Social Media Restaurant Contest Ideas: 4 Must-Know Tips

By ChowNowSep 9th, 2016

Grow your social media following with these restaurant contest ideas.

Most restaurant businesses have come to realize that social media is a vital piece of their overall restaurant marketing strategy. From foodie photos to Facebook check-ins, social media has a huge impact on brand awareness and customer traffic, especially when done right. However, you don’t have to stick to the same tactics as your restaurant neighbors – a creative social media campaign like a contest can generate buzz and enhance your brand personality. Take a look at these restaurant contest ideas made for social media.

4 Restaurant Contest Ideas for Social Media:

1. Set Clear Guidelines

Many restaurants make the mistake of starting social media contests without defined rules or a clear beginning or ending. With so many brands encouraging social media users to post photos of their product, your followers won’t feel compelled to participate without a clear shot at winning. Give your followers a fighting chance by communicating and ensuring that their submission will definitely be considered.

2. Be Creative

When we think of contests that generated tons of buzz for a brand, the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest easily comes to mind. The wild popularity of this contest is a clear indication that creativity is a powerful marketing tool. Don’t succumb to doing the same style of contests as every other restaurant brand. Instead, create a unique concept that integrates your customers day to day lives with your menu items. Check out Red Bull’s Put a Can on it contest for inspiration.

Customers are more likely to choose your restaurant if it has a branded mobile app.

3. Make Participation Easy

You may think that a creative contest may be complicated for followers to participate in, but Red Bull’s award-winning campaign shows that it doesn’t have to be. Your restaurant contest ideas shouldn’t be so complicated that they require a high level of effort to join – you’ll lose half of your participants from your lengthy instructions alone. Instead, make it so that your customers can easily participate while going about their day – a simple hashtag or Facebook like keeps the barrier to entry low and accessible.

4. Don’t Skimp on the Prize

While you already know that a contest requires a prize, make sure to put some thought behind it. Many restaurants assume that a 50% off coupon or a BOGO deal is enough to compensate the lucky winner, but rewarding a customer with something they can easily obtain from a Groupon deal is not the best display of customer service.

Quality restaurant contest ideas attract lots of participants by offering a prize that’s worth the effort of entering. You should reward your winners with something that’s exclusive or high-value. Here are some ideas:

  • A happy hour for 10 friends
  • Naming a menu item after the winner
  • Branded merchandise and/or cookbooks
  • A cooking class with your chefs
  • A special date night
  • A gift card for $50 or more

Creative prizes will have your followers going above and beyond to win – which means free publicity and new customers for you!

The best way to raise brand awareness, on and offline, is to do so organically, and a social media contest is a great way to accomplish this. A well-defined and creative contest that results with an awesome prize for the lucky winner is a sure-fire way to achieve your #restaurantgoals faster than you can say, “let the games begin!”

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