Take a look at these two statistics:
- Running social media giveaways can speed up growth by up to 70%.
- The majority of social media giveaways run for less than 7 days.
Now, can you think of any other white-hat growth strategy with that much horsepower?
There’s a reason that giveaways and sweepstakes have become popular on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: They. Work.
However, it’s a sad truth that many brands waste their growth by failing to follow up. Sure, a giveaway will boost your follower and engagement numbers – but if you want to lock those numbers in for the long term, then you have to do the work.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you should be doing, and aren’t. From brand safety to ad strategies, social media rules to statistics, prepping the design to following up with winners, it’s all in here. Let’s go.
Design your giveaways with the right graphics, text, and tags
You already know that good visuals are key to a good social media post. Whether you prefer videos, photos, charts and graphs, animations or even gifs, the right image can boost engagement enormously.
According to Buzzsumo, in 2019, videos outperform text and even photo posts by up to 59%. And you’ll notice that giveaway posts make it into the top 4 post types, too. So just imagine how effective a video post, with an engaging question and a prize giveaway could be!
So the first step in a successful social media giveaway is the design. Remember, your giveaway post isn’t just an announcement about the contest. You’ll use it to collect comments and select a winner. It’s essential to get as much reach and reaction as you can.
And while the graphic element is all-important, you shouldn’t neglect the post caption or hashtags. Optimize your written message to get attention from users and algorithms.
- Use keywords like giveaway, sweepstakes, prize, reward, win.
- Keep the message simple – don’t ask users to jump through too many hoops. A simple comment and tag will suffice.
- To encourage comments, ask an open question that will start a conversation with your followers. Remember, you want to foster genuine engagement.
- Include a legal disclaimer and a short link to terms and conditions.
- Use hashtags that are relevant to your industry, prize, and contests in general.
- If you plan to run regular giveaways, start using a branded hashtag (for example, #WinToysRUs) so that your followers can stay up to date.
Use sponsored posts for better reach and targeting
There are 2 main reasons to run a giveaway:
- Reward your existing audience.
- Reach new followers and customers.
Depending on which goal you choose, your strategy will be different. But it’s always worth sponsoring your giveaway post. Here’s why:
If you want to reach new followers, then sponsored and promoted posts make obvious sense. Use darkposts if you don’t want the giveaway to appear in your home feed so that only new recruits can interact with them.
It might seem counter-intuitive to promote a giveaway post if you want to reach your existing audience. But there are several important reasons you might need to sponsor the post.
- Visibility. Social networks are restricting brand reach more and more. Just take a look at how Facebook engagement has plummeted in recent years. Use promoted posts to make sure your followers see the contest.
- Niche = quality. If you want genuine, lasting engagement, then it’s better to aim for a specific audience. Pick a niche prize, and send out targeted posts.
- Age restrictions. If your brand is age-sensitive, then promoted posts are the safest way to restrict the audience for your giveaway.
- Location restrictions. Different countries have different regulations for online promotions. Or maybe you just don’t want to pay international shipping. Use promoted posts so that only local followers have a chance to win the prize.
Respond and build relationships with contest participants
We’ve mentioned the importance of genuine engagement a few times already. Here’s the deal: yes, you can run a contest where you demand likes and follows. And you’ll probably see your account grow.
But that growth won’t last. It won’t come from people who genuinely care about your brand. And it won’t result in meaningful engagement, conversions, and sales.
Here’s what to do if you want engagement that will have a positive, lasting effect on your bottom line: respond.
Think of your giveaway as the start of a long conversation. That conversation begins with an incentive: the giveaway prize. And it will continue through product awareness, customer service, and eventually, sales.
But the thing about conversations is that they are two-sided. So once a new follower begins to interact with you, respond to them!
- Answer comments on the giveaway post.
- Check your DMs for any queries or comments on the prize.
- Follow your giveaway hashtag to see what people are saying.
- If you have 5 minutes, go through the comments on your post and give each one a like. Trust me – that 5-minute investment will pay off later.
- Think creatively about how you can continue reinforcing the relationship. You could offer small rewards, like a 10% discount, for everyone who comments.
