The Season of Giving (and Receiving): Social Media Contests and Giveaways

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In the sea that is the oversaturated marketplace of social media, highly sought after “free stuff” remains afloat. A concept that’s stood the test of time, free stuff continues to garner instant attention, even amongst your cluttered timeline. But however old the phenomenon of getting something-for-nothing may be, the modern consumer is ever evolving. Effective social media contests must evolve along with them. Will your #giveaway sink or swim?

Why You Should Bother With Contests in the First Place

  1. The Golden Rule of Reciprocity

What happens when you do someone a favor?  Can you expect the same in return? Turns out, indebtedness is a real phenomenon.

The rule of reciprocity states that in many situations we feel obligated to pay back what we have received from others; humans tend to return good deeds.

Consider the payoff this instinct to reciprocate can have towards your consumer.  The small cost of ‘giving’ now, can spell dividends in customer loyalty, engagement and future purchases.


  1. Putting the “Social” in Social Media

Optimize your connections through the real and meaningful interaction social media can bring. 

Contests are the ultimate calls-to-action.  Engagement soars through contests and giveaways as consumers make the first move, reaching out and interacting directly with your brand.

See the potential for virality! Social media is an experience- and your consumers will want to share fun and exciting experiences and opportunities with their friends. 

Cast your net! Calling consumers to tag friends or share posts in order to participate in your contest can exponentially widen your company’s reach.


Tips: Run Your Contests like a Pro


  1. Know your audience, and know the trends that matter to them. For example, a platform base of music industry folk would likely respond better to a chance to win concert tickets to a local concert than to a giveaway of houseware products.
  2. Don’t stick to just one platform. Play around and see which platforms garner the most engagement for your following. Visually engaged followers could fair well with an Instagram campaign.  Don’t overlook the social tools available to you (recall Taco Bell’s Snapchat success with the Taco- head filter)
  3. It’s not all about free stuff- Consider the type of contest you wish to run. Video contests, comment giveaways, fan content, philanthropic campaigns- the list goes on.  When picking which type of contest you’ll run, take into account whether your average consumer is a more of a “creator” or a “spectator.”  Factor in the amount of effort and engagement individual consumers are willing to give to participate.


Want to see more? Check out this list: 8 Amazing Examples of Instagram Giveaways


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