How to Run a Successful Twitter Contest : Social Media Examiner

social media how toDo you want to boost engagement on Twitter?

Have you thought about running a Twitter contest?

Twitter contests are a creative, fun way to attract more followers, engagement and shares on the platform.

In this post you’ll discover how to run a Twitter contest for your business.

create a successful twitter contest

Discover how to create a successful Twitter contest.

Listen to this article:

#1: Identify the Objective

Successful marketing starts with clear goals, and this is true for Twitter contests, too.

Think about what you hope to achieve with your contest. For example, you might want to increase traffic to your website or collect email signups from potential prospects. Or perhaps you’re keen to increase the number of followers or generate more brand mentions on Twitter.

Deciding on the goal of your campaign is key, as it will inform the type of contest you launch.

#2: Choose a Prize

The prize has an important bearing on the overall success of your contest. Choose something that is highly relevant to your brand or related to your company or services in some way. A free iPad is an impressive prize, but it’s unlikely to generate long-term gains or brand engagement unless your company offers iPad-related products or services.


People interested in makeup will be attracted to this contest.

A Twitter contest isn’t an opportunity to offload that box of branded pens or last year’s merchandise though.

Do a brainstorming session with your team and discuss what types of prizes are likely to excite your loyal followers and inspire new ones. Opt for prizes that are useful, exclusive or seasonal to generate more interest.

This is obviously easier for consumer-focused brands, such as those that offer retail, fashion, tech and edible products. However, service-based businesses can package a service or offer tangible prizes like ebooks, branded stationery, free memberships or access to exclusive training materials.


The vouchers offered in this contest appeal to an active target audience.

You could also team up with other brands or companies and offer a prize bundle to make the reward even more substantial or compelling.

#3: Select a Contest Type

When selecting a contest type, it’s important to consider the barrier to entry for the contest and how it will affect the number, quality and relevance of entries you receive.

For example, a simple contest that requires only a retweet will have wider appeal than one that also requires people to upload a photo or answer a question. However, this additional level of effort will help to separate half-hearted followers from those who are really invested in your brand or product.

There are a variety of different Twitter contests that work well. Here are three types to consider for your business.


A sweepstakes contest is perfect if your main objective is to drive followers to a landing page on your website. When you tweet about the contest, share the link to your landing page and include text that drives people to enter the competition on your website.


Encourage users to click your link.

Keep in mind that including a number in your tweet, as Rosetta Stone did in this example, increases retweets by 17%, according to Twitter.

The level of success of this type of contest will be influenced by the number of followers your brand already has on Twitter. Without a request for retweets or replies, this contest is unlikely to increase brand reach or grow your followers.

However, because the contest is hosted on your website, you can promote it on your other social media channels and in your email campaigns, too.

Tool tip: Tools like Wishpond or Woobox make it easy to launch custom sweepstakes Twitter contests and manage entries.

Retweet and Follow

Reward loyal fans with an exclusive contest and encourage new followers with a retweet and follow contest. This is a good choice if you want to boost your reach on Twitter, encourage retweets, attract new followers and increase @mentions of your companys Twitter handle.

retreat and follow

A retweet and follow contest rewards loyal fans and encourages new followers.

To encourage more engagement on Twitter, ask followers to submit a photo or answer a quiz to qualify. For example, AO asked Twitter users to upload a picture of their favorite room for a chance to win tickets to Grand Designs Live.


Generate more engagement by asking users to upload a photo to enter.

Tool tip: A third-party social tool like Rafflecopter makes retweet and follow giveaways easy.

Flock to Unlock

Extend your reach and generate excitement with an offer that only begins after a certain number of retweets. This is a clever way to incentivize followers to share your tweets in return for exclusive deals or prizes. The prize you offer needs to be something special for this type of contest.

Build audience interest by preparing followers for the contest before it begins with a series of teaser tweets.


Use teaser tweets to build interest.

Tool tip: For flock to unlock coupons or exclusive offers, try the free contest platform Binkd.


Encourage your Twitter followers to use a unique, brand-related hashtag to enter a contest. For example, if you own a bar, you could use a Twitter contest to crowdsource the name of a new cocktail and reward the winner with a voucher or a mention in your drinks menu.

Using simple contest-related hashtags like #WIN, #giveaway and #Competition are also a great way to get your Twitter contest in front of more people. Cosmetics brand Prismologie uses #WIN and #Competition in this tweet.


Use contest-related hashtags like #WIN.

Also consider experimenting with promoted tweets to amplify your contest and boost the number of entries.

To increase success rates, run a contest inspired by popular trends, TV shows or recent events. A clever contest by UK kitchenware brand Mason Cash used the popular TV show, The Great British Bake Off, to its advantage. They incorporated the show’s hashtag to reach a wider, already engaged audience.

gbbofinal comp

Incorporate popular hashtags that are relevant to your brand.

Be careful with these types of contests though. Only use events or trends that are highly relevant to your brand or company or you run the risk of alienating potential followers.

Tool tip: Create a separate stream dedicated to your contest in Hootsuite to monitor and collect all of the tweets mentioning the relevant hashtag.

Common Elements of Successful Twitter Contests

Use this checklist to give your contest the best chance of success:

  • Schedule contest teaser tweets in advance to build interest.
  • Include an image or visual to attract attention and increase engagement.
  • Choose a single, clear call to action for best results.
  • Post clear terms and conditions. Follow these guidelines from Twitter if you don’t know where to start.
  • Announce the winners and thank everyone for taking the time to enter when the contest ends.

#4: Measure the Results

Review Twitter analytics and monitor performance each time you run a Twitter contest to spot trends and opportunities for improvement.

twitter analytics

Measure the performance of your contest.

Retweets are essentially free marketing from your brand advocates, so measuring the number of retweets your contest gets is an easy way to demonstrate value or success to your company.

You can also use Google Alerts and a tool like Hootsuite to monitor mentions of your contest on social media and elsewhere.

Over to You

If you’re looking for ways to increase followers, shares and engagement with your brand on Twitter, an exclusive Twitter contest is a great way to do it. Twitter contests are also a nifty way to reward loyal followers with exclusive deals and prizes and inspire brand champions.

What do you think? Are you ready to jump in and create your first Twitter contest? If you’ve already run a Twitter contest, what were the results? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

how to create a successful twitter contest

Tips for creating a successful Twitter contest.

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