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Getting the Most Out of Your Holiday Contests

It is just me, or has the holiday season gotten a whole lot less jolly in the past couple of years?

Aside from the usual shopping anxiety, I’ve been hearing a lot about petitions and strikes from frustrated retail workers. And don’t think it’s just Target taking the heat—you can hear similar stories about Walmart, Simon Malls and Staples, as well. Between this and the War on Christmas, the seasonal spirit could quickly get exorcised from your social media contests. Perhaps even worse, you might be wondering if your holiday-themed contests will receive a negative backlash, or even apathy. Are consumers just burnt out on the season?

Joy to the world! The good news is that successful social media contests can still be run during the holiday season without worrying too much about these factors. The key is to stand out from your peers. Below are three simple steps to show off your business:

Focus on your brand. Very few businesses stay on course during the holiday season. It is so easy to throw some reindeer on your Facebook cover photo and call it a day. I have a suggestion: Start with what makes your brand unique and branch out from there. If you’re the owner of a tanning salon, do you really want to focus on snow and elves? Instead, advertise having that beach look while everyone else is stuffing turkey into their mouths and looking pasty. Play to your strengths and people will take notice.

Avoid gift cards. We all know gift cards are a major seller at many retailers during this season. Why would you give those away? Don’t do it. Instead, offer your consumers discounts or coupons for entering your social media contests. Encourage them to shop with you, instead of simply giving someone a free ride. There are many other great ideas for contest prizes in this Yahoo Small Business article.

The C word. Christmas is huge and we all know it. For the most part, it drives Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. While you shouldn’t neglect the jolly fat man, consider the other major holidays customers may celebrate. Perhaps you run a deli. Why not run a Hanukkah-themed contest? Or perhaps research and demographics suggest your brand would benefit from showcasing an important day like Kwanzaa? Try something different! Your competition might not be paying attention to this niche. Of course, there are other reasons to stay neutral about different celebrations, at the very least.


The holidays are extremely important to any retailer. In the craziness of Black Friday sales and store decorations, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by online contests. But if you get creative with your brand and do a bit of research, you can stand out from your competitors and use social media to pull in more of those seasonal consumers.

What contests to you have planned for the holiday season?