We’re all looking for effective ways to increase social engagement and brand loyalty. These things go hand-in-hand with increasing sales and growing your business.
But how can you achieve better leads, more sales and a loyal following without alienating your customers with over-the-top sales tactics?
One way is to put the ‘gage’ in engagement, through the use of contests and giveaways.
Noun: a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith.
Running contests is one of the best ways to achieve all of the above.
This type of promotion can grow your email list rapidly and build brand awareness on a much larger scale than the usual tactics for social media.
That being said, to run truly effective social contests, you need to know the best tools for the job. Here are 8 of the best tools, handpicked to help you make your contests as successful as possible.
The best social media contest tools
ShortStack is billed as the most powerful contest platform for Facebook. Yet, you’ll find functionality for Instagram too.
It allows you to create forms, design landing pages and run contests which can be inserted on websites or Facebook pages.
Hosting contests on Facebook is done via an app or posted directly to your timeline.
Apps can take the form of:
- Photo contests
- Voting contests
Which include action-gating and entry restriction features. Include this with the share widget for increasing engagement via shares on other social platforms and your contest can reach a wider audience.
Instagram contests are simple with the use of customised forms. Utilising branded hashtags ensures people don’t have to leave Instagram to enter. You can even moderate and curate entry galleries for a full visual experience.
With the explosion of YouTube Influencers, you’ll find ShortStack has some great features for running giveaways, discounts and voting contests.
- All-in-one campaign dashboard
- Follow-up and scheduled email
- Powerful landing page builder
- Easily collect user-generated content
- Embeddable contests
- Campaign popups
- Hashtag promotions
- Built-in Analytics
You’ll find a broad range of contest templates in ShortStack that are well designed and easy to use. Especially with drag and drop functionality. You’ll also find ShortStack doubles as a landing page builder for conversion-focused lead capture pages.
For coders, make your mark with CSS options and marketers will enjoy the detailed analytics for on-point campaign reporting.
Needless to say, everything offered with Shortstack is mobile responsive to look great on any device.
- Free – Limited features
- $29 / month – Starter
- $99 / month – Business
- $199 / month – Agency
- $499 / month – Brand
Heyo is a great social contest platform that is intuitive and easy to use. It allows you to run:
- Photo contests
- Video contests
And create beautiful landing pages for them.
As a fully responsive solution, Heyo runs smoothly on all devices, meaning you won’t miss out on any of those important mobile leads.
- Flat design templates
- Fast setup and quick publication
- Visual editor
- Multi-format contests
- Hashtag promotions
- Customised email templates
- GEO IP settings
- 3rd party email integration
Heyo’s publishing options are mainly Facebook, mobile and website embed. For social integration, you can expect easy connection to all the main platforms.
With the recent update to Heyo 2.0, marketers can now access campaign-specific analytics. What’s more, they’ve introduced 32 new mobile responsive templates.
To give you an example of how easy and effective Heyo can be for small business campaigns, take a look at Scott Voelker’s experience. He wanted to build a new email list for his tutorials.
With Heyo’s help, he managed to easily and quickly set up a contest resulting in 1,402 impressions and 406 emails. For a conversion rate of 30% that’s pretty damn good.
- $25 / month – Basic
- $84 / month – Standard
- $199 / month – Premium
VYPER aims to help you grow your business with Viral Contests, Rewards Programs, Sweepstakes and Giveaways. They use two campaign types that leverage the power of viral marketing.
- Viral Contests – Giveaways that generate more emails and social engagement through social referrals.
- Reward Programs – Loyalty/reward programs that provide points for purchases in-store, as well as referrals.
Both campaign types use professionally designed landing pages that require zero coding skills. Although advanced users can, of course, create their own.
- Viral content creation
- Reward program creation
- Contest landing pages
- Optionally leaderboard inclusion
- Bonus entry options
- Refer-a-friend style entries
- Email follow-ups
- Milestone rewards
- Cryptocurrency contests
With VYPER you can create campaigns using upgraded content, sweepstakes, leaderboards for contests and interactive popups.
Leaderboards are a great way of gamifying your contests. Being able to see how high they are on your leaderboard, encourages users to engage more to reach greater heights.
