A social media giveaway or contest has the potential to deliver powerful results for your business. Potential benefits include gaining followers, building your community, generating sales for a product or service, or increasing engagement, just to name a few. However, as with any type of social media activity, there are some best practices you should always follow. Besides abiding by the rules of whichever network you are running your giveaway or contest on, there are some best practices or do's and don't's that will help increase the success of your campaign and the number of entries you receive. Let's review a few of them here:
Plan Your Giveaway Based On A Goal
Especially because of the potential results a giveaway can deliver (this is one of the most effective ways of driving organic growth), you should have a goal in mind when developing the giveaway. According to Wishpond, the 8 top giveaway/contest goals are:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Getting more people talking about your brand or new product launch
- Generating new email leads
- Building brand loyalty and growing your community
- Driving revenue by selling your products/services
- Increasing engagement on your social channels
- Encouraging the submission of user-generated content
- Gaining insight into what your target audience thinks your top products/services are
Depending on which goal you select, you can then develop a call-to-action for the giveaway and come up with certain metrics you want to track to see how effective the actual giveaway was. If your goal was to increase engagement, you might be monitoring metrics such as how many people liked your post, commented on your post, and shared your post, as well as how many followers you gained since you started running the giveaway, since those could have been gained as a result of your follower base sharing your giveaway.
As you run more and more giveaways and contests (some recommend doing this on a weekly basis as a means of building a community), goal tracking will help you gain a thorough understanding of what works and what doesn't work specifically for your target audience.
Include A Hashtag In Your Giveaway
There are many benefits to including a hashtag in your giveaway - not only does this provide you with a great way to track entries (and see the total number of entries by searching the hashtag), but if you are using a branded hashtag that is easily recognizable by others, you will get "free" marketing, so to speak, each time someone posts on social media to enter your giveaway. Check out this example of a social media giveaway campaign on Instagram that involved including a hashtag as part of the process:
And if you use a social media management platform with social listening, you can take your hashtag research even further, to get a breakdown of demographics, influencers, and even interact with those who entered your giveaway from a central location to help build an even stronger community. One recommendation, however, is that you should do a bit of hashtag research before settling on the hashtag you wish to include in your giveaway. The main benefit of this? Finding a hashtag that hasn't been recently used in another giveaway, as that would make it difficult to separate entries to your giveaway using the same hashtag.
Choose A Prize Your Target Audience Would Be Interested In
What is one of the key focal points of a social media giveaway? The prize, of course! As part of your social media giveaway campaign, you are asking people to do something for YOU! What that is may vary, but it could be liking your page, following your profile, sharing your post, commenting on your post, posting a picture with your hashtag, giving you their email address, or a combination of any of these. The chance of winning a prize is the incentive for completing these actions, so it's imperative you choose a prize that is of interest to your target audience.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when organizing social media giveaways or contests is choosing a prize they are personally interested in, versus a prize their target audience is interested in. If you are tracking your goals, you will likely find your giveaway does not perform as well as you had hoped if you make that mistake. If you are a department store, for example, unless you want to target specifically women with your giveaway, giving away perfume or a purse probably isn't the best idea as you aren't going to get many entries from men, so you'll want to find a more gender-neutral prize to give away and so on.
In this example of a contest from Qwertee, they are giving away 30 free t-shirts and advertising that you won't need to do laundry for an entire month - a perfect giveaway considering all they sell is t-shirts, so this 100% appeals to their target audience (and it paid off, considering they gained 100,000 Facebook likes from this campaign!):
Spread The Reach Of Your Giveaway Campaign With Social Sharing
Want to get your social media giveaway campaign in front of more eyes? Encourage social sharing! Have you ever seen a giveaway or contest where you are given an extra entry for sharing the contest or liking their page? Or maybe you are given a custom URL you can share with your friends and family via email that links back to the giveaway and you earn an extra entry every time someone else enters the giveaway? That business is basically giving you an incentive to share their social media page and their giveaway, which helps spread the reach of the giveaway, and in return, you earn the chance for more entries every time someone enters the contest.
From your perspective, as a business, it's no sweat off your back to give an extra entry to someone if that means they are helping you get more views for your giveaway without you having to invest in paid ads, which also isn't a bad idea (especially if it's a big prize), but why not put your own follower base to work? People love free stuff and if they can get an extra chance to win by simply sharing your giveaway on their timeline or sharing a link with their friends and family, chances are, they're going to do it, and before you know it, you'll have more engagement coming in than you know what to do with!