• How to Pick a Winner for Social Media Contests

If you followed our guide to creating successful contests on social media, such as our guide to Instagram giveaways  and how to run a Facebook contest, then there’s no doubt you saw a ton of success. You likely had high user engagement, increased brand awareness, and maybe even got some new customers to boot. But all good things come to an end, and now your contest has ended. The last step of any social media contest is picking and announcing a winner. Here are some tips on how to pick a winner for social media contests.

how to pick a winner social media

Picking a winner depends on the type of contest you ran. If your contest was a like and share or a tag a friend contest, then picking a winner will be random. However, if you ran a Facebook photo contest or caption contest, then picking a winner will be more subjective.

Choosing the Best Entry for a Social Media Contest

If you laid out certain criteria for your contest, you’re going to have to evaluate who was most effective at meeting those criteria. For example, if you ran a photo contest, then you’ll need to pick the best photo of the bunch, whether it was based on aesthetics or uniqueness. This can be a bit tricky, as picking the best photo is subjective and depends on individual tastes. If your contest was subjective, make sure to let all the other participants know how a winner will be chosen. 

This is why it is in your best interest to give detailed instructions at the outset of your contest.  Not only will this help provide guidelines to those who want to enter the contest, but also to be used as a way to pick the winner when the promotional period is over.

There are also more quantitative ways to measure a winner. For example, if you ask participants to tag other users on Instagram or Facebook, you can pick a winner based on who actually followed directions.

How to Pick a Winner

With an objective contest like a “like and share” or “tag a friend”, picking a random winner is easy. This works best when there is no way for participants to stand out from the crowd. For example, if all someone had to do to enter the contest was use a certain hashtag on Twitter, there is no way one person could do it better than another. Therefore, it is only fair to pick a random winner from a list of names. It’s important to make sure to use a tool for this though, in order to be the most impartial to contestants.

Contest Winner Generator

The easiest way to impartially pick a winner is by using a pick a winner generator. These tools pick a random name or number from a list of entries. If you’re looking to find a pick a winner generator, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you with this. You could do it the old fashion way, and enter every single contestant’s name, but that would likely be way too time-consuming, especially if you had a ton of engagement. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that you can use to make picking a contest winner simple.

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Contest Capture

Contest Capture is best used for a Facebook contest. It works by exporting the ‘likes’ from a Facebook page offsite, and will yield a lot of names. This app won’t pick the winner for you, but will give you the names to enter into a random name generator like the one listed below.

Random Result

Random Result is not only a pick-a-winner generator; it’s a random result generator for almost anything. Use it to pick a winner for a social media contest by choosing the option to pick items in a list.

Good Luck Fairy

The ‘Good Luck Fairy’ tool is definitely the easiest tool to use for a Facebook contest. All you have to do is take the URL from your Facebook post, and enter into the tool. Then the tool will give you four winners based on different criteria to choose from:

  • A winner from all who liked a Page post
  • A winner from all who commented on a Page post
  • A winner from all who liked and commented on a Page post
  • The comment with the most likes

This gives you more control over who to pick, however, it isn’t random and requires more of a subjective interpretation.

Random Name Picker

Random Name Picker is an option that works best for small contests or contests that don’t integrate with the other tools. This works by picking a winner from a list of names, entered manually.  Simply gather a list of names, or use a tool like Contest Capture. Then add one name to each line. When you’re done the tool will randomly select a name.


Woobox is an all-inclusive tool that can help you to not only run a successful social media contest, but to build all your social media pages to the best they can be. A few of the features include collecting email addresses, tracking referrals and making contests compatible on mobile devices. And of course, it can be used as a giveaway winner generator.

Woobox is free to join, however, you will have to pay to use it regularly. That may be something to consider, seeing as their prices are affordable and may yield a bigger profit in the long run.

How to Announce the Winner

Once you’ve done your due diligence in selecting the best contest entry (or used the random contest winner generator) it’s time to make the giveaway announcement. To make your announcement, it’s a good idea to take the different social media platforms you used to share your contest, as well as e-mail.

To start, make sure to thank all those who participated. All of the people that participated in your contest have done a ton to help grow your brand, whether it was sharing a link on their Facebook timeline or signing up to your email list.  They’re willing to accept the fact that they lost, but they still expect common courtesy.

Also, you don’t want to leave them hanging! Let them know there’s another contest coming up, or promote an event or sale, to give people the option of staying tuned to your business activities. Make sure to include your business social media pages in the email.

Contact the winner of the contest to let them know they won. If you’re giving away a physical prize, get the necessary contact information or make arrangements to meet with the winner to give them the prize. To top it all off, politely ask for a picture of the winner with their prize to show off to your social media followers or take a picture with the winner when you meet them to share online.


Congratulations! You’ve done everything you need to do to create massive marketing from a social media contest. Now all that’s left is to do is create your contest! 


  1. Aageboi says:

    Wow! Cool post. You make a nice post. It will help us a lot. I want to say thank you very much 🙂

  2. Thank you so much 🙂 I am slowly wrapping my head around this concept and your articles are very helpful

  3. Random Draws says:

    Great article. Thought we would add ourselves to the list :). We have a super easy UX and do nothing but random draws for contests / competitions.

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