Spooktacular Contests across the Social Web

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 16 Oct, 2013

Social media is a unique marketing channel, because even though it is difficult to calculate a true ROI from this channel, fostering awareness and engagement on social networks can be considered invaluable.

In order to foster engagement, however, brands must implement social strategies that demand attention. This includes not only marketing internal content, but also creating content experiences that require audience participation. While there are many ways to encourage your audience to engage with social posts (check out 'Create Social Posts that Get Clicks'), one of the best ways is with contests.

In fact, social contests have many benefits. Not only can they boost your brand's engagement metrics, but they also boost visibility on the social Web, help brands grow their audience numbers and can even be used to grow email lists. And, with Halloween right around the corner, the social Web is currently crawling with contests - on every network from Facebook to Pinterest. Luckily, it's not too late to join in on the Halloween fun. Check out the brands below for some spooky social contest inspiration:


Brand: PetSmart
Contest Type: Pet Costume Contest

There are not many things that attract attention better than pets in costumes. PetSmart recognized this and created a social contest to capitalize on the cuteness. The contest has four categories to maximize engagement, and the pet supply company maintains social chatter throughout the duration of the promotion by picking multiple winners every week in addition to a grand prize winner and 20 runners up at the end of the contest. Plus, PetSmart is able to increase its visibility because audience members have the ability to vote on contest entries. It is important to note that PetSmart leveraged social media marketing platform Votigo to launch its Halloween-themed pet photo contest, but brands can also consider other platforms to run Facebook contests, like Shortstack or Wishpond.


Brand: Watch What Happens Live (Bravo)
Contest Type: Hashtag Costume Contest

Bravo's popular late night talk show with Andy Cohen launched a Twitter costume contest that is sure to cultivate a lot of user-generated content. Participants are required to tweet @Andy with the hashtag #WorkWitch (a play on Britney Spears's new song) to enter the contest. By using the hashtag to promote the contest, all entries can be found in one place, which allows participants to check out their competition. Brands who want to launch a similar type of hashtag contest can leverage platforms like Shoutlet or the aforementioned Votigo to do so.


Brand: BackBlaze
Contest Type: Scary Movie

If you want to get away from the typical Halloween photo contests, then take a play out of Backblaze's book. The online data backup company has launched a scary movie contest that requests participants to prepare a short video recreating a horror movie scene. The company also requires video entries to include the company's logo at the end of the video, which presents a great branding opportunity. It is important to note that this contest isn't exclusive to Google+, but the company has been promoting it on Google's social network in addition to sites like Twitter and Facebook.



Brand: Spirit Halloween
Contest Type: Best Halloween-Themed Board

Spirit Halloween leveraged social marketing company Piquora to launch its Pinterest contest, which required audience members to build a spooky board for a chance to win a $500 prize pack from the seasonal store. It is important to note, however, that since Spirit Halloween is only open for a limited amount of time, the contest has already ended. That said, the "Build A Haunt" promotion required audience members to create scary Pinterest boards that included Spirit Halloween products. This strategy not only increased the retailer's visibility on Pinterest, but it will also live on long after the contest ended. This is because the "Build A Haunt" boards will continue to be displayed on Pinterest and will provide consumers who are in the Halloween spirit with a lot of nice decorating ideas - most notably, decorations from Spirit Halloween. 



Brand: Cupid.com
Contest Type: Photo Contest

Dating site Cupid.com launched a Halloween photo contest that is a bit different from those previously mentioned. This is because instead of launching a costume exclusive contest, Cupid launched a Halloween-themed image contest, which means that images can include anything from costumes to carved pumpkins or frightful decorations. The company is awarding three winners with free access to its platform for a month. Participants must simply upload the photos to Instagram with the hashtag #halloweencupid. Brands looking to increase their engagement on the visual social network can create their own contest with aforementioned platforms like Piquora, Wishpond or Votigo, as well as Statigram, which is an Instagram-only analytics and marketing platform.