Social media challenges: Meaning, benefits, examples and tips

Umme Sutarwala

September 15, 20236 min read

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Isn't it strange how, with only a few swipes, we can go from seeing a cat practice yoga on social media to trying a new dance routine that seems to defy all known laws of physics? That's the world of social media challenges for you: a mix of intriguing trends that either make us laugh out loud or leave us puzzled.  

But here's the thing: Despite the fact that these challenges promise a whirlwind of fun, they also raise concerns about how we might embrace them without being overwhelmed. Let us discuss a few solutions and tips to handle these social media challenges.  

Table of Contents

What are social media challenges? 

Social media challenges are viral trends that motivate users to take part in certain tasks, record their accomplishments and post them on their social media profiles. These challenges frequently include a distinctive hashtag, making it simpler for users to discover and participate in the trend. 

A challenge might be anything from lip-syncing, cooking, dancing, exercising or even doing deeds of kindness. The overarching goal is to foster a feeling of community involvement while bringing individuals together via a common experience. 

The growing popularity of social media challenges 

The popularity of social media challenges has skyrocketed on several platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook. These challenges have proliferated because it is quite simple to share material that has the potential to go viral. 

One of the earliest instances of a challenge that successfully blended involvement with a philanthropic cause is the Ice Bucket Challenge, which sought to increase awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 

Pros and cons of social media challenges 

Social media challenges have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, impacting people, communities and society as a whole, just like any other cultural trend. Here are some of their pros and cons.  

Pros 

  1. Awareness and advocacy: You can advocate for significant social causes and concerns via social media challenges. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) received increased attention because of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised awareness as well as money for research. 

  2. Charity-related challenges: Many challenges are linked to charity contributions, encouraging participants to support deserving organizations. People are motivated to clean up their local environment with challenges like the #TrashTag Challenge, which has a good influence on the community. 

  3. Community building: Participating in challenges can foster a feeling of community and belonging in people. As they participate in shared activities, people from all backgrounds bond and connect. 

  4. Creative expression: Challenges sometimes call for participants to use their creativity and devise new ways of addressing the issue at hand. This may foster artistic expression and inspire individual creativity. 

  5. Positive entertainment: Light-hearted tasks give both players and viewers a source of amusement and enjoyment. Challenges like the Bottle Cap Challenge and the Mannequin Challenge are without a doubt entertaining and aesthetically appealing. 

Cons 

  1. Risky behavior: Some social media challenges call for dangerous behavior that may result in bodily harm. Examples of such challenges that have had negative effects on people's health include the Tide Pod Challenge and the Fire Challenge. 

  2. Peer pressure and conformity: Individuals who want to fit in or win social approval may participate in activities that they find uncomfortable or don't fully comprehend under the influence of peer pressure and the need to participate in popular challenges. 

  3. Trivialization of serious issues: Serious societal issues being reduced to a basic performative activity raises concerns that some challenges may trivialize these topics. This may diminish the scope and complexity of significant issues. 

  4. Negative body image: Challenges that emphasize beauty or body standards can cause people to have negative body images and self-esteem problems, particularly among sensitive people. 

  5. Privacy concerns: Completing tasks could involve disclosing private information or material. This may result in unintended effects like cyberbullying or identity theft. 

Top 5 social media challenges and their impact 

Here’s a top 5 of some of the best social media challenges around, along with their potential impact.  

The Dalgona coffee challenge 

The dalgona coffee challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source  

This particular challenge was one that a ton of people were aware of. As many people isolated themselves at home during the coronavirus outbreak in March, whipped coffee, also known as dalgona coffee, took over social media feeds. Even those with no prior experience of making coffee attempted to make the renowned dalgona coffee in their homes. 

The Savage challenge 

The viral savage challenge on TikTok

Source 

This challenge was inspired by the Megan Thee Stallion song Savage. The song became highly popular on social media, which led to the creation of The Savage Challenge. 

People had to perform a pre-choreographed freestyle dance routine to the Savage song. It gained popularity after Beyonce accepted the challenge to perform the song's remix, following which a lot of other famous people accepted this challenge, too. 

Beauty mode challenge 

The beauty mode challenge on TikTok

Source 

Most folks spend the night relaxing at home in their jammies without wearing makeup. Therefore, a community of TikTokers had the brilliant idea to switch from a no-makeup appearance to a full-makeup look utilizing the beauty mode on their TikTok app. In this challenge, participants recorded a video with the activated beauty mode to background music or a conversation.  

Pillow challenge 

Three social media users taking part in the pillow challenge

Source 

This was intended for all fashion enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting with their appearances and attire. One had to dress like their favorite pillow for this challenge or adapt it into an outfit.  

Although it sounds intricate, it was also really simple. A brand-new ensemble of fashionwear was ready to be flaunted with just the addition of a stylish belt around a pillow. Although some individuals thought this challenge was strange, fashionistas were delighted to take it on. 

Flip the switch challenge 

Celebrities participating in the flip the switch challenge

Source 

The 2018 Drake song "Nonstop" served as the inspiration for this challenge. Two participants recorded themselves on video while standing in front of a bathroom mirror for this task. While the other person films, one person moves closer to the mirror while the other moves farther away. 

The one who was farther away generally danced. People even changed their outfits, stances and occasionally even attitudes in this trending social media challenge as the lights turned off and on again.  

