you customize your campaign and infuse your branding elements, such as your marketing image.
Within the dashboard, you can set the message that’s shared to Twitter or Facebook when visitors enter your contest or giveaway.
When it’s created, here’s what it looks like on your Facebook page:
Similar to Wishpond, when your contest is running, you’ll have access to your analytics to help you fine-tune your promotion for your campaign.
Using Woobox can help your business reach more leads and help you grow your engagement overall.
Lights4fun is a UK-based company that sells Christmas and fairy lights. They decided to hold a photo contest using Woobox to raise awareness of their product and increase engagements with their fans.
After their Woobox photo contest was over, Lights4fun grew their fan base by 40%, increased their Facebook reach to 8,000, and received over 5,200 votes, helping them accomplish their goals.
You can try six different Woobox tabs such as YouTube tab, Pick A Winner, Instagram tab, or HTML Fangate for free with no limits. If you want more, try their Solo plan for $30/month for unlimited participants, 50k fans, and one brand page. If you have more brand pages or have more fans, you can try out the Growth plan at $100/month. And if you have a huge brand with a huge number of fans, consider using the Power plan, with unlimited participants and fans, and up to 25 brand pages for $500/month.
Choosing the best social media contest tool
Hosting a social contest is a great way to bring awareness to your business. Picking a social contest tool to create and run your contest is based on your needs and end goal.
If you’re going to run giveaways, raffles, and other contest types regularly, you’ll need a robust and fully-featured tool. Shortstack is our go-to recommendation.
If you want a complete referral marketing platform that offers giveaways, contests, leaderboards, ambassador programs, loyalty campaigns, and more – check out Vyper.
Rafflecopter is among the simplest and easiest social contest tools to use if you’re a solopreneur or new to doing giveaways. If you’re looking for more entry options to help grow your business, consider using Gleam.
If you’re looking for a tool that also includes email marketing functionality, Wishpond is perfect.
While Wishpond is simple to use if you want full flexibility with your campaigns and if you don’t have a large Facebook audience, Shortstack may be the cheaper choice out of the two.
If Facebook is your main marketing platform for your business, Agorapulse is a great option, especially because it happens to also be one of the best social media management tools on the market as well. Woobox is another great option too.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.