How to Run CPG Social Media Contests

Who doesn’t love free goods? 

Freebies are always a hit amongst consumers, especially if it’s from their favorite consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand. 

With the move to the digital world, most free giveaways happen online now. It’s common practice for businesses to run free giveaways on social media, where their followers can be in for the chance to win some of their products. 

These competitions are a great way to increase engagement on social media, build brand awareness, drive website traffic, and more. 

So let your CPG reap these benefits from social media contests by planning your giveaway the right way! Here’s a guide for you to learn how to run a successful giveaway from start to finish, to get the maximum results from your investment. 

A huge sign reading 'Giveaway' stands against a bright blue sky

Best practices for running a successful giveaway on social media

You could try to wing it, but that increases the risk of your contest failing to reach its potential. With just a small amount of planning, you can launch a popular competition that boosts your sales and engagement.

Choose your goal

First up, you’ll need to specify the goal that you’re trying to achieve with your contest. By knowing what you want to get out of it for your brand, you’ll know the best actions to take.

We’ve listed some ideas for you below. Choose a primary goal, then an optional secondary goal:

  • Increase social media followers
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive website traffic 
  • Promote products
  • Grow your mailing list
  • Collect user-generated content 

If additional exposure is key, you could consider partnering up with an influencer, where each of you promote the competition on your own pages. This way, you’ll reach all of their loyal, engaged followers. Smaller influencers may just be happy with the mutual exposure and endorsement from your brand. However, bigger influencers with a following of 10K or more may require their own freebies, or payment for the collaboration. 

Choose your prize

What is the incentive that you’re giving people to enter your competition? The bigger the incentive, the more people will enter, and the greater your results will be!

In other words, this isn’t the time to cheap out.

Let’s say you’re an organic drinks brand promoting your latest product. If you were to offer just one drink as a prize, most people would just keep scrolling. As incredible as your product surely is, you need to make the prize worth the hassle of entering. In this case, we’d recommend offering a whole hamper of drinks.

You could take it a step further and offer them this hamper on top of a short weekend break! Courtesy of your CPG. 

Another option would be to offer a voucher for people to spend on your products. This is a great way of getting even more people onto your website to browse through your products, to see what they would like to win. What’s more, they might even be tempted to spend a little extra on top of their free voucher. 

Again, it would need to be worthwhile. $10 might not cut it—but $50, or even $100, sounds far more enticing.

If you’re unsure about giving away too much at once, you could team up with another CPG that shares your goals. With twice the prizes, there will be twice the incentive. Just make sure that the brand that you’re collaborating with is reliable, shares your values, and makes sense for you to partner with. 

Create promotional material 

How will you grab the attention of your followers? You’ll need to create some eye-catching visuals and copy.

This could either be photos of your products themselves, or a well-designed graphic that showcases your prizes. 

If you’re giving away your CPG’s products, we’d suggest using the best photos that capture all of their mouth-watering glory. You won’t get as much engagement if you’re using blurry pictures that don’t do your products justice, or if you don’t give your audience any visuals of what they could win. 

If your chosen goal was to collect email addresses, it would be a good idea to create a competition landing page too. It should include your CPG’s branding and let people know what they can win as well as how they can win it. While it’s an opportunity to go into a little more detail, don’t cram too much information in. Complicated user journeys can cost you potential entries. 

Include a mini form on your page that allows the entrants to state their name, email address, and any other information that you need. Be wary of local laws around data privacy, plus it’s best practice to get their consent to store this contact information.

A woman wearing sunglasses looks down at her phone, smiling broadly

Create your contest rules 

Your rules for entering should be decided based on your goals, or what you’re hoping to achieve from the giveaway. 

Let’s say that you’re looking to promote the launch of a new product, you could create a challenge where followers post a photo of them trying out your new product in a creative way. Using a branded hashtag can make it easier for you to locate all of these submissions when deciding on the winner. 

Let’s explore some more potential rules that you could use:

  • Like this post
  • Tag your friends in the comments
  • Follow our page
  • Share this post to your story
  • Create your own content, post it, and tag us
  • Visit our link in bio and leave your contact information

Your rules may vary depending on which platform you use. For instance, on Twitter you could require for your followers to reply to your tweet, to retweet your competition tweet, or to tweet their own photos, stories, ideas etc. On Pinterest, followers could be required to create a board of inspiration from your Pins, along with a branded hashtag. 

We’d recommend choosing 2-4 rules for a competition. The fewer rules, the easier it will be to enter, the more people you will reach. Having 4 rules could help you gain followers, collect email addresses, and spread product awareness, but you could risk deterring people from entering due to the effort required. 

Include a disclaimer

It’s important to include small print for your competition. For example, if you wanted to run your contest exclusively in the United States, you would need to state that in the terms of entering. 

You’ll also need to abide by the promotional rules of each social media platform. For instance, Instagram and Facebook require you to state that your competition is not associated with them, while Twitter asks that you discourage followers from creating multiple accounts. Read up on the applicable rules of your chosen platform beforehand to ensure that your contest runs smoothly. 

It’s also good to be aware that spam accounts often try to impersonate you with big giveaways, reaching out to your contestants to elicit their personal details. It’s worth clearly stating on your post that they should ignore messages from pages impersonating you, and that only your CPG’s official account will be announcing the winner. 

Don’t forget to let people know how you’ll be picking the winner. Will you be selecting the funniest tweet? Using a random number generator to pick out usernames? 

Review your results 

Once your contest has ended, you should review the success of the promotion. Did you reach your goal? Here are some of the things you could measure:

  • Engagement rate of the post, compared with the average engagement rate
  • Followers gained
  • Web traffic driven by the promotion
  • Number of emails collected 
  • Contestant feedback through comments 
  • Usual post analytics i.e. impressions, reach etc.

If it didn’t go as well as planned, why do you think that is? Could it be that your prize didn’t provide enough incentive? Could you have run an ad to reach more people? Collaborated with an influencer? You can apply these lessons learned to your next contest to see better results. 

If it did go well, congratulations! How can you replicate this success for your CPG in the future?

For more useful articles on CPG distribution and promotion, check out Buffalo Market’s blog.


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