9 Examples of Brands Crushing Social Media Contests in 2021

Discover how brands are crushing social media contests in 2021 with examples from TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Get inspired and start your own contest now!

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・6 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas
Social Media

If seeing the word “June” on your calendar elicits shock and disbelief, you and I are in the same boat.With that said, we have to face facts that summer is right around the corner - a busy and profitable time of year for many businesses. As with any seasonal rush, it’s best to have a promotion plan in place to help you realize your profit’s potential.But don’t worry! If you’re about to face the summer without a plan in place, it’s not too late to flip the script. After seeing what some brands have been doing this year, you’ll be inspired to kick off a social media contest of your own.So, sit back and enjoy these 9 examples of brands that are crushing social media contests in 2021.


It wasn’t that long ago that TikTok was mainly a ghost town for major brands, but nothing draws in a crowd quite like a crowd. Amiright? As more and more brands use the video platform to showcase creative contests and challenges, other big brands are seeing the power of TikTok and jumping on the bandwagon.

Goldfish Crackers’ #GoForTheHandful Duet Challenge

TikTok has become a virtual playground for creative contests. Why? The unique tools and features offered by the platform make video creation fast, simple, and fun. An example of this is the “duet” feature, which allows you to create a video alongside an original video. If you’ve done any scrolling through TikTok, you’ve surely seen a dozen or more duets.Goldfish got creative with the duet feature and challenged Goldfish lovers to duet with pro basketball player, Boban Marjanović. The challenge was simple - to hold more goldfish in one hand than Boban’s record of 301. The entries are hashtagged with #GoForTheHandful, making it easy to search for and binge-watch challengers pile Goldfish crackers in their tiny (by comparison) hands.The winner of the challenge not only won Goldfish for a year but earned the illustrious title of Official Goldfish Spokeshand. The real winner was Goldfish Crackers. The draw of their contest’s video submissions earned them a jaw-dropping 11.5 Billion views on TikTok.

DSW Cut Loose Sandal Giveaway

When you’re a national shoe retailer, challenging your fans to a dance-off seems like a brilliant way to step up (sorry!) your marketing. Designer Shoe Warehouse (a.k.a. DSW) did just that. Participants were asked to post a video of their best moves to the tune of Footloose and use the hashtag #DSWCutLoose. 10 winners received a $200 DSW gift card.The results of this contest were right on par with the success big brands are seeing in this new(er) social media platform. With a mere $2,000 invested in prizes, the video submissions earned DSW more than 7.5 Billion views on TikTok.

National Hummus Day #SabraHummusChallenge

Sabra Hummus celebrated National Hummus Day with a video contest, asking participants to tell Sabra their favorite Sabra hummus flavor, without telling Sabra their favorite Sabra hummus flavor. This task may be a little confusing to those new to the platform, but if you're an avid TikTok scroller, this is another trend you’re surely familiar with.The success of this contest was multifaceted. Some of the videos created for this challenge were high enough in quality to be used as actual commercials. So, not only did the collected videos get Sabra 16.3 Million views, the company scored some professional-grade content they can use to continue to promote their brand.

Your turn! Here’s how to take your TikTok contest to the next level

When you’re ready to run a TikTok contest of your own, we have a tip that will lend you some major marketing benefits.It’s fun to binge a series of videos from a TikTok challenge, but how about leveling up your engagement by incorporating voting? By building a landing page, you can display TikTok entries on a landing page and enable a voting mechanism to collect and display votes. As an added bonus, collect the TikToks in an entry form and collect valuable lead info such as name and email address as well.

Built with ShortStack's TikTok templateView and Create Your Own


Despite the rise of TikTok, Instagram is holding its ground in terms of popularity and functionality. Not only does Instagram’s recently-released Reels give TikTok a run for its money, its video-creation capabilities are just one of their popular features. The photo-centric social media platform still makes Instagram a must-have for big brands and smaller businesses alike. Here are some contests that showcase the power of the ‘gram.

