Whether you’re celebrating your brand’s birthday, reaching an exciting milestone on social media, or are just thinking of running one for the sake of it; giveaways and contests can be an entertaining experience with plenty of advantages. Offering the ability to boost audience engagement, expand your brand’s reach, build a community, and grow sales, it’s no wonder that businesses of all shapes and sizes often find themselves experimenting with social media contests. However, the process is much more elaborate than simply giving away free stuff. To effectively and successfully run a contest, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Thinking of planning a giveaway for your business? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, here’s a step by step guide to help get you started.
Define The Purpose Of The Giveaway
Before you choose a prize or outline the rules, it’s important to establish the purpose of the giveaway. Is it to increase your followers? Boost engagement? Increase brand awareness? By allocating a focus (alongside a realistic social media plan), you can better your chances of achieving greater benefits, rather than running the contest just for the sake of it.
To track the progress of your giveaway and ensure that you meet your purpose, consider implementing a handful of measurable, realistic goals. For example, if the purpose is to increase engagement, aim for at least 500 likes on the giveaway post. If you’re running the contest over the course of 5 days, you can strive for at least 100 likes per day. If you aren’t reaching this daily target, revisit your social media plan and make any necessary adjustments to help improve the campaign’s reach.
Make A Plan
For most situations in life it pays to be prepared, and social media giveaways are no exception. Rather than jumping in blindfolded, take the time to create a plan for the contest. This can help to ensure you’re reaching your predetermined focus and goals, overall improving your likelihood of success.
The specific aspects of a giveaway 'master-plan' will vary depending on the purpose, the goals, and the person behind the curtains, although there are some common aspects to include. To get the ball rolling, you can start by asking yourself a few simple questions. How often are you going to promote the contest? What days are you going to share these posts? At what times? On which platforms? From here, you can start to plan out the visual aspects, orchestrate the posts, prepare social media ads, and compile your email list.
Determine The Prize
Now that you’ve determined the purpose of the giveaway and made a full-proof plan, it’s time to decide on the actual prize. Are you offering a product? Your services? The audience should have a clear idea of what they have to gain from entering the contest. Through high-quality images and engaging copywriting, you can offer a clear description while simultaneously increasing the desire of the prize. This can also help to intrigue your target audience, increase the number of entries, and expand the reach of the giveaway - it’s a win-win!
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Outline The Rules
The rules of your giveaway are very important as they often reflect the higher purpose of the contest. For example, if you’re hoping to grow your followers and increase brand awareness through your giveaway, it may be wise to include a requirement where participants must follow your account and tag three friends in the post to be eligible for the prize. On the other hand, if your aim is to grow your email list, another requirement could be that participants must sign up to your brand's newsletter to be eligible.
It goes without saying that your rules can also communicate to your audience important information such as the requirements for eligibility and the necessary terms and conditions. Also remember to include a closing date for the giveaway in your terms, as this can add a bit of urgency among the followers.
Research The Platform’s Guidelines
Social media platforms often have different rules when it comes to running contests or giveaways, and they will often vary depending on the platform. For example, if you’re thinking of running a contest on Instagram, it’s important you take a moment to read the promotional guidelines of the platform. Some of the rules include accepting the responsibility for the lawful operation, accurately tagging the content, and acknowledging that the promotion is not associated with Instagram. For a full list of the Instagram promotional requirements, visit the platforms Help Centre.
Promotional guidelines vary depending on the platform being used, so to avoid causing any trouble, be sure to do your research, learn the requirements, and abide by these guidelines.
Execute Your Social Media Plan
The moment has come. You have a clear understanding of the social media platform’s guidelines, defined the purpose of the giveaway, settled on the prized, summarised the rules, and collected the visual assets. Now it’s time to bring it all together and execute your plan. Work through your email list to notify your audience that the giveaway has started, post on the social media platform/s you intend to run the contest on, and if necessary, run a handful of social media ads to get the word out.
Remember to share the giveaway multiple times to create some hype and increase the number of entries. That being said, try not to overdo it. Aim to find a natural balance that creates intrigue rather than an annoyance.
Gather The Entries
Collecting the contest entries can be a time-consuming process, especially if you’re sharing the giveaway across multiple platforms and the entries are taking multiple forms (hashtags, shares, retweets etc.) The solution? Track the entries as you go. This can make the entire process easier and save a lot of time down the line. Continue to collect new entries as the contest processes to its closing date.
It’s often effortless to collect entries by yourself, especially if the requirements are to ‘like’, ‘re-post’ or ‘follow’. Although if the giveaway is much more elaborate, you can consider using an external tool such as Rafflecopter.
Pick And Announce A Winner
Now that the giveaway has come to a close, it’s time to pick and announce a lucky winner. The first step is to gather all the entries across the multiple social media platforms and compile them into one excel spreadsheet. From here, you simply have to randomly choose the winner. There’s a variety of ways to do this, whether it's through an external random selection tool or by simply picking a name out of a hat.
Regardless of how you decide to undergo the selection process, try to make it a spectacle for social media. This can keep the excitement and hype alive while also proving that this was a legitimate giveaway. This can help boost engagement next time around. Once a winner is chosen, make sure they’ve followed all the rules that you’ve outlined. Have they followed the page? Liked the post? Tagged two friends? Have they done everything to make them eligible to win? If so, great! If not, draw another name. The guidelines are set for a reason after all.
When you’re finally ready to announce the winner, consider giving them a shout out on social media - your followers may be interested to know who won the contest. Let the winner know that you’ll be in touch soon while also thanking every participant for getting involved in the giveaway.