Creating a Social Media Contest

So, you want to run a social media contest? You’ve come to the right place!

This blog post is intended to provide your practice with a step-by-step process for creating a social media contest. Let’s start with the basics.

Before you build your contest, you must determine what kind of contest you plan to run. This will help you determine what your practice can get out of the contest and how someone can enter to win. If you need a refresh on the various types of contests, feel free to reference this blog post which goes over this in a bit more detail.

What should your contest post include?

Once you have determined the type of contest you want to run, it’s time to create your contest post. In the caption of your contest post, it’s important that you incorporate a detailed description that includes the contest guidelines, how to enter, when the contest ends, and how the winner will be chosen and contacted.

From what we know about social media algorithms, posts that have visuals tend to perform better and gain more visibility. For this reason, we encourage sharing a picture with your contest post. Ideally, you’ll want to share an image that will grab the attention of your followers. You may consider creating a graphic that says “Contest!” or sharing a photo of the service that your practice is giving away.

To widen the reach of the contest beyond your direct followers, include hashtags like #giveaway and #contest in your caption. These are common hashtags that are used frequently, which could increase the exposure of your post.

Below you will find a few sample templates we suggest using for your next contest. Feel free to utilize these templates and make any changes your practice finds appropriate for your contest.

Template 1: Increase Engagement

We’re giving away a free teeth whitening session! The contest ends on December 1, 2022, at 11:59 PM Pacific! Follow the rules below to enter!

  • Make sure you are following our practice
  • Like this post
  • Tag a friend in the comments (each tag = one entry!)

*Restrictions: You must be 18 years or older to win.

Template 2: User Generated Content

Calling all current and previous patients! We’re giving away two $100 gift cards to patients who share pictures of their beautiful smiles with us. The winners will be selected randomly. To enter, follow the directions below.

  • Make sure you are following us
  • Share a picture of your beautiful smile and tag us in the post
  • Make sure to use the hashtag #SesameSmileContest

The last day to make your post and enter the contest is November 1, 2022. Winners will be selected and announced on November 2, 2022. The winner will be contacted by DM from our account. Be sure to verify our account is contacting you to avoid scams.

*Guidelines: You must be a current or previous patient of ours.

How often should you post about your contest?

Since content is continuously being shared on social media, it’s important to keep your contest relevant and remind your followers the contest is running so that it doesn’t get lost in their timeline. For this reason, we encourage sharing your contest a few times prior to the deadline to ensure you get optimal views and entries.

Other than your initial contest post, we suggest either sharing your contest post to your story and/or creating new posts. Regardless, if you create a story or a new post, it is important to reference your original contest post so that followers know that they need to interact with it to be entered.

What happens once the contest is over?

Once the contest is over, it is time to pick your winner. Depending on the type of contest you chose and how many entries you received, there are a few different ways you can select a winner. This can be done either manually or automatically.

Manually Selecting a Winner

If you have a manageable number of entries, you may want to manually confirm that they have completed all of steps needed to enter. From there you can jot down their name on a piece of paper and put it into a container to pull from. If they have multiple entries, don’t forget to add their name multiple times to account for that. Once the contest is over, shuffle around the papers and draw a winner. You can also generate additional engagement to your contest by posting a video of you drawing the winning name!

Another way to manually pick a winner is to confirm the contest entries and add the names of the participants to a document, assigning each one a number. If someone has duplicate entries make sure you assign them to multiple numbers. At the end of the contest, you can use a random number generator to draw a number for your winner. These can be found online with a quick search.

Similar to the random number picker tool, there are also random name picker tools that can be found online. In this case, you would add various names to the tool, and it would randomly select one of the names you have listed.

Automatically Selecting a Winner

If you received a lot of entries, you may want to consider selecting a winner automatically. You can do this by creating an online contest using websites such as RafflePress, Osortoo, and Woobox to name a few.

When using one of these websites, you will be asked to provide a few details regarding your contest and how you want the winner to be selected. After you have filled everything out, you can run your contest. Once the contest is over, select the “Pick a Winner” option and these websites will automatically generate a winner for you.

Announcing the Contest Winner

Once a winner has been selected, it’s time to let them know. Since scams are known to happen on social media, it’s important that you reach out to the winner directly from your practice page to avoid any confusion regarding the legitimacy of the winner. For suggestions on the best ways to notify a winner, follow along below.

The first way to notify the contest winner is to update the caption on the original post. At the beginning of the caption, we suggest highlighting that the contest has ended and tagging the winner in the post. By doing so, the winner will receive a notification that they were tagged in your post and can easily access it to see the updated caption stating they won.

Another way to notify the winner is to reshare the original contest post to your story and tag the winner. Not only does this send a notification to the winner of the contest, but it also informs your followers that the contest is over and a winner has been selected.

Lastly, you can reach out to the winner via direct message on the platform where the contest was held. This is the most direct way to notify the winner. If the winner is skeptical at first and worried that it may be a scam, you can encourage them to contact your practice directly to confirm they are the winner.

We also recommend asking the winner if they are comfortable sharing a picture of themselves on social media. Not only does it highlight the winner, but it also can generate more of a following for your practice and get patients excited about future contests or events you may host!


Now that you have all the tools, it’s time to get started! If this blog was helpful for you, be sure to tag us in your next social media contest post. We can’t wait to see what you do!

Looking for some personalized support with setting up your contest post? Need some help boosting your social media presence? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, reach out to us today to learn more about our Sesame Social service.

—Nicole Gamble, Social Media Specialist, Sesame Communications

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Sesame is an industry leader in integrated, cloud-based marketing and patient-engagement solution designed exclusively for your practice. We know that effective patient communication is vital to the success of your practice and the efficiency of your team. With Sesame, you can take your practice to the next level, allowing you to concentrate on what’s really important – your patients!