Apartment Marketing Digital Marketing Multifamily Social Media

The Ultimate Guide to Running Social Media Contests for Your Community


Running a contest on social media might seem a bit daunting, but there is an enormous benefit to doing so. Social media contests give your apartment community the chance to increase engagement, promote a leasing special, generate resident content or gain recognition on your property’s social media. You can have fun while achieving your goal and increase engagement on your property’s social media. So, how is it all done? Let’s look at it step-by-step.


Apartment social media contest post.

Choose a Prize

Choose a prize that appeals to your residents. A common prize that we see apartment communities offer is a $100 Visa Gift Card.  Everyone likes money, right? Other prizes may include goodie bags or gift cards to local popular eateries and establishments.

Choose an Entry Method and Theme

Choose an entry method that fits your goal.  You can run a resident photo contest if you are looking to generate resident-focused content and it’s perfect for increasing engagement and awareness from the people that live at your community. Looking to promote a leasing special? Have the entries “like” a post highlighting your leasing special and/or tag their friends in a post’s comment section to enter.


Instagram post displaying apartment community pool.

Property Photo Contests

Property photo contests are a fantastic way to attract resident-generated content that doubles as content you can share down the road. For this type of contest, residents take photos of certain aspects of the property and share those photos on your community’s social channels or on their own accounts for a chance to win a prize.

As mentioned before, this creates more property-centric content for you to share over time and increases your property’s visibility to other potential residents. The contest can involve residents sharing photos of their favorite amenities or landscape photos of the property.


Social media post displaying Halloween costume contest for apartment community marketing.

Theme and Seasonal Contests

Theme and seasonal contests work well during certain times of the year where they are relevant and timely. A pet costume contest is a great way to increase engagement for your pet-friendly property around Halloween. Do you have a student housing property? A photo contest depicting student life can get residents to share their lifestyle and highlight the accessibility that your property provides in relation to a nearby campus.


Social media post displaying a pet photo contest for an apartment community's marketing efforts.

Contest Hashtag and Property Tag

Create a hashtag specific to your contest so that it is easy to search and identify.  Ideally, you want to use a succinct hashtag that incorporates your property’s name and the theme of the contest. Require the contestants to not only use the identifying hashtag, but also tag your property’s account in their post. Remember, you can never own a hashtag, so keeping it unique will help you discover the entries when you search the hashtag.

Privacy Settings

You may run into issues with users who have their posts set to private on certain platforms (Instagram or Facebook).  This creates a problem with contests where the “most likes” wins. Even if the user tags you or uses the contest hashtag you will not be able to view their post. For this reason, it may be best to clarify privacy settings in your contest terms or have the winner selected at random.

Contest Guidelines on Social Platforms

Check the most up-to-date guidelines for each social media platform before creating your contest.  Violating the guidelines on a social platform could bring an abrupt end to your awesome contest. Get familiar with each social network’s contest rules to make sure you’re staying within the confines of what is allowed.

Facebook Contest Guidelines

Instagram Contest Guidelines

Twitter Contest Guidelines

Promote Your Contest

Creating a contest flyer and posting to your social media accounts is just the beginning. If you have a budget for Facebook advertising, use proper targeting to amplify awareness about your contest. We advise uploading your resident email list to Facebook, so that you can serve ads directly to them.  Do you have a resident newsletter? Your contest deserves a place on your next distribution. Last but not least, you can also print out flyers and post them in high foot traffic areas of your community to notify residents on-site.

Monitor Contest

Search for your contest hashtag and property tags on social media. If you don’t see any submissions after running the contest for a week, this may be an indicator that you need to promote the contest more. You may have residents and entrants ask questions about the contest details on your social media accounts, so reply to them immediately to avoid further confusion.

Contest Follow Up

Go through your submissions and select your winner based on your contest terms. Verify that the winner is a resident if the contest is resident-only, or you may need to message contestants to confirm their name.  Notify the winner and announce them on your social platforms as soon as possible so as to avoid receiving lots of “who won?” questions.  You can post photos from the winner and other entries to showcase all the great submissions you saw during the contest!

That about wraps up this guide to running a social media contest for your apartment community. See? It isn’t as daunting as you thought. Of course, GTMA is always here to help kick things off for you. Feel free to drop us a question or feedback in the comments delow or on Twitter at @GoToMyApartment. Good luck with your awesome social media contests!

Apartment Marketing Digital Marketing Multifamily Social Media




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