- Use tools like Instagram Quick Replies and Facebook Messenger bots to turn the giveaway into a series of one-to-one conversations with your customers.
Risk management for social media giveaways and sweepstakes
Social media has changed everything for marketers. Brands and customers are closer than ever, thanks to the instant contact offered by social media. That can facilitate marketing – and it can also increase brand risk.
So a lot of businesses are asking: what’s our exposure? How can we run fun, original campaigns without putting our reputation and brand safety on the line?
The most important thing is to get the legal details sorted. Every country regulates online giveaways differently, and some local regions – such as Québec in Canada – have stricter rules than others.
Wherever you’re based, you need to include terms and conditions, plus a disclaimer that exempts the social network from responsibility for your campaign. The T’s & C’s aren’t just a formality. They’ll protect your brand in case anything goes wrong.
Next, there are the social networks’ own terms of service. These vary hugely across platforms (even if everything is owned by Facebook these days). Here’s a quick summary:
- Ask for comments and a limited number of tagged friends. You can’t use reposts or Stories in a contest, but you can ask people to share original content with your brand mention and hashtag.
- Facebook. Comments only! Asking for likes, tags, shares or follows will get you banned.
- Twitter. You can run giveaways based on replies, retweets, and your follower count.
One of the most common problems in a giveaway is the presence of spam or fake accounts. To avoid these, choose a prize that will appeal to your specific audience – not just anybody. Set a limit on how many times people can comment, and use fraud filters so that the prize goes to someone who genuinely deserves it.
How to pick a winner and finish up the giveaway
As we’ve said, most social media giveaways only stay open for a few days. But you should keep sharing updates and pushing the contest throughout that brief window, in order to maximize participation and reach.
Use all the social media tricks at your disposal. Run a live countdown on your Facebook and Instagram Stories. Share your favorite Twitter replies. Add a video to your IGTV channel where you unbox the prize or put it through its paces.
When it comes time to pick a winner, keep the social media blitz going. People can still join the contest by commenting, right up until the moment you trigger the prize draw.
Make the final moment as thrilling as possible. Don’t just write a text post and tag the winner. Add photos or instant video for more impact.
Last of all, stay in touch with the winner. When you award a prize, you create a brand advocate – so make the most of the opportunity. Encourage them to share updates when they receive the prize. If you already have an affiliate or ambassador program, consider inviting your new winner to join.
Use promotion statistics to plan for growth
There are two, complementary ways to use the feedback from a social media giveaway:
- Learn more about how your target audience engages online.
- Optimize the time, date and network for your next giveaway campaign.
This is especially useful if you used ads to target a niche audience. By running a giveaway specifically for them, you section them off from your wider follower base – and get fine-grained analytics on the chosen group.
For example, you can compare relative engagement across social networks. You can see which times of day and days of the week your followers are most active, and how they access the giveaway online. You can even single out your 10 most active participants to vet as potential brand ambassadors or nano-influencers.
5 key takeaways for social media managers
So let’s wrap this up. At the end of this post, you should have 5 key takeaways in mind for your next social media giveaway:
- Do your homework. Read up on the rules for your location and chosen social network.
- Pick a specific audience, and optimize for them. Research a prize that will appeal to a specific group. Consider using ads to restrict your reach to ideal customers.
- Make it easy to take part. Ask for just 1 or 2 actions on social media. Explain the contest clearly and simply.
- Be responsive. Like, reply, and even share your favorite comments from the giveaway. Be available when participants have questions.
- Weave giveaways into your big-picture strategy. Use feedback and statistics from your giveaway to plan your next steps on social media. If you run a giveaway for a segment of your audience, use the lessons learned to appeal to those people again.
Guest author: Corinna Keefe is part of the Easypromos marketing team. She works on English language content and communications, including video content and the Easypromos ebook library. She has lived in 10 different countries and speaks several languages; her goal is to share information and help people communicate all over the world. She holds a Masters degree from the University of Cambridge and has written for Social Media Examiner, the British Council, and others. She joined the Easypromos team in 2018.