Food Network #BlendedBurgerContest

Instagram is synonymous with food photos, so what better medium to showcase the Food Network’s #BlendedBurgerContest entries.The first thing that stands out about this contest was their use of a landing page. Food Network built this landing page so they could incorporate all of the important contest components including the details of the contest, how to enter, offer accessible rules and T & C’s.

The actual contest asked participants to create a blended burger recipe, using at least 25% mushrooms blended with other ingredients. As you can see from the entries, the burgers submitted are nothing short of amazing.The hashtag has just under 1,000 posts, but considering how much work it is to develop a recipe, this number is impressive. Not to mention, Food Network has collected loads of content that can be used for further marketing. They can showcase some of these recipes to inspire and capture the attention of other home cooks.

Smoke the Competition with Traeger Grills and Yeti Photo Contest

A smart way to double your contest’s reach is to team up with a complementary brand. One example of a natural contest partnership is between Traeger Grills and YETI, who teamed up to award seven winners some seriously beefy prize packs. The participants had to post a photo of their BBQ setup and include some @mentions in the post - a pretty small time investment in relation to the high-value prize.Their minimal barrier to entry paid off big for both brands. The contest’s hashtag rounded up nearly 1,300 posts on Instagram. In other words, 1,300 loyal customers proudly showed off their Traeger and YETI products. When it comes to new customer acquisition, there’s nothing more powerful than this type of user-generated content.

Nature’s Eats’ New Product Launch Contest

Nature’s Eats used an Instagram contest to promote their new product launch for Nutchos - a gluten-free tortilla chip made from almonds. In lieu of collecting UGC in the form of photos or videos, Nature’s Eats aimed at building their following and asked participants to tag a friend in a comment on their contest post and then to re-post in a story for extra entries.These types of contests are simple but effective in helping brands to engage followers as well as gain a few new ones. We’re not sure how Nature’s Eats selected a winner, but if your business were to run a contest in which comments were counted as entries, there are tools to help you choose a winner from the comments on social media posts. For example, contest software such as ShortStack offers a comment-import feature, as well as winner selection features to help you choose one or more of the comments at random.

Your turn! How to make your Instagram Contest more accessible

Follow the Food Network’s lead and build a landing page to house the important details of your contest. You can link to this landing page from your Instagram bio. Then, step it up another notch by building a feed to collect your hashtagged entries and display them in a gallery. And, just like the TikTok contests, enable voting to promote further engagement.

Built with ShortStack's Hashtag Contest + Form templateView and Create Your Own


#HangingWithMyPEEPS Peeps Flavored Pepsi Sweepstakes

Pepsi and PEEPS paired up to not only launch a PEEPS flavored Pepsi (say what?!) but to launch the #HangingwithmyPEEPS sweepstakes. This exclusive and eye-brow-raising new flavor can only be experienced by sweepstakes winners, which means, people are going nuts to get their hands on some marshmallow flavored soda.Participants were asked to tweet or post a photo on Instagram of themselves enjoying spring with PEEPS candy. Needless to say, the entries were… sweet.What sets this contest apart from the rest lies in Pepsi’s ability to stir a frenzy among brand loyalists by releasing an unusual and very limited flavor. Three cans of what has affectionately become known as “Peepsi” is selling on eBay for more than $100.

San Francisco Giants’ ReTweet To Win

Unlike the other social media platforms, Twitter allows you to host retweet contests in which participants will retweet a specific post to enter. This is a great way to encourage your content to gain further reach and broaden your following.A great example of a retweet contest is the SF Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski Bobblehead Giveaway in honor of #MustacheMay. The bobblehead is a special edition which, much like the PEEPS Pepsi, makes it highly coveted by fans.The contest earned the SF Giants nearly 3,000 retweets, making the reach of the original post extensive and this contest a huge success, to say the least.

To sum things up

With summer right around the corner, draw inspiration from these brands to build a creative promotion strategy that will level up your profit potential, while helping you to collect leads and followers.To kick your contest up a notch, use a landing page to house important contest details and include other elements such as a voting gallery and entry form. The templates included in this article are great for helping you to get started.

Create your first contest now

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About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・6 min read

Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.

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