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How To Run a Great Twitter Contest [Ideas + Examples]

A Twitter contest is the quickest way to get more followers, improve your engagement rate, and increase brand awareness on the platform.

Sarah Israel August 25, 2022
How To Run a Great Twitter Contest [Ideas + Examples] | Hootsuite

Twitter contests and giveaways are a fun and easy way to drive engagement. They’re quick to set up, simple to run, and can help you gather useful information about your audience.

Best of all, running a Twitter contest doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, the simpler, the better!

Keep reading for an easy guide to running contests on Twitter, including nine great contest ideas to jumpstart your next promotion.

Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to grow your Twitter following fast, a daily workbook that will help you establish a Twitter marketing routine and track your growth, so you can show your boss real results after one month.

Why run a Twitter contest?

You can use Twitter contests or giveaways to achieve a variety of different goals. Before you get started, think about what you want to accomplish with your contest.

For example, your goals could include the following:

Growing your follower base

Twitter giveaways can help boost your follower count. If your goal is to grow your audience, include a “tag a friend” or “retweet” component in your contest. Before launching, decide how many new followers you’re hoping to gain. (Remember, your goals should always be SMARTspecific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound)

Building brand awareness

Twitter contests are a great way to build brand awareness. As of mid-2022, Twitter has 206 million daily active users worldwide. That means your contest has the opportunity to reach a huge number of users. If you want to build buzz, include a clear and straightforward brand message.

Promoting a new product

Use a Twitter contest or giveaway to build hype around the launch of a new product. This type of contest relies heavily on imagery, so keep this in mind, as it may incur a cost. Make sure you have great photos of your product or giveaway bundle so your social posts pop.

How to set up a Twitter contest

Setting up a Twitter contest or giveaway is simple. It just requires a bit of planning on your part.

1. Set an objective for your Twitter contest

Start by defining a clear goal for your Twitter contest. Include measurable targets such as increased follower count or impressions. This will help you gauge your success after the contest closes. Solid numbers can help you decide whether to run contests again in the future.

2. Plan your contest

Sort out the logistics for your contest, including:

  • What type of contest or giveaway is it?
  • When will your contest or giveaway start?
  • How long will it run?
  • What is the closing date? Be specific here to avoid disappointment, ex. September 30th, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET

3. Select a prize

Next, pick a prize for your contest or giveaway. This may be a digital prize or a physical item that must be shipped or picked up by the winner.

Digital prize ideas:

  • Credit for your online shop
  • Digital tickets to an exclusive event or special performance
  • Digital experiences such as Zoom meet-and-greets

Physical prize ideas:

  • Best-selling item in an exclusive colorway
  • Special prize pack or bundle
  • In-person experiences such as a party for the winner and a group of friends

If your prize includes an item or giveaway bundle, make sure to show off your prize with an eye-catching post. This will motivate users to share your posts and help your contest gain traction online.

4. Develop your contest guidelines

What do you want users to do in order to win? Maybe they’ll need to follow your account, retweet your post, or submit specific content. Make your contest requirements and deadlines clear, so there’s no confusion.

Don’t forget to review Twitter’s guidelines for promotions before launching your contest. We recommend setting clear Twitter contest rules to discourage spam. These include barring users from making multiple entries in a single day or entering using multiple accounts.

5. Promote your contest

Now it’s time to launch your contest! But the work isn’t over yet.

Schedule regular posts to promote your contest. Keep an eye on entries, too. Engage with users who have entered by liking their posts or responding to their questions.

Choose a unique hashtag so you’re not sifting through unrelated tweets to find contest entries. Try something like #YourBrandNameGiveaway or #ItemNameGiveaway22.

If your brand is active on another platform, try cross-promoting your contest. Try posting a direct link in your Instagram Stories to bring some of those followers over to Twitter.

6. Track your contest entries with a social media management tool

A robust tool can help you track contest entries and monitor engagement in real-time.

Hootsuite Streams is a great tool to track the activity on your social channels. You can keep an eye on post engagement, conversations, mentions, keywords, and hashtags – all in one place!

7. Pick a winner and deliver the prize

Picking a winner can seem daunting, but don’t worry. You don’t need to close your eyes and point to a random tweet!