Unlike other platforms, VYPER also verifies entries to your contests where possible, by using API integration. And, with refer-a-friend options, entrants can increase the virality of a contest by sharing it via social media through trackable short links.
The one feature I love the most is the Milestone Rewards one. This allows you to deliver codes or gifts to entrants who reach a certain milestone in your contest.
For example, someone who reaches 100 entries could have a 10% discount code, while 300 entries could unlock a free gift.
These unlockable milestone offers convert like crazy, because the perceived value is increased.
- Free – until you’re ready to start a campaign
- Pro – $49 / month
- Enterprise – $149 / month
- Agencies / Big Brands – $299 / month
Built to grow your business, Wishpond offers a wide selection of marketing tools and contest options.
While many of the contests are geared towards Facebook, you can also create contests for Pinterest and hashtag contests for Instagram.
Just like many other platforms, Wishpond has daily entry voting, referral rewards and fully customisable forms.
Getting started is simple and easy, especially when you can use your own branding colours and visuals to create a truly unique-to-you look. And with a WordPress plugin, hosting contests on your own site is a breeze.
- Landing pages
- Popups & forms
- Contests & promos
- Marketing automation
- Marketing integrations
- Email drip campaigns
- A/B testing
- API access
- WordPress plugin
Something that’s super attractive about Wishpond, are the real-time reports available in your dashboard. You can track campaign metrics here and optimize things for the best overall contest performance. That’s where the handy A/B split testing tools come in.
When the campaign is over, download the data to Excel to analyse the results. The profile of each participant will be detailed with their personal demographics for better email targeting in the future.
Before committing to a plan, check out Wishpond’s free 14-day trial.
- Starting Out – $49 / month
- Everything You Need – $99 / month
- Rapid Growth – $199 / month
Gleam is a robust contest app with great features to help you grow your business. There are two key goals for using Gleam:
- To get more email leads
- To grow your social following
Whichever one you choose, both can help you achieve your goals.
Gleam’s drag and drop functionality makes it quick and easy to add entry methods to your contests. With over 20 ways to enter there’ll be a way for everyone to take part.
What’s more, it’s easier to enter using Gleam because there is only one click involved. No copy and pasting Twitter URLs – everything’s done in one app.
- Build powerful competitions
- Instant redeem embeddable rewards
- Responsive social galleries
- Email capture
- Social and email integration
- Drag and drop functionality
- WordPress Plugin
- Google analytics integration
Something I love about Gleam is the fact it verifies every action a user takes. They’re tracked based on whether they take the action or not. This provides qualified data which eliminates the need to dig through entries that don’t qualify.
For WordPress users wanting to run a contest from their site, make use of Gleam’s WordPress Plugin. This cuts down the implementation time. No code to paste, just activate the plugin and get to work.
What’s really impressive with this platform is that you’re not locked in when it comes to pricing. You only pay for what you need.
You can buy each app individually – all of which have 4 price tiers – Hobby, Pro, Business and Premium. Or you can buy the whole bundle by choosing one of 3 price options.
To give things a try, sign up for the free plan which lets you run unlimited competitions. However, some features and user data are limited.
- Competitions – From $10 / month
- Rewards – From $29 / month
- Galleries – From $29 / month
- Captures – From $29 / month
- Full Package – from $97 / month
AgoraPulse is primarily a Social Media Management tool. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to launch fantastic contests through its Facebook apps.
Running contests for Facebook using AgoraPulse is easy. Choose a contest type from one of these:
- Facebook quizzes
- Facebook photo contests
- Fan vote contests
- Facebook instant win
- Facebook coupons
Combine this with its Automated Inbox Assistant to assign moderation rules on communications and you’ll be fully queued up on what’s happening with your campaign.
- Facebook apps
- Detailed analytics suite
- Audience insights
- Team collaboration
- Message Management
The key attraction of AgoraPulse is probably its sophisticated analytics and reporting system. Far more intuitive than the likes of Facebook analytics, AgoraPulse focuses on your key metrics – the ones that matter the most.
ROI calculation and best days/times to post suggestions, work hand-in-hand to secure you the best results and level of engagement.
