How to Optimize Engagement in Your Social Media Competition

This content discusses the importance of engagement in social media and marketing, and how to drive traffic to your website using interactive campaigns.

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・7 min read
Best Practices
Campaign & Contest Ideas
ShortStack Tips & Tricks
Social Media

A social media competition is sort of like a party. Some have all the right ingredients to make people want to stick around. Others make you want to bolt.One time I went to a halloween party that was the absolute worst. The invitations failed to mention it was a potluck, so the only food/beverage offerings included cheap beer and day-old cheese bread. The college-aged crowd put minimal effort into their costumes and the backyard setting (some grass and a broken table) was not exactly out of a Home and Gardens magazine. People stuck around for ... a little while.Shortly after that scary evening, I went to a wedding at a children’s museum. (Cool, right?) For starters, food and drinks were in abundance. Plus, there were games, exhibits, dancing, and a floor-to-ceiling structure the guests could climb on. As you can imagine, the time flew by while party-goers danced, ate, played, and climbed the night away.The difference between these two experiences? In a word: engagement.

Coaxing people to participate with your brand through social media is an obvious way to foster engagement.

While one situation left attendees staring at each other, struggling to make small talk, the other offered multiple, unique ways in which guests could participate in the party.These same principles can be applied to your marketing. Coaxing people to participate with your brand through social media is an obvious way to foster engagement. But converting social media followers into customers can be challenging - namely, you still have to drive that social media traffic to your website or online store.The solution is two-fold. First, ditch the social media middleman! Second, build a contest, giveaway, quiz, or interactive campaign and embed it right in your website. Not only will interactive campaigns engage your site’s visitors, it will also drive traffic to your site, give you an exciting reason to reach out to your audience, and even keep the conversation going after the contest or giveaway is over. Make sure you’re using a contest/giveaway builder that offers email features such as the ability to send autoresponders, scheduled or follow-up emails. First, let’s look at a few examples of businesses that are using interactive campaigns on their website, and the different ways in which they’re engaging their audience:

Multi-Day Giveaway

What wine lover doesn’t also share a love for cheese? La Crema’s cheese board giveaway is driving traffic to their website by making the chances of winning really high - 125 people will win a La Crema cheeseboard over the span of 5 days! This type of multi-day giveaway incentivizes repeat traffic to your site, further fostering engagement.

Multi-day giveaway by La Crema

Build your own with ShortStack's Giveaway + Thank you template View and Create Your Own

Voting Contest

Ricos - a food manufacturer based in Texas - is getting their audience pumped about popcorn by running “What Makes Texas Pop" -- a Video Vote Contest they're hosting on their website. The wordplay is fun, but that's not what will get entrants to share their entries. Since Ricos is asking participants to make a video about Texas (versus a video about popcorn), there's a good chance entrants will share their entries because the videos let fans show their Texas pride.

Video Voting contest by Rico's Popcorn

Build your own with ShortStack's Video Contest template View and Create Your Own

Awareness Campaign

Even if you’re not looking to sell products or services, driving engagement on your page can raise awareness around an issue or cause. Check out National Interns Day’s website. It highlights companies that are doing internships right, invites visitors to “Pledge to Celebrate” interns, and offers a few incentives to help them do so.

National Intern Day pledge campaign

Build your own with ShortStack's Vote to Enter template View and Create Your OwnIf these three examples have triggered a little creative inspiration in you, here are a few more engaging campaigns that you can build yourself. Start with a free template at

Personality Quiz

These types of quizzes are irresistible to social media scrollers and will be to your website visitors as well. After all, who isn’t dying to know what Game of Thrones House they’d be from, what Disney Princess they’d be, or how that scary clown from IT would lure you into the sewer?These quiz examples are just for fun, but with a clever topic related to your brand, the personality quiz can be a powerful marketing tool with benefits that include - encouraged social media shares, lead collection, and (perhaps the coolest part of the personality quiz) the “outcome” (i.e., the free beer that lured me into the sewer) will be recorded along with the participant’s form entry. This is valuable data that can be used for further marketing.