Many online tools can automate this process. They can also ensure that your winner has satisfied all the contest requirements. (Keep scrolling for more on those tools)

8. Review your contest

After your contest closes, review your original goals. Was your contest a success? Did you increase your follower count or boost your brand impressions?

An analytics platform like Hootsuite can help you review the numbers. You can even create custom reports to show the impact on your brand and bottom line. This data can help you design your next successful Twitter contest or giveaway.

9 easy Twitter contest ideas

Not sure how to structure your Twitter contest? We’ve outlined nine different types of Twitter contests to help inspire your next giveaway.

Choose one of the options below or mix and match to create your own unique promotion.

Retweet to enter

Asking users to retweet your post to enter is the easiest way to run a Twitter giveaway. It requires very little effort on the user’s part, so they’re more likely to hit the retweet button. If your goal is to build brand awareness, this contest option is for you.

Like, follow, and retweet to enter

This variation on the “retweet to enter” giveaway requires a bit more work for users. But it delivers a better payoff from a brand standpoint. Likes and retweets help build brand awareness while asking users to follow to enter is a surefire way to increase your follower count.

Reply to win

Increase brand awareness and boost engagement with a reply-to-win Twitter contest. Asking users to reply can help boost your post in the algorithm rankings, so get creative! For example, ask users to drop an emoji in the comments or have them answer a simple prompt, like “Tell us why you want to win….”

Tag a friend to enter

If you want to increase your follower count, include “follow and tag a friend” in your contest requirements. Tags allow you to reach a broader audience without requiring too much effort from users to enter.

Partner with a brand or influencer

Reach a new audience by joining forces with another brand or a social media influencer. Pick a contest type that addresses your mutual goals, and ask users to follow both accounts to be eligible to win.

Use a hashtag to enter

Don’t forget to create a unique hashtag for your Twitter contest. No one wants to spend hours sifting through unrelated tweets to find contest entries. Hashtag contests are a great way to increase brand awareness.

Share a photo to enter

A photo contest makes it easy to gather user-generated content (UGC). UGC is original, brand-specific content created by customers. UGC can be photos or images, videos, reviews, testimonials, and more.

Engage on another platform to enter

If you want to build your following on another platform, try running a Twitter contest that drives traffic elsewhere. For example, you can send followers to your brand’s Instagram account or custom app:

9. Bonus: Combine elements to create a unique promotion

Here’s a great contest example that combines several Twitter contest types to create a unique promotion with a social twist.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has partnered with HeadCount and Ben & Jerry’s to get people registered to vote. Their campaign incorporates the following elements:

  • A unique hashtag
  • Brand partnership with Ben & Jerry’s
  • Influencer/celebrity partnership with Stephen Colbert
  • Engaging elsewhere to enter by directing traffic to

How to pick a Twitter winner

Picking a Twitter giveaway winner can seem intimidating. What if your contest receives thousands of entries? How do you choose a random winner who has followed your contest’s rules?

Luckily, many online Twitter contest tools can automate this process. These sites can help you pick winners from retweets, likes, or your existing Twitter following.

No matter which online tool you choose, review their selection policies carefully. Some tools can only select a winner from the most recent 100 retweets, which may not include all contest participants. Look for a tool that will pick from all your contest entries, not just the most recent ones.

Don’t forget about Twitter’s guidelines for promotions

We know you’re excited to launch your Twitter contest! But to avoid running into any issues, review Twitter’s Guidelines for Promotions first.

Twitter’s guidelines are primarily designed to discourage spam. Contest rules should discourage users from creating multiple accounts to enter. Don’t forget that Twitter’s rules regarding safety, privacy, and authenticity apply at all times.

Make sure to cover your bases when it comes to local and federal laws. For instance, giveaways that include alcohol must be age-restricted to protect minors. Once you’ve chosen your giveaway format and prize, do some research to make sure that your contest isn’t violating any laws.

Save time by using Hootsuite to manage your Twitter presence alongside your other social channels. You can run contests, share videos, schedule posts, and monitor your efforts — all from one convenient dashboard! Try it for free today.

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By Sarah Israel

Sarah Israel is a Toronto-based content strategist and creator. When she’s not writing about emerging technologies, she’s hunting for treasures in dusty antique shops across Eastern Canada. See more of her work at

Read more by Sarah Israel

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