5 Family Day Social Media Contests to Engage Canadians

Almost every niche includes people with families. With a little creative thinking, you can figure out what type of social media marketing will draw them out on Family Day (and other provincial celebrations in February). Contests are an irresistible magnet for families, be it for the prize or bragging rights.

Family Day is celebrated in a growing number of Canadian provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Other provinces celebrate different holidays on the third Monday in February.

  • Islander Day is celebrated in Prince Edward Island
  • Nova Scotia celebrates Heritage Day
  • Manitoba celebrates Louis Riel Day

Yukon Heritage Day is also celebrated in February, but it’s on the 25th.

If you’re running social media ads specifically for one of these February holidays, remember to adjust your targeting to specific provinces or at least limit them to Canada to get the most bang for your buck.

Social Media Contests for Family Day

Why contests and giveaways? Social media contests and giveaways are all about engagement and actionable data. They pack more punch than traditional social media marketing due to the sharing potential, which you can encourage with entry requirements and features like bonus entries. It’s also a brilliant way to score coveted User Generated Content (UGC), such as photos and videos.

1. Photo Contests

Uploading a photo isn’t difficult to do and people love showing off their images. Make the photo theme easy to pull off, such as pictures of families using your product or a theme that relates to your niche (like pet photos for a pet niche).

Photos engage by nature and can be a valuable type of UGC (include a usage waiver with the entry so you can use the photo afterwards). The whole community can be involved with deciding the winner by voting on the photo. That brings in more traffic to your website or social media page.

Photo caption contests are fun and easy too. Just post a photo of anything related to families and your niche, and ask for captions or headlines. You can choose a winner or turn it into a voting contest. Add a twist by adding the winner’s caption to the photo in meme-style, then publish it on social media when you announce the winner.

If you’re comfortable with it, share photos of your own family (they don’t have to show faces).

2. Video Contest

Some of the most valued UGC, are videos. Have entrants create a video with their family featuring your products. Include a waiver that allows you to use the submission to promote your products after the contest has closed. These videos provide social proof with a high level of legitimacy. You can choose the winners or double the impact with community voting.

3. Sweepstakes / Giveaways

Giveaways appeal to many people because they’re easy to enter. Entrants only have to enter their name and minimal contact information and they’re in.

Giveaways are an effective way to grow your email list, increase followers, boost engagement and drive sales with follow-up funnels.

4. Voting Contest

Voting contests encourage brand interaction and can be used for market research whenever you want to try something new, such as a new product or additional service. Voting can also be combined with other types of contests.

The greatest marketing angle that comes with voting is you’ll not only gain the personal information of the entrants, but also the voters if you require an email address to vote (if you can persuade them to give you permission). You’ll even reach potential customers by encouraging voters to share after they’ve voted.

5. Platform-Specific Contests

You can run contests on specific platforms with some basic knowledge of how each network works.

For example:

  • Ask entrants to create a board on Pinterest that’s related to their family and your products. Have them submit the board link to enter the contest. You can invite the community to vote on which one is best or decide the winner by random draw.
  • Instagram is also a popular contest platform, with hashtag contests being most popular.
  • Have visitors upload videos in a YouTube contest.
  • Comment/sharing contests are popular on Facebook and Twitter.

Regardless of the social media platform you choose, you’ll increase followers and engagement and gather more UGC. Go over the TOS for each platform to ensure you comply with their rules.

Strategic Prizes

Use your ideal customer profile to choose the perfect prize to bring them in! It can be one of your products or other prizes, such as a gift card.

The Fine Print

Ensure legal compliance with The Canadian Competition Act. Quebec has it’s own legal requirements for contest administrators, which is why many exclude Quebec. Each social media network has rules as well.

If you intend to send emails to registrants or voters, follow CASL to the letter. Additionally, make sure the information you gather from people is handled properly and stored on Canadian soil.

Managing Social Media Contests in Canada

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The best contest administration software facilitates a range of social media promotion and engagement. It will be backed by a suite of complementary features that allow you to gather data and contact information, then take full advantage of every opportunity that contests can bring. The entire process must be user-friendly and designed for people with minimal tech skills.

Canada’s Wishpond (Vancouver, BC) is a popular contest management tool that walks you through five steps of creating a contest campaign. When you’re done, it will generate the code you need to add the contest to your website. Alternately, Wishpond can host the contest for you. They also have experts to set it up for you if necessary.

Unique Opportunity for Canadian Digital Marketers

Family Day provides a unique opportunity for Canadian online marketers who are constantly battling international competitors. It’s also underused within Canada for promotions, so you can really stand out.

Are you running a Family Day contest this year? Please share it or any questions in the comments below. We’d also love to meet you and your family in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.

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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadianDigitalMedia.com, CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net, and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Julian S

We combined a photo contest with voting and it was a huge success! So much sharing on socials we were honestly surprised. Thanks so much!


Can someone point me to free contest software for social media? I’ll uprade later but for now I just want to try things out and decide what to pay for later.

B. Gibson

Almost anything can be advertised for Family Day…that’s what I love about it. Canadians always notice it on social media too because anything Canadian makes them look. So good.

Ottawa Jewelry Stores

Engage Canadians this Family Day with fun and interactive social media contests. A great way to build brand awareness and connect with your audience.