How to Run a Social Media Contest to Grow Your Site (Best Practices + Examples)

Do you want to run a social media contest to grow your website traffic?

Social media platforms already have billions of active users. It is a lot easier to find a very targetted audience that could be your potential customer or subscriber.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily run a social media contest to grow your business with some best practices and examples to get started.

Running a social media contest to grow your website

Why Run a Social Media Contest on Your Website?

There is so much content on the internet and too many businesses competing for the same targeted customers.

If you have recently started a WordPress blog or launched an online business, then social media contests are one of the best ways to reach your target audience.

Alternatively, if you’re an established business, then you can use contests to boost user engagement by celebrating birthdays or other special occasions like we did on WPBeginner’s 11th birthday:

WPBeginner birthday example

Social media platforms have a reach of billions of active users. Facebook / Instagram alone has over 3 billion monthly active users. YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest each have millions of highly engaged active users.

Running a social media contest offers you a quick way to reach out to those users. Depending on what your goals are, you can run a social media contest to do any or all of the following:

  • Get more traffic to your website
  • Get more followers for your social media accounts
  • Boost engagement on your social media profiles
  • Get more subscribers for your email list
  • Build brand recognition for your business

That being said let’s take a look at how you can easily create a social media contest for your WordPress website.

Later in this article, we will also show you how to make your contest successful with real examples.

Creating Social Media Contest in WordPress

For this tutorial, we’ll be using RafflePress. It is the best contest and giveaway plugin for WordPress and helps you promote on all major social media platforms. You can even use one of its ready to use templates to quickly build contests.

Note: There is a free version of RafflePress available, but for this tutorial we’ll be using RafflePress pro account.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the RafflePress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item labeled ‘RafflePress’ to your WordPress admin sidebar. Clicking on it will take you to the plugin’s Settings page.


First, you will need to enter your license key. You can find this information under your account on the RafflePress website.

After entering your license key, you are now ready to create your first social media contest.

Simply visit RafflePress » Add New page to launch the contest builder.

Add new contest

You’ll start by entering a title for your contest in the ‘Giveaway Name’ field. After that, you’ll see a bunch of templates to choose from.

Choose a contest template

There are ready-made templates for different social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you want to focus on one of these platforms, then choosing a template will save you some time.

You can also choose the ‘Classic giveaway’ template and design your own contest actions. This way you can target multiple social media platforms and combine them with your email list or WooCommerce contest actions.

For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll show you the classic giveaway.

Next, the contest builder will ask you to enter your prize details. Simply click on the ‘Pencil’ icon to provide a title and description for your prize.

Add prize details for your social media contest

You can also upload an image to display with your prize description. Adding a prize image allows users to visualize the prize and motivates them to participate.

Add Actions to Enter Your Social Media Contest

Actions are the interactions you want users to perform in order to participate in your social media contest and qualify for the prize.

RafflePress comes with several actions that you can add to your campaign. However, you would want to prioritize actions that help you achieve your social media contest goal.

For instance, if you want to increase Twitter followers then adding ‘Follow us on Twitter’ action will be more beneficial.

You need to switch to the ‘Actions’ tab from the left menu, and you will see the list of actions you can add.

Add actions to your contest

Simply click to add any action to your contest, and you will see it appear below your prize details. You can then edit the action settings from the left column.

Action settings

Each action comes with some generic settings. You can change the action title, select the number of entries users will earn for it, allow daily entries, or make that action mandatory.

You’ll also see settings related to specific actions. For instance, if you want users to follow you on Instagram, then you’ll need to enter your Instagram profile URL.

After entering settings for an action, switch back to the actions tab to add more actions. You can add as many actions as you want. However, don’t forget to prioritize them to match your contest goal.

Add multiple actions to your contest

You can even create your own actions by simply describing the action you want users to take.

Once you are done setting up actions, don’t forget to click on the Save button to store your changes.

