How to Find Your Target Audience with a Social Media Contest

/ June 23, 2021 | 7 Mins Read

How to Find Your Target Audience with a Social Media Contest

Social media contests are viral campaigns that attract tons of users on social media platforms. If planned correctly, your social media contest will attract your brand’s target audience, fast!

Not everyone has the same interests, which is why it’s foolish to promote your brand to anyone and everyone. This is why marketers prefer to focus their resources on a specific target audience that has the potential to be customers. 

A brand’s target audience is made up of people that are interested in the brand and its products. You will be rewarded with high-quality leads and eventually sales if you market your brand to this audience correctly.

So, how do you find your brand’s target audience? The most efficient way to accomplish this is with a social media contest.

This guide is here to show you exactly how your brand can effectively use social media games to build a targeted audience within a short period of time. 

Let’s get started!

1. What Is a Social Media Contest?

A social media contest is a campaign in which users on a social platform compete against each other to win a prize. Brands host social media contests by sponsoring a prize and allowing users to submit their entries to compete. 

Social media contests can be elaborate campaigns that require maximum effort from entrants. Examples include art, music production, and photo contest ideas. 

Social media contests are also simple campaigns that require very little effort from entrants. An excellent example of this is the caption contest below:

social media contest campaigns


A simple caption contest will help brands instantly boost social media engagement. Hosting a monthly caption contest is a powerful strategy for building an audience on social media. 

2. Benefits of a Social Media Contest

Social media giveaway ideas and contests are viral campaigns that attract plenty of attention on social networks. Brands use these campaigns to direct this attention towards themselves in a creative manner that allows them to achieve various marketing goals. 

In other words, social media contests are great for: 

  • Building an email list
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Boosting engagement on social media
  • Increasing account sign-ups
  • Getting more software or app downloads

Social media contests ideas are also excellent at producing user-generated content (UGC). For example, a selfie contest that requires users to pose next to your product. 

 a selfie contest that requires users to pose next to your product.


And of course, a massive benefit of a social media contest is its ability to find a brand’s target audience. More on this in the sections to follow.

3. Finding Your Target Audience with a Social Media Contest

Social media giveaway ideas and contests are viral campaigns that attract massive audiences online. You can customize your contest to attract a targeted audience.

For example, Topaz Labs (an AI image editing firm) was looking to attract an audience of photographers (or photo editors) to its brand using photo contest ideas. Their goal was to build their email lists and social media presence

Topaz Labs hosted a successful social media contest that required users to download and edit an image. Users then had to submit that image to Topaz Labs for a chance to win an awesome photography bundle.

The results of this contest were astonishing (see image below). Topaz Labs were able to drastically boost their social media audience, email list, and social media engagement. 

Topaz social media campaigns


And the most intriguing thing about the results of this campaign? The majority of people who took part in the contest (majority of leads generated) are Topaz Labs’ ideal audience. 

Topaz Labs found its ideal audience by structuring its contest like this:

  • The contest required users to edit a supplied image. This meant that people who used image editing software would enter the contest. 
  • The prize was a photographer’s bundle made up of a camera backpack, drone, and image editing software. Pro and amateur photographers found this prize appealing. 
  • The edited images were posted on social media along with Topaz Labs and photography hashtags. This entry method helped build the Topaz Labs hashtag, while also making the contest more discoverable for photo enthusiasts. 

To summarise:  Topaz Labs used photo contest ideas that were appealing to all kinds of photographers. Their contest was customized to attract their audience. You can use a similar strategy as well to attract your brand’s target audience.

We will show you how in the sections to follow.

4. Tips for Hosting Your Own Social Media Contest

Hosting a social media contest might seem like a straightforward affair. However, you have to plan your campaign correctly to efficiently achieve good results. 

We have some excellent tips that will help you to build fantastic social media contests ideas. 

The first place to start when hosting a social media contest is with your goals.

Setting Goals

Social media contests are excellent at attracting your brand’s target audience. However, this should not be your only goal for this campaign. 

You must efficiently redirect the audience from your contest to places that will help you achieve your marketing goals (or any other achievable goals set by you).

setting goals by social media contest


Here are a few examples of goals you can set for your contest:

  • Grow your email list - By asking people to submit their emails to enter, your contest will automatically collect the email addresses of all the entrants. 
  • Boost website traffic - You can redirect users to your website to find more info on the contest. You can then direct that traffic to your product or sales pages. 
  • Boost social media engagement - A social media contest is an excellent way to create hype around your brand and build your social media presence. 
  • Increase in software or app downloads - Create a campaign where your app is required to create entries to the contest. This is an excellent strategy for boosting your digital product downloads. 

