Best social media contest ideas for the 2022 holiday season

by Rudy on December 28, 2022 in Resources

Group video call

The holiday season is upon us. It’s a frantic time of the year for brands as online marketing efforts peak during this period. With so much competition for both organic and paid traffic, brands need to think outside the box to ensure that they can generate buzz and achieve maximum ROI for their efforts.

Pick any major brand and you’ll see their content strategy start to incorporate content focused around the holiday season by this time of the year. Positioning for this crucial time begins months before as many brands want people to look forward to the deals and offers that they introduce to increase sales.

That’s not the only way that a brand can generate buzz and increase engagement for the holiday season, though. Contests are a great way to keep the audience engaged and hooked to the content. Everybody loves free stuff, after all, and what better time of the year to give free stuff away than the holiday season? 

Why contests can help improve your overall social media presence

Contests are a great way to incentivize people to follow and interact with the brand. There's always the potential for them to win something and that's good enough to keep people interested in the brand. It's also a great way to build awareness since people are likely going to share the contests with their friends. This helps bring more people into the fold, thereby amplifying the brand's reach.

The incentive that contests provide can also be leveraged to increase subscribers, whether for a social media account or a newsletter. That can be made one of the ways for people to enter the contest. It's a minor action on their part that results in a significant increase of followers for the brand.

Contests also see higher engagement compared to conventional social media posts. Higher engagement is a favorable signal for the algorithms that rank content on social media networks. Once it picks up that the brand is getting a lot of likes, retweets, pins, shares, comments, and more from its audience, it will boost the reach so that more people are attracted to that page.

Top social media contest ideas for this holiday season

Launch a multi-day giveaway contest

Since the idea here is to elevate the reach for as long as possible, a multi-day contest that promises a giveaway at the end is a great way to achieve that objective. It's also a great way to keep up the momentum and stand out from the competition.

Remember, most brands are performing similar activities this time of the year, so there needs to be some differentiation. A multi-day contest that promises giveaways is a good idea since it will entice the audience to keep checking back even if they don't win one. As long as they're returning to the brand's page, they’re continuing to interact with the content and that also increases the possibility of conversions.

It’s important to strike the right balance. A multi-day giveaway contest shouldn’t be dragged out for too long that it ultimately ends up feeling like a neverending mess. Keep it limited to 3-4 days and better yet, launch multiple such contests throughout the month to sustain the elevated engagement levels.

Harness the power of video content

Woman on a video call

Video content tends to do very well online, particularly short-form video, and it’s become a powerful method of leveraging user-generated content. This can be a rather simple approach, whereby the audience has to post creative short videos to win prizes.

There are several ways to execute a video contest. For example, ask customers to share a fond memory or experience that they have with your product. Perhaps they can showcase all of the clever ways that your products can be used. Whoever makes the best short videos based on the contest theme wins.

Attaching hashtags to these video contests will ensure that even those that don’t directly follow your brand online can video the submissions and take part in the proceedings should they so desire.

Incentivize tagging to expand your contest’s reach

People like to win free stuff and they also like it when people in their circle have a chance to win free stuff. Tap into this basic human nature by incentivizing people to tag friends and family as part of their entry into the contest.

This ensures that the contest reaches people who don’t follow the brand, ultimately achieving a snowball effect for interactions and engagement. For example, if you're offering a giveaway of Christmas goodies, ask followers to tag people that they'd like to share it.

The more people they tag, the greater the number of entries they get in the contest. It’s a simple yet effective way to get as many entries for the contest as possible.

Offer coupons to increase sales


Countless people will enter your contest but only one or a few will win, so what about all the rest? Everyone who took part in the contest is effectively an active lead. They saw something that they wanted from your brand and hoped for a chance to get it for free. Perhaps they might be interested in buying it as long as they scored a discount?

Sending everyone who didn’t win a coupon code can help increase conversions. They’ll feel that perhaps some good came out of their taking part in the contest after all. Since they’ve engaged and interacted with the brand recently, it will be at the top of their mind.

A coupon code during one of the most lucrative shopping seasons of the year may also encourage impulse purchases.

Be clear about eligibility requirements

Depending on the kinds of products and services that you offer, not everybody will likely be able to enter the contests, particularly those that are under the age of 18. There may also be certain geographical or legal restrictions to take into account.

Ensure that all of the eligibility requirements are specified. These requirements must be highlighted every time the contest is promoted online so that there’s absolute clarity for everyone that participates. 

Author: Rudy Labordus

Rudy Labordus is an Internationally acclaimed author, marketing strategist and speaker. He has been instrumental in helping launch and develop several multi million dollar businesses around Australia and excels in developing innovative, strategic and creative solutions that produce exceptional results for his clients.