Running a social media contest is not only a great way to demonstrate your appreciation for your followers as a way of giving back, but it is also a great marketing tactic to increase engagement, followers, and brand awareness.

What is a social media contest?

A social media contest is when a content creator runs a campaign on social media in which they encourage people to interact and engage with their content in exchange for a prize or offer. The typical way that content creators create social media contests is by encouraging people to follow, like, comment, and share their posts. In return, a random person will be selected (usually via a raffle) to win a relevant prize. However, some brands can get creative by asking the audience to go above and beyond.

Social Media contests are some of the most fun and creative ways to get people talking about your brand and are highly rewarding for both the brand and the audience.

Here’s just two examples…

Dishmatic – Win a Product Bundle

Dishmatic is a UK-based household cleaning brand that has been selling to consumers since 1985. They sell very popular products such as the ‘Dishmatic’ which is a re-fillable washing up tool. Other popular products include ‘Scrubbee’, a ‘Dishmatic Glide Brush’ and ‘Bathmatic Duo Clean’.

This household brand regularly get their audience to engage with them online in exchange for their products.

A recent contest to support their TV advertising campaign asked their audience to ‘Name our new TV characters’.

On their social media accounts you can find similar posts asking followers to: ‘Let us know what your favourite Dishmatic product is’; ‘tag someone who makes you happy’ and ‘Let us know what you’re doing to be kind to someone else today’.

Tesco – Jubilee Platinum Heroes

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in May, Tesco decided to gift 70 customers a Tesco Jubilee Card each, worth £700. To enter this competition, their audience had to comment on their social media platform with the name of a person that they wish to nominate to win the prize. Each day, 7 people would be chosen randomly for 7 days throughout the Jubilee celebrations. They promoted the hashtag #TescoJubileeHeroes on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I was one of the lucky winners of the Tesco Jubilee Cards (pictured below)!

Alessandra Bellini, Tesco chief customer officer told The Star that Tesco wanted to “recognise everyday heroes across the country who are having a positive impact on their local communities. Sometimes, those who deserve it the most don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

This competition was also wholesome and simple to enter. As Tesco is a supermarket giant, the scale of their competition is proportionate to its size. The Jubilee Cards made headlines and the winners were celebrated. So, although it was a very thoughtful and rewarding competition, it was also a great marketing tactic for Tesco – another win-win!

How to successfully (and legally) create social media contests

When you create a social media contest, there are certain rules that you must follow to make sure it is legal, for example, you must always include ‘Terms and Conditions’. For a recommended template and other areas to consider when creating your own social media contests, see The Lighthouse Social’s Legal Resources.


Social media contests are essentially an ecologist’s dream – mutualistic relationships. The content creator/brand gets people talking about their products and likely increases their engagements and follows, whilst the consumer gets the chance to win a prize. And who doesn’t love free things?

Have you ever entered and won a social media competition?

Tinisha Osu is a Marketing Executive with two degrees in Psychology. She is the first-author of a published psychology paper and is beginning her career in marketing through blog-writing, creating social media content and running marketing campaigns.