How to Design a Viral Video Contest for Social Media

This article is about how to create a viral video contest. In this article, we'll discuss what a viral video contest is and how it works. Plus, the key success factors for viral video contests and how to leverage them to your advantage.

how to design a viral video contest for social media
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The organic reach of a viral video contest is unparalleled when you use social media platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube. Even still, some top brands do not run video contests at all, which means you have a major opportunity to capture your competitors’ audiences and customers!

If you want to know how to get a flood of participants, leads, and sales, follow our tips on how to design a viral video contest. Read on to learn how to go viral with a video social media contest that increases brand awareness and boost sales.

Let’s get started!


  • What are the key success factors for viral video contests?
  • What type of contest videos go viral?
  • How do online video contests work?


What Is a Viral Video Contest?

An online video contest is a contest in which participants submit videos they created as contest entries. The contest Sponsor will then judge the video entries and select a winner. Typically, the video that is selected as the video contest winner is the most creative video or most watched video.

Today we’re going to talk about how to create a viral online video contest. An online video contest helps you leverage your participants to have them create user-generated content (UGC) for your marketing. Thanks to the viral nature of social media, this type of contest will help to get massive exposure and engagement for your brand.

What Should Your Viral Video Contest Rules Include?

Another critical step to designing your video contest is to work with a contest administrator to draft your video contest rules and regulations. With this, you’ll be able to ensure that you obtain the right permissions to use participants’ video UGC in your marketing.

You also need to decide if you will have the participants submit their video for a chance to win. Here are some other details that your video contest official rules should include:

  • What are the eligibility requirement for participant in your viral video contest?
  • Does your contest have a minimum age requirement?
  • Is your contest void in certain jurisdictions?
  • What is the form of entry for your contest?
  • Can contest participants submit multiple entries?
  • How will you draw the contest winner?
  • Will you have more than one winner?

When you create your entry methods, make sure that they still make it as easy as possible for video contest participants in order to maximize the number of entrants you get. If you also have a profile on the social media platform where contest participants will upload their videos, consider making it a requirement to watch a video from your brand.

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Use a Contest Platform

Video engagement can be complicated to track across video platforms. However, if you use the video platform directly to host your video contest, it’s easy for entrants to get distracted by other content on the platform. A viral video contest will also involve a large number of entries and extensive viewing time by many participants, so technical performance is important as well.

To ensure that you get maximum engagement from your video contest, work with a contest platform to publish a contest to its own giveaway landing page will bring the best results. It’s also easier for your participants to remember and bookmark rather than having to search through videos on your social profile page.

When you begin sharing your contest, you’ll also then have a dedicated link for your brand that you can host giveaways on permanent so that you can enjoy residual traffic.


Video Contest FAQ

These are some questions that brands typically have about how to create a new video contest:

How to Accept Video Submissions

The contest entry process should be streamlined so that all users submit their video contest entries to the same platform. Tell your participants to upload their video submissions to a video hosting site like YouTube and then post the share link when they complete your contest entry form.

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Video Contest Rules Legal Concerns

Video contests are legal as long as you ensure that your promotion is only available to entrants who are legally permitted to enter. To maximize the number of contest participants, your contest should also be free to enter. Make sure to review the lottery laws that apply to all potential participants.

Data Collection and Privacy Policy

Your contest needs to have a clear user-generated content (UGC) policy and provide details on how you collect, use, and store personally identifiable information (PII). You are required to obtain explicit permission from video contest participants before you can use their UGC in your brand’s marketing.

Is Contest Management Necessary?

Contest administration is recommended if you plan to run a video contest. A contest administrator can help you draft contest official rules to ensure that your contest complies with social media platform TOS. A contest platform may or may not offer contest marketing services. If you want your contest to go viral, it’s recommended to work with a contest marketing company as well.


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Why Do Video Contests Go Viral?

