Race day weekend has come and gone and regardless of how you feel about the outcome, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 was one for the books.

Now, I am not a huge race fan, or even a moderate fan, but this event did result in some excitement and nail biting of my own. This year for the 500, we took the opportunity to create a little friendly competition for the Facebook followers and loyal customers of one of my clients.

Contests are a great way to raise brand awareness and get customers to interact with social media efforts. An attention-grabbing theme, a worthy prize and simple, clear instructions are all key elements of creating an intriguing and effective contest.


The Indianapolis 500 created the perfect theme to ask people to participate and have a little fun. It was timely, well-known and created an easy question for people to answer. Who will be the winner? A timely and relevant theme isn’t always necessary to build a contest around but it can provide a time frame and added interest.


Next, you need to know what the prize will be and how the winner will receive it. There are a few easy ways to do this; gift cards, discounts or cold hard cash just to name a few. However you decide to reward the winner, the prize needs to be worth the time and trouble to enter. If you are asking people to open an email or navigate back to the website, it has to be worth it. For our Indianapolis 500 contest, in honor of the 100th running, my client gave away $100 to 5 randomly selected people who guessed the winner of the race correctly.

Spreading the word

A contest is no fun if no one plays along. We used both social media and their email newsletter to invite people to participate. It helped that this client had an engaged community prior to launching the contest. Using a strong graphic to attract attention we drove people to the company website for the detailed rules and entry form.

The contest helped grow their email list as people shared the entry form with others. And when people navigate to the website to enter, there is a good chance they will take a look around the website while they are there.

Picking the winner

In some contests, the winner is chosen according to when they enter. For this contest, we had a longer timeline. By randomly selecting the winners at the race’s conclusion, we had more time to run the contest and more people had the opportunity to submit their guesses.

This particular contest was a lot of fun to run and it resulted in more visits to the website and people sharing content on social media. The winner will be chosen this week and I am anxious to see who will take home the prize. In case you missed it, which is difficult to do if you live in the Indianapolis area, the winner of the 500, Alexander Rossi, had a bit of luck taking home the win, much like the winners of the Chapman Indianapolis 500 contest.

Running a contest is a nice addition to a social media plan. Use our starter kit to launch your program.

Social Media Starter Kit

Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.