Build your own with ShortStack's Personality Quiz template View and Create Your Own

Guess the Score

As I write this, the entire population of Earth is rallying around tv screens and soccer fields, cheering for their country's team in the World Cup. Soon, the cheering will be for the cyclists in the Tour de France. Then, the World Series, and on and on. Although a sport's popularity may differ from place to place, the intensity of a sports fan’s devotion does not. If there’s a big match, game, or race in your area, capitalize on the excitement of it and run a Guess the Score contest on your website.

Build your own with ShortStack's Guess the Score template View and Create Your Own

Hashtag Contest

When participation requires the least amount of effort, we tend to see better results. Enter, the Hashtag Contest. In a Hashtag Contest, entries are collected when posts on Instagram or Twitter bear a specific hashtag. All of the posts are collected in one gallery, and displayed on your website.This type of marketing is as effective as the ever-popular “word of mouth marketing” because it’s nearly the same thing. Instead of hearing about a business from a friend, user-generated content is content collected from real people using or promoting your product. A perfect example is this #builtwithstanley campaign in which Stanley evangelists share photos of gorgeous wood projects, heirloom tools, and heartfelt stories.

Hashtag contest by Stanley tools

Build your own with ShortStack's Hashtag Feed templateView and Create Your OwnThe Hashtag Contest can be configured a few different ways - you can incorporate a voting element into it, or keep it as a simple giveaway. Either way, you’ll want to make sure to include an entry form so you can collect leads to use for further marketing. If the Hashtag Contest is a giveaway, offer an extra chance to win to anyone who completes your form. If it’s a Voting Contest, gate the voting with an entry form, so voters have to give up the contact info in order to be able to vote.

Start with ShortStack's Hashtag Giveaway + Form or Hashtag Vote Contest Templates View and Create Your Own, Hashtag Vote Contest. Here at ShortStack, we’re hashtag contest experts. If you’d like to know more about this powerful marketing medium, check out our Ultimate Guide to Hashtag Contests.

Bonus tips for More Engagement

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, embedding a contest or giveaway on your website gives you an exciting reason to reach out to your audience and also to keep the conversation going. Here are a few ways to do just that.

Add Double Opt-in to Build Your Email List

Make sure all of those email addresses you collect in your contest or giveaway aren’t collected in vain. With a double opt-in, participants will have to opt in to your mailing list twice to ensure their email address was collected and used with their permission. Once you have a list full of quality leads, use them to send things like sales announcements, birthday wishes, and of course, news about future contests!

Offer a Coupon or Discount Code

Now that the participant has visited your site (maybe even more than once) and participated in your contest or giveaway, they’re ripe for conversion! Triggering a coupon or discount code to appear when the entry form is submitted, or in an email autoresponder, can really drive sales.

Create an autoresponder discount email using ShortStack

Incentivize Sharing

Although it’s not “Facebook legal” to require sharing (nor is there a way to track people who share) you can offer extra chances to win a giveaway or extra votes in a contest by using ShortStack’s Refer-a-Friend feature. Refer-a-Friend awards these extra votes or points when someone clicks on a post that was shared from the contest and enters it themselves.

Multi-day giveaway by La Crema

Build your own with ShortStack's Refer-a-Friend Giveaway template View and Create Your Own

Measure Your Engagement

Your contest, quiz or giveaway has ended, what’s next? Measuring the engagement of your social media channels is an essential final step.

Analyzing likes, shares, and comments will help you understand your social media activity as a result of your contest. The reach your campaign has received will help you determine its popularity and ensure it's driving engagement. You can use tools like PromoRepublic to track your results. Click here to learn more about the top 20 analytical tools which will help you measure your social media performance.

Using these tools allows you to assess your social media ROI and know exactly what you are receiving from you social media presence. You can also automate your future campaigns, prepare analytical reports and include visualizations to communicate the results.

In conclusion, fostering engagement is as simple as offering ways to participate or interact with your brand. Social media is an obvious go-to for this, but it’s also important to think outside of your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram box. Why not use the place you’re already working so hard to drive traffic to - your website or online store?Embedding a Contest or Giveaway in your website is easy with ShortStack. See how simple it is in this video.

Create your first contest now

Get Started Today. It’s free and we don’t need your credit card.

About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・7 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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