Why do viral contests go viral? The easy answer is contest marketing. However, the hard part is getting it just right. Whether you use YouTube, Twitch, or TikTok to host your video contest, you should be aware of these tips that can help you maximize contest participation and engagement.


TikTok Viral Video Contest

Here are some tips to help your video contest go viral on TikTok:

Viral videos on TikTok must get 300-500 views within half an hour of being published to be considered viral.

Relevant and trending hashtags are considered as a ranking factor on TikTok. So if you want participants to find your contest fast, make sure that your contest appears under relevant searches to your brand name, products and services or designated contest hashtag. To demonstrate that your brand is aware of the latest trends on TikTok, consider incorporating some trending content into your contest advertising.

Use your TikTok Business account to bring in more visitors and sales to your TikTok video contest by utilizing the optimization features. Optimizing your video contest for the TikTok algorithm will help you to get better results. At the same time, you’ll also gain insights on your content’s performance and participant behavior.


YouTube Viral Video Contest

Here are some tips to help your video contest go viral on YouTube:

Viral YouTube videos take less than 2.5 days to appear on the Trending page. As a result, you should start a YouTube promotion as soon as you publish your videos because the chances of it trending even just 72 hours later are significantly lower.

Make the YouTube front page if you want your video contest to go viral. Viral video contests on YouTube have videos that manage to make the YouTube front page are shown sitewide regardless of users content viewing personalization options. If you want to see the types of videos that appear in the YouTube front page, monitor the Trending list to see the videos that are receiving so much traffic that it alerted YouTube’s algorithms.

The best part? With a viral video contest and hundreds, or even thousands of contest video entries, every video is another chance for your brand and your contest to go viral online!

Feature your contest on your YouTube Channel homepage. Don’t make users search through your channel for your contest! Make it easy for them to find by featuring it on your home page. You can even make a playlist for your contest marketing videos. This is also helpful for maximizing participation and engagement if you use YouTube Ads to promote your contest.


Twitch Viral Video Contest

Here are some tips to help your video contest go viral on Twitch:

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Collaborate with other Twitch streamers. Collaborative streams have a higher chance of going viral on Twitch than solo ones. Get popular streamers to promote your contest or even better participate themselves in your video contest. When your fans see you working with their favorite streamers, they are likely to share that stream and promote your contest to their friends.

Promote your Twitch video contest across all social media platforms. Given that the majority of Twitch stream viewers come from other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, it’s important that you share your Twitch video contest on those social media channels as well.


How to Build Up Buzz Before Your Viral Video Contest Starts

Before your video contest goes live, you need to get your fans excited. Contest marketing for your video contest will create the anticipation and excitement that will attract participants to enter your promotion.

The best way to build anticipation for a contest is to design an entire campaign around your contest launch date. Make sure to follow our best promotional tips for best results:

Don’t forget about the power of multiple entries. This will help your contest get started faster, increasing the chances that your video contest goes viral.

Viral Contest Video Ideas

In addition to trends, entertainment is a big part of the trends on all video platforms. When it comes to video contest ideas that will help you go viral, stick to proven themes. Comedy, how-to and style, lifestyle, gym inspiration, food videos, and pet videos will unite your entire audience.

Here is a list of viral video contest ideas:

  1. Video caption contest
  2. Dance challenge
  3. Sports event video
  4. UGC video contest
  5. Video product review contest
  6. Holiday video contest
  7. Funny home video contest
  8. Cooking video contest
  9. Gratitude challenge video contest
  10. Choose your prize video contest
  11. Pet Halloween video contest

If you need help with designing the right customer experience for your contest, a contest company can help with contest administration and provide tips on how to design a video contest.

Next Steps: Get Contest Management Quotes

The best thing about video contests is almost any video can go viral. While the majority of trending videos on social media fall into just a few categories, there is a viral video that will attract thousands of views from consumers in your industry and across the internet if you get the right formula for how to design a viral video contest!

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