12 Tips on How to Run a Viral Video Contest


With the advent of the internet, many things have been revolutionized, and marketing is no exception. In this era, advertising has evolved for the better. More than ever, a producer can easily market the goods and services offered by his brand to the required audience instantly. Many thanks to the numerous social media platforms at our fingertips nowadays.

There are numerous ways to draw potential customers to a product on social media and create awareness about your brand. One such great way is to run a video contest. Let us look at what a “video contest” is all about and how to run one.

It is no news that video is probably the most enticing and intriguing content in the social media space. Some argue that video content dominates the internet as it is what people find interesting the most. Because most people engage in watching videos on the internet, advertising your product or services through video will no doubt be one of the most brilliant marketing choices you will ever make for your business.  A good way to do that is by running a video contest.

More businesses are now exploring using video content to market their brands, which means running a video contest isn’t out of place.

Benefits of Running a Video Contest

A video contest is simply a marketing strategy that asks the contestants to make a video of themselves on a particular subject and gives them a chance to win a prize. The benefits of a video contest include but are not limited to the following;

  • A video contest is a good way for a brand to increase its social media followers. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Generate more website traffic ( with the help of advanced SEO techniques )
  • It is also a quick way for a brand to build relationships with its customers.
  • Video contest also offers you the opportunity to get your hands on many user-generated pieces of content for your promotions with the creators’ permission.
  • Increase the number of subscribers to your email newsletter.
  • Improve social media engagement. 
  • Get more people to subscribe to your YouTube channel, among other numerous benefits. 

A video contest can be an enter-to-vote video contest, a hashtag video contest, and the like, which can be run on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo or websites meant for such contests, and finally, on your brand’s website. 

Further Reading: 6 Benefits of Running Social Media Contests

12 Tips on How to Run a Video Contest

Below are tips on how to run a video contest.

1. Set Specific Objectives

hashtag video contest example #IRENAYouthContest
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As a brand, you cannot just wake up and decide to run a video contest for the fun of it. You must have specific objectives or goals for deciding to run one. Setting clear goals is the first step to running a successful video contest. You can also use simple project management software to ensure the contest runs smoothly. 

This will also help evaluate the contest at the end of the day, whether or not your set target was met. Why do you want to run a video contest?

  • Is it about generating more traffic to your brand site? 
  • Increase your brand’s social media followership? 
  • Is it to create awareness about your new product or services offered by your brand? 
  • Increase sales? 
  • To get user-generated content? 
  • Is it aimed at increasing the number of your email newsletter subscribers? 
  • Retain existing customers or attract new ones? 

Giving honest answers to the questions above goes a long way toward determining whether your video contest will be a successful one or not. Your goals should be in tandem with your business model, marketing objectives, and convictions then and should be feasible as well. If your video contest is properly planned, you are already halfway to success.

Further Reading: 6 Twitter and Social Media Contest Ideas Worth Exploring

2. Know the Potential Contestants

Chicago Blackhawks fan video contest example
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A brand does not organize a video contest for its team members or staff but for audiences. So, it is important to know the desires of the total strangers you’re organizing a contest for. Which prize do they desire the most? 

Surveying your target audience is very necessary to know what they get excited about and all of that. Getting to know them will help you organize a contest where they will be delighted to participate. This can be done by creating an online survey or running a poll on Twitter. This is necessary so that you won’t organize a contest no one will be interested in.

3. Offer Enticing Prizes 

use enticing prizes for your video contest ideas
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The first thing that will probably spark someone’s interest in partaking in your video contest is its prize. People are mostly concerned about what’s in it for them before making decisions. Choosing an attractive prize isn’t something to overlook if you want to run a successful video contest that will command attention. Offer a prize that your target audience will think is worth competing for.

The prize could be cash, exclusive experiences, gift cards, discounts, or giving out free products. Make mouthwatering offers, and the audience will find it hard to resist. As earlier stated, the decision should be entirely based on what the audience most desires. And yes, the prize should also be something relevant to your brand. That’s the essence of organizing the contest: to draw attention to your brand.

4. Make the Contest Fun with Simple Rules of Participation

Make the Contest Fun with Simple Rules of Participation

Increasing participation in your video contest is a great hurdle. One way to beat that is by making it fun. Most people already live a boring life and wouldn’t want to get involved with additional boring activities. This is why the contest should be fun in every sense of the word. 

The theme should be an interesting one. People should have the impression that they are entertaining themselves while competing for a worthy prize. The subject can be asking contestants to make videos of TikTok dance sequences, contests on music videos, making a design for your product, and the likes. You can use presentation templates to share the idea with your team so everyone can decide on the best theme for the contest. 

Choosing a fun theme will undoubtedly go a long way toward helping the contestants be more creative while making their videos. Fun videos also easily go viral, which means more people will likely participate.

Another important thing to consider when organizing a video contest is the rules of participation. Making strict rules and being too demanding will discourage potential participants. Numerous people will not like to be subjected to numerous tasking rules because they want to participate in a video contest. Make the contest guidelines as straightforward as possible. 

