How To: Run a Successful Competition on Social Media

May 19, 2021
Header Image Giveaway Sign

Chances are you’ve probably entered a competition or two on social media before. They’re a popular choice for brands wanting to grow their audience, engage with their followers or reward customers for their loyalty.

At Milkbar, we’re big fans of using giveaways and competitions to help grow a brand, however there are a few things to consider to ensure your giveaway is as successful as possible.

The Objective

First things first, consider what you want to get out of the competition. Is it more followers? More purchases? Email sign ups? This will guide how the giveaway is run. 

For those looking to increase purchases or capture emails, social media is a great way to promote the competition, however users should be directed to an external platform or landing page in order to enter.  We won’t be covering tips on these sorts of competitions, but they’re definitely a great way to engage with your followers! Platforms such as Gleam can be a good way to host these.

The Prize

A great prize should be two things: 

  1. relevant to your target market 
  2. highly desirable

While it’s true that a lot of people will be happy with something for free, ensuring your prize is large enough to draw attention will ensure you get the most value out of your competition.

@iamboard_melbourne brunch box prize example

Above: An example of a prize that would be both relevant to the Milkbar team and also highly desirable. ??

Milkbar Tip: For items like clothing or for businesses with multiple services, consider offering a voucher so users can pick their own prize!

The Mechanics

Before you ask users to like, comment and tag a friend, take some time to consider the best mechanic (or mechanics) for entry.

Good competitions don’t require entrants to jump through hoops and they make sure the instructions are simple and easy to follow.


  • If requiring entrants to tag a friend, keep the tag requirement to one or two users
  • Always require entrants to follow your account
  • Give entrants the option to share the post to their story for a bonus entry
  • Make sure they always answer a question (more on this below)
  • Consider if you want to limit the number of entries per person
  • Host the competition on Instagram rather than Facebook 

Milkbar Tip: Break up your caption with lines breaks, paragraphs and number the steps needed to enter to make it easy to read for potential entrants.

@tangleteezeraustralia competition post

Above: An example of a competition post with clear steps to enter.

Legal Considerations

Legal requirements for competitions in Australia vary by state so we recommend researching prior to running your competition or seeking legal advice. 

In general terms, competitions can either be a game of chance or a game of skill.

A game of chance refers to competitions where the winner is determined purely by chance (such as randomly drawing a name). Competitions that are a game of chance, need to abide by lottery rules and sometimes require a permit, depending on the value of the prize and the state it’s running in.

A game of skill is where the winner is determined by the quality of their entry (such as the most creative / unique answer to a question) Games of skill don’t usually need permits (but still check your state’s legal requirements!)

Milkbar Tip: T’s and C’s can be hosted on your website, but make sure you let users know where to find them (prior to entry).

To Collab or not to Collab? 

Collaborating with another brand is a great way to increase the reach of your competition and tap into a complimentary brand’s audience.  It’s also an excellent strategy to use when your account is on the smaller side, as your competition may have a limited reach when it’s just targeting your current follower base.


  • Collaborate with a brand that shares a similar target audience
  • Team up with just one or two brands
  • Ensure the prize features items from both brands
  • Make sure both brands post the giveaway post on their feed at the same time
  • Ensure entrants are required to follow all accounts

Using competitions to grow your Instagram following is a great strategy,  just make sure you’re keeping best practice in mind and always running it fairly (keeping track of all bonus entries and judging the winner based on skill, if that’s a requirement). It’s also a good idea to announce the winner in the caption or on your story to ensure transparency with your followers.  


Allison is a Social Media Coordinator at Milkbar Digital. She loves writing copy, brainstorming new ideas and arranging scroll-worthy feeds. When she’s not hard at work you can find her with a burrito in hand, hanging out with her greyhound, Kimchi.

If you’re looking to make influencer marketing a part of your social media strategy, Milkbar Digital is here to help! If you need help with your social media or don’t know where to begin, get in touch!

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