Are you having trouble keeping your social media audience engaged? Struggling to attract new followers? Then a sweepstakes or contest may be just what the doctor ordered!

You’ve taken the time to build a presence on social media, and that’s a great achievement. But maybe your social media strategies are lacking that certain “oomph” to gain new followers. That’s where social media promotions come in.
Social Media on Cell Phone

Social media sweepstakes promotions are:

  • Easy to run
  • Viral by nature
  • Less expensive than traditional online promotions (most times)
  • Fast to prepare
  • An incentive for consumers (and other businesses) to engage with your brand
  • Useful for future marketing efforts due to user-generated content

There are three easy types of sweepstakes to run on social media:

  1. Hashtag Sweepstakes
  2. Like and Comment Sweepstakes
  3. Retweet Sweepstakes

Let’s take a deeper look at what you should know about running a social media sweepstakes campaign.

Hashtag Sweepstakes:

A hashtag promotion is when a brand asks consumers to post content on social media in exchange for a sweepstakes entry. The post must include a unique hashtag decided by the brand. By including a unique hashtag, the brand can pull entries from Instagram or Twitter. (Instagram also requires that the entrant @ mention the brand’s Instagram account in the post. And, the brand’s Instagram account must be a Instagram business account connected to a Facebook Business Page.)

Here’s a typical call to action for a Hashtag Sweepstakes:

Enter for a chance to win X prize.

  • Follow us on Instagram.
  • Post a selfie with your favorite summer look.
  • Include the hashtag # ABCSweeptakes and @ABCcompany.

What are the benefits of running a hashtag sweepstakes?

  • Increases followers
  • Gains user-generated content (UGC)
  •  Gives an incentive to consumers to post content about your brand
  • Keeps existing followers engaged

Which social media platforms do hashtag sweepstakes work best on?

Hashtag sweepstakes work best on Twitter and Instagram but not on Facebook.

Facebook’s terms and policies on promotions state: Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).

In other words, you cannot incentivize people to post on their own Facebook timelines in order to receive a sweepstakes entry.

Like and Comment Sweepstakes

A “like and comment” promotion is when a brand posts something on social media and asks consumers to “like and comment” on the brand’s post in exchange for a sweepstakes entry. Because people don’t have to create their own content, “like and comment” promotions are an easy way to have your audience interact and engage with your social content. “Like and comment” sweepstakes work best with Instagram and Facebook.

Here’s a typical call to action for a Like & Comment Sweepstakes on Instagram:

Sweepstakes alert! We’re giving away a shopping spree to five lucky winners. Just like and comment on this post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card.  Mark sure you’re following @ XCOMPANYBRANDNAME.

Here’s a typical Like & Comment Sweepstakes call to action for Facebook

Note: Facebook prohibits giving an incentive to someone to follow or like a company brand page.

Sweepstakes alert! We’re giving away a shopping spree to five lucky winners. Just like and comment on this post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card.

What are the benefits of running a “like and comment” sweepstakes?

  1. Increases followers (especially when using paid media to boost post exposure)
  2. Increases engagement rates
  3. Increases brand exposure

Retweet Sweepstakes

A “retweet” sweepstakes promotion is when a brand tweets and asks a consumer to retweet in exchange for a sweepstakes entry.

Here’s a typical Retweet Sweepstakes call to action on Twitter:

We’re celebrating our partnership with @ BRANDNAME and giving away a new smart watch. RT & follow to enter. #FridaySweepstakes

What are the benefits of a retweet sweepstakes?

  • Engages your followers on Twitter
  • Incentivizes your audience to help your tweet go viral
  • Easy to run
  • Don’t require a lot of lead time

Things to consider with any social media sweepstakes:

When planning your social media promotion, make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Work with a professional sweepstakes administrator. Working with a professional sweepstakes administrator will ensure your sweepstakes are compliant with national laws. Note: It doesn’t matter how big or small your prize is. All prize promotions need to follow promotion laws and regulations.
  • Abide by each social media app’s guidelines and policies. Each social media platform has its own guidelines and policies. Make sure you are up to date on that latest. Here are links to the latest:
  • Know Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Endorsement Guidelines and Regulations. Read and follow the FTC’s regulations regarding providing consumers an incentive to endorse your brand. If you are asking consumers to include your brand/product name or a photo/video of your product in their social post in exchange for something of value (i.e. sweepstakes entry), then you must require that consumers disclose the incentive in their post. This can easily be done by requiring the consumer to also include #sweepstakes or #contest in their social post.
  • Ensure your hashtag is easy to remember. It is important to create a hashtag that isn’t too long or complicated. Since users will have to use the exact hashtag to enter the promotion, a long or overly detailed hashtag is not ideal.
  • Conduct a trademark search. This search is important to do because you want to ensure that your hashtag doesn’t violate another brand’s intellectual property.
  • Require entrants to follow your brand. Besides the obvious benefit of building your followers, this also allows you to notify winners via direct message (with the exception of Facebook which doesn’t allow it).
  • Make appropriate disclaimers. You need to include appropriate legal disclaimers and make sure they are visible.


Now that you know three different types of social media sweepstakes and their benefits, you have some things to think about before launching your campaign:

  • Are you legally compliant (from both a sweepstakes/lottery laws perspective)?
  • Are you following the Federal Trade Commission’s social media regulations?
  • Are you following the social media platform’s guidelines?

Schedule your free sweepstakes (or contest) social media consultation 

US Sweepstakes will work with you to develop a social media sweepstakes that will meet your marketing goals and run smoothly from planning to fulfillment. Click here to contact us today for a free quote!

Here’s some insight on what you’ll walk away with:

  • Recommendations and a plan for how to best execute your idea
  • Awareness about which of our services are right for your idea
  • Help with legal administration, social media entry collection, and prize fulfillment
  • A timeline that will get your promotion launched as quickly as possible