How Social Media Contests Will Make your Customers Incredibly Excited

July 30, 2021

As a business owner or marketer, social media contests is something you may have seen around. They come in many different forms, but if your business welcomes visitors and if you're lucky enough to have a Smiirl Counter on display in your venue: we are about to explain how to run contests that will make your customers really excited and give a real boost to your social media!

Please allow us to insist: do not underestimate these events as a way to boost your social media following and connect with your visitors with a really cool conversation starter. Yes they take a bit of time, and involve the direct cost of a free product or service, but the return on investment is always there!

There are 2 types of contests that get really exciting with a Smiirl Counter. Let's get right to it.


Follow to win

With this type of contest you essentially give your visitors a reason to follow you that they can't refuse. Explain that between date X and Y, all new followers will enter the chance to win an awesome prize from you.

Encourage people to pull out their smartphone right in your store so that they can see their like or follow flipping the Counter in real time!

You should first physically advertise the contest in your location with strategically located signs next to your Counter(s). To better spread the word you can also create a post explaining the entry deadline and simple guidelines, and voila!

Below is a great example of how French supermarket chain E.Leclerc offers a weekly contest in their stores. Excuse our French 🇫🇷 the sign says: “Like our Facebook Page to make the Counter flip. Get an entry in our contest to win a gift every week!” Neat, right?

You can also support your follow to win contest with an amplification strategy by asking people to reshare your post.

If your objective is also to create engagement on your page, you can ask participants to answer in the comments section a question about their relation with your service or products, the instructions of your contest would be something like: "To enter the contest: follow us on Instagram, like our post and tell us what your favorite product is!"

Go bigger with a loop giveaway

You can go it alone, but you can also boost your impact by partnering with brands working with similar audiences.

Instead of a single prize and advertising by yourself, you can find businesses with an overlapping client base, put together a much more attractive package of several prizes and drive much bigger results with combined advertising.

Loop giveaways take more time to organize, but can give your business more visibility. They are also an opportunity to connect with fellow business managers!

Here is an example of collaboration between Fairtrade and Rodelle on an Instagram contest:

Follower milestone campaign

When you are about to reach a cool milestone in terms of audience size, you can use that occasion to build momentum and excitment!

The description would then be: "Follow us to enter the contest. The Xth person will win our prize!"

With your Smiirl Counter you always know where you're at, and the closer you'll get the more excited your team will be talk about it!

Hitting 10K soon ⬇️ ? Time to spice things up with a social media contest!

The biggest milestone sweepstakes should be kept for bigger numbers such as 1K / 5K / 20K / 100K, BUT we have many clients at Smiirl doing a reccuring contest with every 100 follower or other round numbers. They can be a great way to maintain excitment around the growth of your social media.

How to manage your contest

Now that you are convinced of the value of running contests with your Counter, here are the 5 steps to a well managed project.

Do not neglect them, especially the part about terms & conditions.

1. Define your timeline

Your contest can be held for a week, or more than a month, but make sure to state that out clearly in your description.

A single week contest takes less coordination and it’s easier to keep the buzz around. But longer contest can potentially generate more leads.

It’s a tradeoff between the amount of time you can dedicate and the impact generated. We recommend you get started with something short and see how it works for your business 🙂

2. Give away something awesome

Perhaps the most important thing to hook your visitors: come up with something they will really want, something unique if you can. You can also be funny or festive. Make them want to share your contest with their friends!

You manage a restaurant? Offer a special menu for 2 with the chef’s latest discoveries.

You run a retail store? Put together an attractive package, perhaps with items related to the season. For example, for their summer contest, our friends at E.Leclerc offered a Sodastream and ice cream making machine as their prize. People loved it 😍 !

3. Define clear terms & conditions

This is the most - ahem - boring part, but needs to be carefully managed for your contest to respect general regulations.

The terms & conditions is a document presenting the rules of your contest. Do make sure that they are easy to find. The simplest way is to have a couple of printouts ready to be handed, you can also post them as the first comment on your post and pin it.

Make it clear that Instagram and/or Facebook are not involved in the contest.

According to Instagram’s promotion guidelines, you must explain that your contest “is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.” Facebook has similar guidelines.

Note that you cannot use friend connections to increase the reach of your contest, like having people share the post for more entries, or tagging people in the comments section as a form of entry. To be clear, you can encourage share, but not make them mandatory.

We did not want to drown you in information, so you will find much further details in the appendix of the post.

4. Draw the winner

You should draw the winner the day after the expiry date, there are 2 ways to got about it depending on the type of contest.

For follow to win contests, you need to pick a random winner among the list of people who started following you during the entry period. Here are the detailed steps you will need to follow on Facebook:

  • Access your detailed list of followers: on your page admin interface click "Settings"
  • Then click "People and Other Pages" ⬇️ *
  • You will see your list of followers starting with the most recent: *

On your computer select the names eligible to the sweepstakes, copy your selection, then paste it into a name random selector tool such as It's a really useful website with tons of tools for social media contests.

In a couple of seconds you will see the name of your winner displayed on screen 👑

For Follower milestone contests the process is slightly different: based on the exact number of fans you have, you count backward until you reach to the very person who is your Xth follower.

5. Announce the winner

The coolest and final step is to create posts on Facebook and/or Instagram to announce the winner! You can also display the first name of your participant on a sign in your location to raise awareness for next time!

These posts generally get a pretty engagement, you might want to use them to advertise an upcoming special or anything else going on.

Here we are! That was a bit of a lengthy post, but at Smiirl we really believe in social media contests combined with your Counter(s) as a powerful way to connect with your visitors. We make sure to let every new business client know about the practice.

Try it out, see how it works for you and please share your experience with us!

And if you have any doubt, any question when setting up your contest please reach out to we will be happy to help!

Thank you very much.


Other information your terms & conditions should feature are the following:

  • Eligibility: define who is eligible for the contest or giveaway, and who is not.
  • Sponsorship: detail your company name and legal address. If you partner with another business make sure to mention it here.
  • Agreement to rules: specify that by entering your contest, participants agree to abide by your Official Rules and decisions.
  • Entry period: define the start date and the end date. If your run a milestone contest, specifically explain under which conditions the contest will be over.
  • How to enter: explain the method to enter the contest. You should detail as much as possible which actions will add extra entries, if any.
  • Prizes: explain what the winner will receive and include the estimated retail value.
  • Selection and notification of the winner: detail how the winner will be selected, as well as how and when she will be noitified.
  • Rights granted by the entrant: explain the rights that the participant grants to you, the Sponsor, upon submission of an entry into the giveaway or contest. This may include the right to use the participant's submission for promotional purpose.
  • Limitation of liability: clarify that your company is not liable should anything go wrong when receiving or using the prize.
  • Disputes: here you state that entrant agrees, as a condition of participating in the promotion, that unresolved disputes will be individually resolved exclusively before a court located in your business’ country or state.
  • Privacy policy: tell your participants how their information is subject to your company privacy policy. For smaller businesses you may tweak to say that your CRM’s privacy policy applies.
  • Social media platform rules: as we mentioned above you need to clearly state that your contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook/Instagram.
  • Affimation of acceptance of and agreement to all of the official rules: finalize your terms & conditions document by explaining that by entering the contest, the entrant has affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the rules stated in the document.

For this important section our main source of information is an awesome article from woobox called "Contest & Giveaway Rules Template to Write Your Own", check it out for futher guidelines!