The basic things that should be clearly stated in unambiguous terms in the guidelines include:

  • The eligibility criteria: Who is qualified to participate in your video contest? What makes someone qualified to enter the contest? 
  • Age restrictions: Is your contest limited to people of a particular age range?
  • Geographical restrictions: where should one come from or reside to be able to take part in your contest? Is your contest limited to people of a particular region? 
  • How long is the contest scheduled to last? 
  • Method of winner’s selection: How do you intend to select the winner at the end of the day? What are the metrics involved? 
  • What should be the length of the video? 
  • What hashtag should be included in the entry? 

One thing to keep in mind is that the entry rules should be in alignment with the contest’s goals.

5. Make Legal Consultations 

It is important to make sure you’re not flouting the rules and regulations guiding marketing or otherwise in your country in the course of your video contest. It is advisable to consult a reputable lawyer to avoid getting into trouble, especially if your contest involves minors, like a dance team video contest for high school students.

6. Promote the Video Contest Everywhere

When all things are in order and you’re ready to kickstart the video contest, the next thing on your mind is to promote it properly. Before launching your video contest:

  • Create eagerness in people to want to participate.
  • Create an atmosphere of strong expectation for the contest.
  • Make people look forward to participating in the contest
  • Build a buzz ahead of launching the contest. 

You can make a schedule of diverse promotional posts on your brand’s social media handles ahead of the contest, informing potential contestants about the contest and what it is all about, the launching date and the deadline, and what they stand to gain out of it. This should be at least a week before the contest begins.

Other ways to create awareness about the contest are through blog posts, email marketing, and running social media ads. Engaging the services of influencers is also not a bad idea. Influencers that have your target audience, of course.

Further Reading: 12 Content Promotion Ideas to Supercharge Your Digital Marketing in 2022

7. Make an Event of the Contest 

One way to create more buzz around your video contest is to plan an event around it. This is more suitable for talent video contests. Asking people for on-the-spot submissions at live events makes it easier for attendees to participate in the contest, increasing the entries. This also helps in advertising the contest. 

You should also endeavor to broadcast the event. Hosting a live stream of the event while collecting video submissions also helps in creating awareness and makes participants more competitive with their entries. This also improves the quality of user-generated content you’ll get at the end of the day.

In addition, you can use apps like TrustPulse to display popups on your brand website to create additional awareness.

8. Make the Contest Social 

Infinix S3 review to win - make your video contest social
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The power of social media in today’s world cannot be overemphasized. If you want to make your contest go viral on the internet, employing social media platforms is the way to go. Ask the contestants to share their entries on their various social media pages.

You might also consider using a contest app like RafflePress, Outgrow, or Gleam, each which provide different ways for users to enter the competition.

9. Engage Social Media and Promotion Websites 

If you want many people to participate in your contest, you can’t just organize it and go back to relaxing. There is lots of work to be done if you must have a good number of entries. The easiest way you can easily create more awareness of your contest is through social media. Post the information about the contest on your various handles and ask participants to share it. Also, ask the participants to tag people in the post’s comment section to create more awareness.

Engaging the services of contest promotion websites is also an effective way to promote your contest. Listing your contest on websites dedicated to promoting contests will give it more visibility and increase the number of entries. Here are some listicles which contain a bunch of websites you can submit your contest to:

10. Choosing A Winner

Another critical stage in running a video contest is selecting the winner. Make sure you adhere to the rules you’ve already laid down regarding picking a winner. This way, you will show the contestants that you were transparent in choosing the winner. This will also build trust in people to participate in future contests you will organize. 

A way to motivate people to participate in your future contests is to promote the winner you’ve picked. Make a post about the winner on your social media handles and your brand website. This will also generate additional traffic for your site.

11. Repurpose Contents from the Contest 

Some video contest organizers make the common mistake of allowing the submitted video content to waste after the contest. After the contest is over, a wise thing to do is make a compilation of the amazing user-generated content (UGC) the participants sent in during the contest.

With the creators’ permission, you can use the contents in favor of your business by resharing them on the social media handles of your brand or even in a blog post. If the video contest was about a review of your products, you could use them as testimonials. Highlighting the videos on the social media pages of your brand will give the participants a sense of self-worth and that their effort was appreciated, which will make them happily participate in your future contests. This will also, at the same time, draw attention to your products.

Further Reading: Repurposing Content: 15 Specific and Popular Methods

12. Evaluate the Results

The last but not the least of the tips is to evaluate your performance after the contest is over and a winner has been picked. This is for you to analyze the whole process to discover mistakes to avoid running another contest next time. There are various great tools you can use to achieve this. MonsterInsights is a good example. With the aid of MonsterInsights, you can determine the most effective strategy that attracts huge traffic to your website. This way, you can decide which strategies to concentrate on for your next contest and even which ones to not use again.

Creating a video contest is a great way to keep your audience engaged and excited about your brand. if you have considered this strategy without knowing how to go about it, take advantage of the tips in this post. 

Not ready for a video contest but want to do a quick giveaway contest? Check out these further posts to help you:

Hero photo by Marina Hanna on Unsplash

Author Bio

Andrej Fedek is the creator and InterCool Studio. As an experienced marketer, he is driven by turning leads into customers. His goals always include White Hat SEO. Besides being a boss, he is a real team player with a great sense of equality.



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