You’ve seen it time and time again: your competitors filling their social media feeds with contests.

…Are they onto something?

Survey says: Absolutely.

A few statistics from to convince you that running a contest is positively a great idea for your business:

  • Businesses get an average 17,500 new fans through contests
  • Instagram accounts with contests grow their account 70% more quickly than other accounts
  • Instagram contest posts get 3.5 times as many likes and a whopping 64 times more comments than other posts
  • 33% of contest participants are open to receiving more info about a business and 62.13% will share that contest with their friends

Although these statistics are undoubtedly appealing, let’s dive into a few conceptual reasons why your company could benefit from running a social media contest.

First, let’s talk about what a contest actually is.

Unlike sweepstakes or lotteries or giveaways, contests are based on a skill or talent. For example, an Instagram post where a business asks a user to enter their username in the comments for a chance to be randomly selected to win a prize is technically a sweepstakes. A contest, conversely, would require a participant to submit something that requires skill or talent (for example an original song, photo, painting, or monologue). The winner chosen would not be selected randomly but determined by a judge or judges. If you want a rundown on all the technicalities and legalities involved with running a contest, we recommend this article.

Now that you know the definition of a contest, let’s get into 5 AMAZING benefits of running a contest for your business.

#1. You figure out WHO your audience is. Whether you’re just starting your company or pivoting your strategy because of the pandemic, it’s always a good idea to redefine and gauge who your audience is periodically. A contest is an opportunity for your audience to tell you who they are.

The people who are attracted to competing for that prize are your audience. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider setting up a prize that has some affiliation with the products or services your company offers. Furthermore, if you create a contest that is related to a skill or talent in your industry, you’ll get a feel for the demographic of people that are attracted to your industry to begin with (and maybe get a few leads on future business contacts in the process!).

#2. You build awareness for your company. Not only does your company become more aware of your audience, but they become more aware of you! As you can see through the statistics above, a good contest can drive engagement, traffic, followers, and leads. If you encourage participants to share with friends, you have immediate access to an extended network you otherwise would not have access to. Now is your time to shine and let potential customers know what you’re all about. Not all people will stick around after they participate, but even if 33% of customers are interested in hearing what else your business has to offer post-contest, it’ll be a success.

#3. You build your existing community and brand loyalty. The more you give, the more you receive. Running a contest increases brand loyalty by giving your existing community a fun way to engage. It’s a way to show your audience that you, as a company and as a brand, care about having them and keeping them as a customer. Additionally, you have the opportunity to build engagement between members of your community. When they talk and form connections with each other, they feel like they are part of something bigger, an in-group centered around your brand. It solidifies their ties and positive associations with your business.

#4. You can gauge interest in and awareness about new products. Got a brand new line of cat sweaters or a new nose hair trimmer that leaves your nose with a musky pine scent? Not sure how people will like it? Running a contest is a great way to see how excited people are about that new product. Already know from test groups that people are jazzed about your product? Running a contest is still a great way to raise awareness about your brand new product and get the contact information of the people who are interested in what you have to offer. Even if you don’t have a new product coming to the shelves, a contest can help reinvigorate interest in an existing product.

#5. The big one. You have the potential to ultimately increase leads AND sales. This one is simple. When people engage in your contest through likes, shares, comments, or providing their contact information, you automatically up your leads and, consequently, your chance to increase your sales. It’s an easy, quick, effective way to open up a whole new audience of soon-to-be customers.

BONUS REASON: It’s the exact right time for a contest. During this challenging global time, a contest can both lift spirits and raise your clout in the digital realm. Raise the happiness level of your audience AND drive digital success? Win/win.

Still not sure if a contest is the right call for your business?

Right now at US Sweeps we’re offering a 30 minute consultation totally free to see if a contest is the right move for your business. CONTACT US TODAY to schedule your session!