How To Market A Social Media Contest: Working Example

Social media contests are a great way to connect with consumers in the ever evolving web. Social networks are natural venues for users to share information quickly. Since I am a big fan of giving real world examples whenever I explain a specific tactic, I wanted to highlight a contest I found recently. I’ll walk you through how I would go about promoting it and how I might actually do it differently.

I would like to point out a few things here about this contest – first of all, they are not a client of Ignite Social Media and secondly, I don’t know what they’ve done to promote it so far.

Beneful Most Incredible Small Dog YouTube Video Contest

Before I get into promotion tactics I have to point out something that is extremely important, but that a lot of companies don’t do well.

Put Appropriate Keywords In Your Contest Name

If you implement a contest properly, people will be linking to your site. 9/10 times people will use your contest title as the anchor text, so make sure you take advantage of a well-thought-out contest title before you even start thinking about promotion.

In this example I would have used the following contest title:  Beneful Dog Food YouTube Video Contest. Ranking for “Incredible Small Dog” is probably not going to amount to many sales of the Beneful dog food product line.

Host The Contest On Your Site

For the Small Dog Video Contest  we are dealing with YouTube as the means for entry. As someone who understands the power of search, I am never a fan of hosting linkable assets off of my main site. It is also worth pointing that hosting a custom channel like they have rolled out on Youtube is not cheap.  More often than not contests are very linkable. As I will outline later on it is relatively easy to drum up some press for your contest, and more than likely they will link to the destination of the contest, where it is hosted on your site.

I suggest hosting the contest on your site, and leveraging tags to aggregate YouTube videos.

That way, contestants are still using YouTube, which is widely established as the de facto video hosting source, and people are familiar with the interface.

Find People To Enter The Contest

Now that I have those two main issues out of the way, let’s explore how one might actually promote the contest. This can be the toughest aspect of contest marketing in my opinion, especially because videos have a high barrier of entry. That’s because videos are not easy to make and share when compared to other forms of online content creation.

Using the example above, we can utilize custom search queries inside of Google to help us identify dog owners who have channels on YouTube. This will help us target individuals who we know have created dog videos in the past. Then through some additional social searching we can identify some form of outreach, whether that is via email or other means, to let them know about the contest.

Submit Your Contest To Social Media Contest Sites

There are several well-known and emerging sources in the giveaway and contest market that are worth submitting your contest to. These sites will help you get additional coverage and should help drive entries into your contest, which is very important, after all. Below is a list in no particular order:


Contests are being widely adopted by many big brands currently and are the sort of tactic that even small to mid-sized businesses can implement with success. Since there is an influx of so many contests in the market, however, it can be difficult to cut through the similarities. Approaching contest marketing from the angles outlined above will help ensure success for your campaign. Do you have any additional tips to add? Have you run a successful social media contest?