For a little extra something, check out the Free Facebook Timeline Contest. This gives you a great idea of how AgoraPulse works. Choose either a sweepstake, photo contests or quizzes to begin.
- Medium – €79 per month
- Large – €159 per month
- X- Large – €239 per month
- Enterprise – €459 per month
Rafflecopter is a popular tool for running giveaways and sweepstakes. Its main aim is to make it:
‘mega simple’ to launch and manage a giveaway for any brand, on any website, as much as you want, with no I.T. help required.
It’s one of the easiest tools to use too. Simply decide what prizes to offer, choose the entry methods and publish. Simple as that. Then you can sit back and watch the entries roll in until you’re ready to choose a winner.
- Advanced theming engine
- Advanced typographic control
- 6 language integrations
- 1-click email list integration
- Bonus entries
- White labelling
- Works in any timezone
- Excel exporting
- Terms & conditions builder
Far from being limited to running promotions on Facebook, Rafflecopter works with Pinterest and Twitter too. Similarly, adding your contest to your website is as simple as copying and pasting the code where you want the contest to display.
Incentivising your audience is easy with 1 click entry integration. Combine this with multiple ways to enter and adding point-based weight to them, it makes for a super engaging way to enter competitions.
Colorado Tourism, for example, wanted to raise awareness of their offices and events by running frequent giveaways, alongside growing their social presence.
By using Rafflecopter, their most recent giveaway generated over 1k Facebook shares, over 400,000 unique people reached, 51,000 entries and over 13,000 new Facebook likes.
For a simple tool, it packs a massive punch!
You can use Rafflecopter for free. Although the free trial expires at 7 days or 50 entries.
- Basic – $13 / month
- Grow – $43 / month
- Premium – $84 / month
Woobox is a social contest platform that offers sweepstakes, coupons and more for Facebook Pages and Twitter. It’s not just contests you can expect to build but also:
- Interactive games
- Landing pages
- Lead generation forms
Contests are not limited to only Facebook and Twitter but include Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr.
Getting started is easy. You can choose from one of their ready-made campaigns and with drag and drop functionality, you can infuse your branding elements easily into your contest.
- Stylish landing page templates
- Customisable design and language
- Easy participant management
- 6 ways to display
- 500+ integrations
- WordPress plugin
- Automation options
- Campaign optimisation
Once your contest is up and running, you can dive into its analytics. This is where you can optimise and fine-tune your promotions to ensure you’re getting the best results.
Woobox campaigns are also mobile-friendly with their own dedicated URLs. Alternatively, you can embed them in popups, websites and all major social media channels, including a native WordPress plugin.
Did I mention that with any paid plan you can run unlimited marketing campaigns?
One great example of how Woobox can be used to run a user-generated content (UGC) can be seen with Funimation Entertainment’s Shin Godzilla UGC Contest.
To promote the digital release of Shin Godzilla, Funimation asked fans to show their love by submitting their fan art and more. ‘Winners received an exclusive, limited-edition poster designed by artist Matt Frank.’
It’s a perfect example of how this type of contest can engage and inspire creativity – fostering a sense of community with your audience.
- Free – Unlimited campaigns but limited features
- Basic – $37 / month (up to 1000 participants per month)
- Standard – $32 / month
- Advanced – $99 / month
- Power – $249 / month
All but the Basic plan are paid annually.
Choosing the best social media contest tool for you
To increase awareness around your business, developing and launching social media contests can generate significant results. As with everything in life, choosing the right tool for you depends on your business needs and goals.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive tool with multiple contest types, we recommend ShortStack. It’s robust enough for the biggest businesses and jam-packed with features.
For something simpler and easy to get to grips with, Rafflecopter is your best choice. It’s perfect for solopreneurs and smaller businesses without being weighed down with over-blown features.
For a few more entry options, along with the simplicity of Rafflecopter, check out Gleam.
eCommerce businesses looking for a great way to garner customer loyalty can use VYPER with its solid loyalty and rewards program. It’s got a great set of features to help you run viral contests too.
Email marketing is key to great campaigns, so for a tool that factors this into its base features, Wishpond is the ideal choice. But if you’d like all that alongside a full suite of social media marketing tools, try AgoraPulse.