UGC hashtag contest

How to Create a Successful UGC Hashtag Contest (Step By Step)

Want to expand your audience reach and increase customer interactions with your brand? Create a buzz on social media with a UGC hashtag contest campaign. Brands across the world have escalated their marketing ROI with innovative hashtag campaigns. If they can, you can too. 

What is a UGC Hashtag Contest?

Similar to a social media contest, a UGC Hashtag contest invites people to do an activity and share their entries on the platform. A UGC hashtag campaign is mainly used for creating brand awareness and increasing reach. It is a very common marketing strategy used by brands. You can also involve influencers to expand your reach and participation.

Examples of UGC hashtag contests are:

  1. GoPro’s Million Dollar Contest – GoPro decided to reward its best creators. They set aside a million dollars and released a contest for the users of the HERO9 black camera. The contest generated a lot of buzz on social media.
  2. ‘Lays’ Do Us A Flavour – ‘Lays’ launched a campaign on social media and invited its customers to share a new flavor idea for their chips on social media and set a prize of a million dollars. This also created hype on social media as people were excited that a small idea could win them a big prize.

How to run a UGC hashtag contest?

The steps to create a hashtag contest for social media platforms are very simple. Here is the step-by-step process for you. 

1. Make a Hashtag

The starting point for running a hashtag contest is to create a hashtag first. The hashtag represents the main idea of your contest. It is the connecting point for all the user-generated content (participant’s entries, your brand’s posts, and winners’ feature posts). So first, think of an innovative contest idea and create a hashtag around it. You must create a hashtag that is relevant to your brand, product, or service. Remember, the hashtag for the contest should be short and easy to remember for your audience. 

2. Set Guidelines

When creating your hashtag contest, it is important to create a set of guidelines. It will give the right direction to your hashtag contest. Decide on the following things:

  • what will be the rules of the contest
  • how participants will share their entries
  • how the winners will be decided, etc.

3. Fix a Prize for the Contest Winners

The prize is not just a gift that you give to your hashtag contest winners. It is a tool to entice the viewers to engage and participate in the contest. So fix gifts and prizes for the winners that are useful for them. Promote the rewards with your contest’s hashtag so that people are motivated to engage and participate in the contest.

4. Choose the Social Media Platforms and Promote Contest

Once done with the planning, it’s time to execute the hashtag contest. So choose a social media platform where you will run your campaigns. There are many social media platforms, but pick the ones where your audience is present, active, and can easily participate in the contest. For hashtag campaigns, we suggest Instagram and Twitter as the top options. These platforms are most popular for hashtag campaigns. 

Promote your hashtag contest a little early on social media to create a buzz and hype your audience. Show exciting rewards, any previous contest’s participation, or involve influencers to promote your hashtag contest.

5. Award the Winners

Close the contest on the day you plan to do it. Filter the best entries and select the winners. Send the awards to the winners with a personalized note. Feature them on your social media pages. 

6. Collect UGC from the Contest

When your hashtag contest is live, you will start receiving entries from participants. They will create posts and share them on social media while tagging your brand. All of this content is user-generated content. Since the content is created completely by your customers, this organic content creation will result in expanded reach and engagement for your brand. You can collect all this user-generated content through a social media aggregator tool and present them on your website or other marketing touchpoints.

Follow these steps, and you can run your hashtag contest smoothly. Get amazing benefits by leveraging UGC.

UGC hashtag campaign

Benefits of using hashtag contest campaigns

  1. Expand your brand reach and visibility: Hashtag contests can easily go viral on social media, which means you can get a lot of attention from your customers. It’s an excellent way to widen your target audience’s reach.
  2. Build customer loyalty and engage with customers: Creating a hashtag contest is a direct way to communicate and connect with your customers. You can also start engaging with your customers through hashtag contests.
  3. Content for the next marketing campaign: You can feature some of your best UGC posts from the contest in your next marketing campaign. It’s a win-win case as you get free content, and your customers are happy to get featured publicly. 


After reading this guide to run a hashtag contest, you are ready to launch your campaign. When following the steps, make sure you keep your contest innovative. Your audience will love to do something new and connect with your brand. Try to involve your product and service to do your brand promotion.

Think of a creative contest idea and launch it as discussed in this guide.

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