How to Get User-Generated Content Through Contests]

Everyone loves a good contest or giveaway, especially when the stakes are high. Movies such as “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio” (available on Prime Video) bring this concept to life.


Many business owners have discovered that contests are very effective promotion strategies. Read on to learn more about the types of contests most commonly used and how contests are important as promotion strategies.

Step #1: Find Out What Type of Contest to Run

Reusing the same marketing techniques over and over often makes customers lose interest. Promotional contests, however, are an incredible engagement tool that can increase awareness of your brand and help you get attention for a product launch.


If you can give something away to your participants, you’ll likely see more engagement. Here are some examples of promotions involving giveaways:

  • Task-based giveaways – These contests require anyone entering the contest to perform some task, such as writing an essay or sharing a picture
  • Lotteries – Lotteries require a purchase, such as a ticket, to enter
  • Sweepstakes – Sweepstakes involve random draws, such as randomly selecting a follower on one of your social media accounts

Task-based giveaways are one of the best options for promotions because they are an excellent source of user-generated content (UGC). When you use UGC, your ads have a greater chance of audience engagement.


UGC that involves photos or images has a higher chance of increasing engagement. Because of the importance of UGC in increasing audience engagement, a contest that involves sharing pictures is an excellent way to increase participation.

Step #2: Determine Your Rules

Your rules must address how to enter the contest and a deadline. You will also want to consider narrowing down the prize eligibility.


Age and location are some of the most important criteria used for eligibility. For example, you might restrict entries to U.S. residents 21 and older, especially if the prize involves a trip.


You will also want to include disclaimers about no purchase being necessary and purchases not increasing the chances of winning. In addition to listing the criteria for the contest, you’ll also need to make sure participants understand the judging standards.


Will the entries be judged by someone from your company, or will they involve the most engagements, such as comments? Many online influencers prefer engagements as the primary criteria because favoritism is less likely.


Additional information to provide includes:

  • The date and time of the winner announcement
  • Privacy rules protecting the winner
  • Overall odds of winning

Clearly defined rules help ensure that the contest is fair. When you have clear rules, there is less of a chance of problems related to misunderstandings about prize distribution.

Step #3: Choose Your Platforms

Although your website is an excellent platform for running contests, you’ll want to go beyond this medium. Venues that allow participants to see submissions from each other will be the most likely to encourage entries.


Social media provides the perfect opportunity for participants to view others’ entries. The most viable social media platforms for these contests are:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

When you use social media for running contests, you’ll see the number of followers on your account increase. Social media enthusiasts enjoy shareable content and are likely to share your posts with their audiences.


A dedicated landing page will be the best way to promote the competition if you opt to run the contest on your website. You might opt to use a color banner ad on your main site that redirects to the contest landing page.


Another option many business owners enjoy is running a contest on multiple platforms, with a winner for each venue. This option may work best if you have numerous new products you want to promote.


When you opt for a single platform for running your contest, you’ll likely want to use the platform with the most followers. Regardless of how many platforms you use for your competition, you’ll want to promote the giveaway across all your channels.

Step #4: Create a Hashtag for Your Giveaway

Creating a hashtag for your contest is an excellent promotional tool and makes it easier for participants to enter your giveaway. For example, if the contest involves users submitting pictures, a hashtag in the caption is an easy way to enter without complicated forms.


Another advantage of hashtag-based contests is their ability to attract new followers, especially if your hashtag represents a current trend. You might attract contest participants and future customers who would otherwise have been unlikely to find your company.


Although creative hashtags are necessary, they must also be readable and straightforward. If your hashtag is more concise, with every word’s first letter capitalized, your audience is more likely to remember it.

Step #5: Run Contests Using Engagement

Encouraging commenting, liking, and sharing is one of the best ways to create UGC. Ideally, your audience should be interacting with your posts related to the contest this way.


You might also encourage your audience to reshare your contest-related content on social media publicly. However, you should bear in mind that some users are uncomfortable with public social media posts.


Best comment or photo contests are another excellent way to create UGC. You might want to select your winner based on who receives the most likes or shares or one winner from each.


UGC is an effective online sales booster. The more content that references your promotion, the more likely prospective shoppers will remember your site when they need something you provide.


Most prospective customers are on social media daily, regardless of their buying habits. If prospects see your promotion and visit your website, they will likely interact with your brand in the future, irrespective of whether they enter the contest.

Step #6: Run Your Contests Regularly

Regular contests are one of the best ways to take advantage of UGC. Switching out among different platforms can be one of the best ways to see what works effectively.


Changing the prizes that you award regularly is also a good idea. When you offer different rewards, your audience will have more opportunities for creating UGC.


Opportunities for creating UGC on social media can help increase brand loyalty. If a participant who makes UGC opts to follow you on social media, this person will be 53% more likely to be loyal to your brand.


UGC is one of the best ways to help increase engagement with your social media audience. When you use UGC in contests, you’ll increase the chances of participation in your contest and audience engagement overall.