Change Contest Appearance and Settings

Next, you need to switch to the design tab. From here you can change fonts and colors. You can also choose a page background in case you want to create a landing page for your social media contest (more on this later).

Design settings

After you are done with design, the next step is to configure contest settings.

Simply switch to the ‘Settings’ tab and you’ll see a list of options. Under the ‘General’ settings you can set basic options for your giveaway including the option to show winners, number of entries, limit signups per IP, and more.

General contest settings

Most importantly, you can choose a page permalink to create an individual landing page showing your contest widget.

This is particularly handy for running a social media contest where the goal is to drive traffic to your social profiles.

RafflePress also allows you to set up redirects, success tracking, enable social logins, email verification, and more.

For more details on each settings, see our guide on how to set up a giveaway in WordPress.

Don’t forget to click on the Save button at the top to save your settings.

Publish and Add Contest on Your Website

RafflePress makes it easy to display your social media contest widget anywhere on your WordPress website.

You can add it to any WordPress post or page by simply editing that page and adding RafflePress block to the content area.

RafflePress block

Simply select the contest you created earlier from the drop-down menu and then save or update your post.

Select giveaway

You can now visit your website to see your social media contest in action.

Contest preview

RafflePress also allows you to display the contest widget anywhere on your site using the shortcode. You can find the shortcode by editing your contest and switching to the ‘Publish’ tab.

Contest shortcode

You can also publish your contest as a stand-alone page. Simply edit your giveaway and go to the publish tab.

Now click on the landing page option and then click below to set up your landing page.

Landing page contest

This will take you back to the settings page where you need to create a URL for your landing page.

Enter a short meaningful slug for the URL and then click on the view button to check it out. This is how it looked on our demo site:

Landing page preview

Note: You can change the design and background by visiting the ‘Design’ tab in the contest builder.

Best Practices to Run Social Media Contest with Examples

Social media contests can easily go viral by following some best practices. The following are a few tips and examples to make your social media campaign more effective.

1. Keep your campaign focused by setting a goal

Make sure that you set clear goals for your contest campaign. This allows you to achieve your goals and maximize the impact of your campaign.

For instance, if you want to get more subscribers to your email newsletter, then making email action mandatory and giving it priority points will help you get more email subscribers.

Focus actions on your campaign goals

Similarly, if you want to run an Instagram contest, then making Instagram actions mandatory will help you achieve that goal.

2. Set enough time to promote your campaign

Plan your campaign well ahead of time. You can add the social media contest to your page and start promoting it across your social channels.

Plan ahead to build anticipation

3. Add prize pictures and graphics

Images are a highly effective way to grab user attention. If you are offering a valuable prize, adding pictures makes users visualize it. This makes your campaign more effective.

But what if your prize is a membership plan or an online course? Well, then you can use graphics by making your own banners and images.

Creating graphics for your contest campaign

We recommend using Canva as the best tool for beginners to make graphics for their WordPress blog or social media campaigns.

4. Promote your contest with on-site retargeting

Make sure that users visiting your website know about your contest and giveaway. The best way to do this is by using OptinMonster.

It allows you to convert website visitors into subscribers and customers. It comes with lightbox popups, countdown timers, floating banners, and other tools that you can use to promote your campaign on your website.

On site retargeting with OptinMonster

5. Follow social media platform rules for contests

Each social media platform has some specific rules about promoting a contest or giveaway to get more likes, retweets, and shares.

For instance, if you are running a Twitter contest, then they want you to discourage duplicate tweets and ask contest participants to adhere to Twitter rules.

Similarly, if you are running a Facebook contest, then you cannot present your contest in a way that looks like an endorsement from Facebook.

Following are some general rules that apply to all social media platforms:

  • Have a clear contest policy and rules mentioning that these social media platforms are not liable for any actions users take.
  • Have clear eligibility criteria and who can participate in your contest.
  • Do not offer illegal prizes or rewards or ask users to perform illegal actions.

We hope this article helped you learn how to run a social media contest to grow your site. You may also want to see our other tips on promoting your business online without spending too much money.

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