Choosing a Prize

If finding your target audience is your primary objective, then choosing a prize for your social media games might just be the most crucial step you take.

The most enticing part of a social media contest is the prize. People are most drawn to the idea of potentially winning an awesome prize. So, if you choose your prize or giveaway template correctly, your prize will attract your target audience. 

In the Topaz Labs contest mentioned earlier, the prize was a photographer's bundle that attracted photographers, Topaz Labs’ core audience. You have to determine your brand’s core audience, then select a prize that will attract that audience. 

Here are some examples of prizes that brands can use for their social media contests ideas:

  • Pet selfy contest - Pet treats, toys, and training gear. Great for attracting an audience made up of pet owners. 
  • Influencer contest - A vlogging bundle that includes cameras, lighting, and tripods. Great for attracting an audience of aspiring YouTubers or social media influencers
  • Cooking contest - A blender, mixer, or other kitchen appliances. Great for attracting an audience of people who love being in the kitchen. 
  • Photography contest - A photographer bundle that includes cameras, backpacks, drones, and image editing software. Perfect for attracting photographers or filmmakers. 
  • Green screen contest - This campaign is popular with YouTubers like Pewdiepie. The influencer creates a green screen video for his audience to download and edit. The user with the best video wins. Excellent for promoting green screen software.

examples of prizes that brands can use for their contests


Optimizing for the Best Leads

A generic yet popular prize like an iPhone will potentially generate the most leads. However, the majority of those leads will be poor-quality leads. 

You don’t want to host an iPhone contest only to find out that the majority of people who entered have no interest in your brand and products (they only care about the iPhone). 

To avoid bringing in too many poor leads, it’s best you select a prize that’s more focused on attracting a specific audience that you can potentially do business with in the future. 

Promoting Your Contest

Another crucial step in hosting a social media contest is promotion. Once your social media games are live, you will want it to reach as many people as possible. Especially early on because social media contests usually only run for a few weeks.

If your brand has already established itself on marketing platforms like social media or email, then it’s best you start promoting your contest here. 

You can create a post on social media to announce your contest. Your post can also include details on how to enter and more info on the prize. Encouraging people to like, comment, and share the post will help get those engagement numbers up, which could make your post go viral. 

cocktail photography contest by broken clock vinegar


If your brand has already built a well-established email list, you can simply email all your subscribers to inform them about your contest. Giving your current subscribers an incentive using an appropriate giveaway template to refer more people to your contest is an excellent way to grow your email list further and generate more high-quality leads. 

It doesn’t end with social media and email. Here are more places where you can promote your contest: 

  • Blogs - A blog post is an ideal place to talk about your social media contest. You can insert as much information about your contest here if you find social media limiting. Directing contest traffic to your blog for more info can also lead to sales if some of that traffic decides to explore your website. 
  • Paid Ads - Paying social media platforms to promote your contest post is an excellent way of getting a ton of people to see your post early on. This can be the sort of traction you need early on for your contest. 
  • Podcasts - You can sponsor a podcast episode and the podcaster will promote your contest. Or, you can go on someone’s podcast and talk about your contest. 
  • Infographics - You can create an infographic that includes all info related to your contest. You can then share this infographic on your socials, email lists, and even your website.

use infographics in social media contest


5. TL;DR

It’s extremely beneficial for brands to develop a target audience online that’s interested in that brand and its products. A brand’s target audience will produce high-quality leads that are ready to interact with your brand and make purchases.

There are multiple methods to building a target audience. However, using a social media contest or a giveaway template to find your target audience is probably the fastest and most effective way of doing so.

Your contest must appeal to your target audience. You can achieve this by choosing a prize that will attract your target audience. The entry method for your contest must also be in line with your audience’s interests (eg. a cooking contest for aspiring cooks).

What are your thoughts on social media contests? Have you tried hosting a social media contest before? Let us know in the comments below.

Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER, a marketing tool that helps brands build email lists, social followings, and revenue using viral giveaways, referral, and reward programs. After millions of dollars spent testing different marketing strategies at his marketing agency. He then also co-founded Hyax, a fast, conversion & design-focused course and funnel builder for creators.

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