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How to Run a Competition to Drive Customer Engagement?

Competition to Drive Customer Engagement

In this article, company formation agent, 1st Formations, explore some of the most effective and popular competition models that help drive brand engagement. They also advise on the best practices to maximise the success of each competition type.

Like/Comment/Follow/Share to Win Competitions

This type of social media competition is a common format known for its high engagement potential. It asks participants to like, comment, or share your social media post, or follow your page (if they don’t already) for a chance to win a prize.

For example, if you have an e-commerce website, you could run a ‘follow to win’ social media competition that delivers sponsored posts to your target audience, encouraging them to follow your page in exchange for an entry into your prize draw.

However, sponsored posts require a budget. So, if this is an issue, a simple ‘comment to win’ competition may be more suitable. This is where you ask your followers to comment on your competition post and their comment counts as their entry. Not only does this start a conversation among your followers, but it also helps them actively interact with your brand.

You could also opt for a combination approach, asking your audience to ‘like and follow’ or ‘comment and share’ your competition post for maximum engagement and reach.

These social media competition strategies are some of the most popular choices for brand engagement. Businesses of all sizes run these types of competitions as they are generally inexpensive, simple to set up, and quick and easy for the audience to participate in.

Driving Engagement Through ‘Like/Comment/Follow/Share to Win’ Competitions

Here are the key details you should think about to drive engagement with this type of competition:

Entrance Criteria

What do people need to do to enter the prize draw? Perhaps they need to leave a specific type of comment on your post, share it with their friends, or follow your brand’s page. The practicality of engaging with your competition should be quick and simple, otherwise, people may lose interest.

Using Hashtags

To make sure that your competition reaches the right (and a wider) audience, the content around it should include catchy and trending social media hashtags. These are, essentially, keywords.

People use hashtags to search for and engage with on social media, so your competition should be relevant and easy to find with specific hashtags. For example, let’s say you launch a social media competition on Pancake Day, you could use ‘#pancakeday’ to get your post noticed.


Lastly, if your competition post is organic (not a paid campaign), you should re-share it during its running period (where appropriate) to keep it in front of your target audience. Organic social media content is short-term, so if you only post it once, some people may miss their chance to enter or not see the competition at all.

The re-posting schedule should be tailored to your brand and specific social media channels. On platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, re-sharing once a week is generally suitable. On Instagram, however, you can ‘pin’ your competition post to the top of your page, making it your latest post until unpinned.


Quizzes are another popular and engaging competition type. They are typically hosted on websites or landing pages, social media platforms, and emails. Quizzes are entertaining and give your fans a chance to connect with your brand in a fun way whilst potentially winning a freebie.

There are several types of quizzes to choose from, including:

  • Knowledge-based: Users are asked to answer specific questions about the brand or industry. This type often involves participants having to visit your website to find the answer and enter the competition.
  • Surveys: These can focus on a specific topic or ask participants questions about themselves. Surveys are great for conducting market research and learning about your key demographic.
  • Polls: Quick and easy multiple-choice questions that can be useful for understanding customer trends.
  • Trivia: General knowledge questions that are current, on-trend, and simple to answer. Trivia competitions generally focus on the entertainment aspect.

Not only are quizzes excellent for driving engagement but also for boosting traffic to your website or social media pages and creating a fun and unique connection with your audience. They also help build up your mailing list, generate new sales leads, and allow you to personalise your future marketing efforts based on the user information you gather, making future conversions more likely.

Driving Engagement through Quizzes

Here are the key ways to help drive engagement through quizzes:

Choose the Right Platform

Different platforms have different capabilities, and will, therefore, deliver different results. So, for maximum engagement, choose a platform that will help you reach the widest audience. The more people you reach, the higher the engagement potential.

Curate Your Questions

Your quiz questions should be simple to understand and relatively quick to answer whilst aligning with your overall marketing goals. Avoid any technical or complex terms and lengthy questions (these can discourage people from taking part) and consider adding some visual aids to make your quiz more engaging.

Encourage Sharing

Once someone has completed the quiz and entered the competition, you should encourage them to share it with friends. To help with this, it’s worth adding a button at the end, allowing entrants to post it on their social media and invite friends to take part.

User-generated Content (UGC) Competitions

UGC competitions ask participants to create a piece of content (e.g. photos, videos, and written content) and share it online to enter. A common way that businesses use UGC competitions is by asking their customers/followers to share an image of them using their product, normally under a specific hashtag.

A simple example is customer reviews. When someone purchases with you (online or in-store), you can ask them to leave an online review and they’ll be entered into a competition. Another example is asking entrants to post and tag your brand in a social media image of them using or interacting with your product.

UGC competitions can be particularly effective as they allow your audience to actively engage with your brand and products. Meanwhile, this can help you build authenticity and visibility, which are especially powerful for small businesses.

A study by the marketing platform, Gitnux, revealed that the vast majority (86%) of consumers prioritise authenticity when choosing the brands they want to support, and over 60% view active engagement with customers as authentic.

With this in mind, UGC competitions are a great choice for driving engagement. They advocate originality, trustworthiness, and authentic brand values that audiences resonate and engage with.

Driving Engagement through UGC Competitions

Below are our top tips for driving engagement with UGC competitions:

Choose a Worthy Prize

UGC requires a lot more input from the audience compared to quizzes and ‘Like/comment/follow/share to win’ competitions. So, to incentivise people, prizes should be substantial and desirable.

Make it Achievable

While it does ask for more effort from participants, the entry criteria for a UGC competition should be somewhat challenging and creative whilst being fair and achievable. An example of what not to do is Pepsi’s advert in the ’90s, which unrealistically offered consumers a Harrier Jet in exchange for 7 million points (which coincidentally backfired when someone collected 7 million points).

Be Transparent

Going back to the Gitnux study mentioned earlier, it also highlighted that for nearly 70% of consumers, transparency is one of the most attractive qualities of a brand. So, to drive maximum engagement potential, your competition should be transparent, your communication should be consistent, and you should remain true to your brand values.

Other Engaging Competitions to Try

There are many ways in which small businesses can launch an engaging competition. On top of the above, here are a few more ideas to try:

  • Regular prize draws: Choosing a winner regularly (e.g. once a month) is a great way to keep your audience engaged, encouraging them to return and enter again.
  • Direct message competitions: SMS or email competitions help you reach participants directly, meaning they are more likely to engage with your content.
  • Influencer competitions: Launching a competition through a social media influencer is an excellent way to reach more people and get your brand noticed.

Thanks for Reading

So, there you have it – some of the most effective competition models that drive engagement. Whether it’s ‘comment to win’, a fun quiz, or a UGC contest, brands should focus on offering an attractive prize, choosing the right platform that connects them with the target audience, and expressing transparency and authenticity in their communication.

1st Formations is a leading company formation agent in the UK, offering simple company formations for just £12.99. Their expert team provides new businesses with essential services from registration and compliance to life after incorporation.

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