Participation tips for users and brands 

Connecting with your audience or followers by taking part in well-known social media challenges can lead to greater engagement and traction. Here are some pointers for users and brands on how to participate in the five particular challenges that we covered: 

1. The Dalgona coffee challenge

Users: 

  • Create a unique depiction of the creation of dalgona coffee 

  • To gain more exposure, make use of trending hashtags like #DalgonaCoffeeChallenge  

Brands: 

  • Creatively incorporate your product into the challenge 

  • While brewing dalgona coffee, highlight the variety or distinctive qualities of your product 

  • To reach a larger audience, work with influencers 

2. The Savage challenge

Users: 

  • Get familiar with the Savage Challenge dance routine 

  • You should practice until you can do it with confidence 

  • In a well-lit area, capture your video with crystal-clear audio 

Brands: 

  • Think about supporting or working with well-known dancers or artists 

  • By holding a dance-off competition, you may promote user-generated content 

  • Share user-generated content videos while giving the producers credit 

3. Beauty mode challenge 

Users: 

  • Play around with the beauty filters and settings on your smartphone 

  • Present the improvement or change in a before-and-after fashion 

  • Share your honest opinions and experiences with the beauty mode 

Brands: 

  • By showcasing the effects of your beauty items in beauty mode, you may promote them 

  • Work with influencers in the beauty industry to promote and evaluate your goods and services 

  • Run a contest where people may win your cosmetics 

4. Pillow challenge 

Users: 

  • Find out a unique method to dress up a pillow 

  • Make sure your image or video is properly lit and composed 

  • In order to stand out from the crowd, use humor or creativity 

Brands: 

  • If it fits with the tone of your brand, take part in the challenge in a whole new way 

  • Users should be encouraged to include items from your company in their pillow challenge ensembles 

5. Flip the switch challenge 

Users: 

  • Recreate the switch-flipping transformation with a friend or family member 

  • Pick a fun or surprising approach to trade roles 

  • Utilize well-known hashtags, such as #FlipTheSwitchChallenge 

Brands: 

  • Make up your own "switch" idea for your goods or services 

  • Create interesting switch videos with your business by working with influencers 

  • Launch a competition where participants may submit their innovative switch films for a chance to win prizes 

How to use social media challenges in your marketing strategy? 

Social media challenges may be a fun and interesting way to engage with your audience, boost brand awareness and promote user-generated content if you incorporate them into your marketing plan.

Here is s step-by-step manual for using social media challenges in your marketing strategy. 

Specify your goals: Before you begin, decide on the precise objectives you hope to accomplish through the challenge. These can include promoting your brand, enhancing user interaction, raising website traffic or producing user-generated content

Recognize your audience: Get to know your target market thoroughly. In order to design a challenge that appeals to them, take into account their preferences, hobbies and online activities. 

Select the right platform: Determine which social media network(s) your target demographic uses the most. Different platforms could need different content formats and sorts of challenges.  

Create a challenge concept: 

  1. Theme and objective: Pick a topic or theme that is relevant to your brand. The challenge needs to be interesting, original and consistent with the principles of your brand. 

  2. Challenge type: Select the challenge type. It might be a narrative challenge, trivia contest, caption competition, hashtag challenge, picture or video challenge that matches your brand and target audience. 

  3. Guidelines and rules: The challenge's rules and regulations should be made crystal clear. Maintain simplicity and clarity in them. 

  4. Generate interesting content: 

    1. Promotional content: Produce captivating images, videos or blog articles to spread the word about the challenge. Use eye-catching images and alluring words to describe the challenge and its advantages. 

    2. User-created content: Encourage users to produce and distribute content that is relevant to the challenge. Your marketing efforts certainly become more legitimate via user-generated content. 

  5. Promote the challenge: 

    1. Teasers: A few days before the challenge's formal introduction, tease it to create anticipation. 

    2. Influencer collaboration: Collaborate with influencers who are compatible with your brand. They can take part in the challenge and aid in spreading the news. 

    3. Cross-promotion: Spread the word about the challenge through your various social media platforms as well as other marketing means like email newsletters and website banners. 

Measure and analyze: Keep track of social media metrics like engagement rates, reach, impressions and the amount of user-generated posts to keep tabs on the success of your challenge. To determine the success of the challenge and how it will affect your marketing objectives, analyze the data. 

Reward and recognition: 

  • Prizes: Think about awarding prizes for the best submissions. Prizes could include your goods, special offers, early access or other incentives. 

  • Acknowledgment: Highlight the contributions made by participants by displaying their work and declaring awards. 

Follow-up: Express gratitude to the participants for taking part in the challenge and provide a summary of the challenge. This maintains engagement and prepares the ground for subsequent operations. 

Deep Dive: How to create a social media marketing strategy from scratch 

Summing it up 

Social media challenges have become ingrained into the marketing plans of individuals as well as brands. You can attract immediate attention and gain traction by formulating and propagating social media challenges that either address a serious issue or engage people in fun activities. 

Solutions like Sprinklr Social can help you in every step of the way by not only identifying the important trends and issues but also by helping you manage your brand’s social media challenge efforts better. You can accelerate content production, track real-time interaction and expertly manage your online presence by using Sprinklr's extensive range of AI-powered tools. So, give it a try and see how you can make the most out of the world of viral challenges. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There is frequent competition for the interest of viewers and originality in viral social media challenges. Focus on creating honest, one-of-a-kind content that truly connects and engages your audience to overcome these obstacles. 

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