You’ve been doing the same thing on social media for a while now…and it’s getting a little dry. You want something fresh and exciting for your audience—so you’re considering hosting a social media contest to mix things up.

The question is: Where do you begin?

Today, we’ll walk you through the steps of hosting a social media contest that is both successful and well planned.

Step 1: Set a Goal

Before you can begin thinking about the contest itself, you need to decide what you’re trying to achieve with your contest. Do you want to gain new followers? Start a conversation around your brand? Encourage website traffic?

Your goal is what shapes your contest. Once you’ve decided on the main objective, you can start bouncing around ideas on how you’ll accomplish the goal.

Example: If your goal is to increase followers for your Twitter account, you might make it a stipulation that in order to be entered in the contest, a participant must follow your Twitter account.

Step 2: Define the Parameters

Now it’s time for the specifics. You’ll need to answer a few main questions to ensure your ducks are in a row.

  • When will the contest start and end?
  • How will you choose a winner?
  • What is the prize?
  •  How will the prize be delivered (and by when)?

The last thing you want is to launch a social media contest without thinking through the logistics—so make a clear plan of action. Think of any question that may arise and have a planned response for it.

Step 3: Choose a Platform

Where will you host your social media contest? That question probably depends on your goal. Just keep in mind that there are guidelines for Facebook,Twitter, and Pinterest you’ll want to follow.

A few ideas for social media contests on different platforms:

A retweet contest on Twitter

A share/comment/like contest on Facebook

A Pinterest board creation contest

Instagram your favorite (X)

A good way to keep track of your contest entries is to create a unique hashtag that accompanies any valid entry.

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to launch your next social media contest. Give it a shot and see if it helps gain exposure for your brand.