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How to Create a Successful Giveaway for Social Media

December 15th, 2015 by | No Comments

Giving away prizes is almost a surefire way to expand your audience and increase engagement with your customers, but givaways can also be tricky. When done poorly, they can even backfire to the detriment of your brand’s reputation. Below are a few things to consider that might before you start.

Know Your Goals
It’s easy to throw around goals like, “expand your audience” and “increase engagement” without really considering what each may entail from a giveaway. In most cases, pursuing one goal will keep you from pursuing a different one.

For example, if your goal is really to expand your audience, then you should make it easy to participate, and give “points” for spreading the word by sharing on Facebook or retweeting on Twitter. If, on the other hand, your goal is meaningful engagement, then you should ensure that your participants make an effort to enter the contest or sweepstakes by submitting a photo or answering a question.

In general, the more effort it takes to join a contest, the fewer participants you’re likely to have, but the more meaningful it becomes.

Determine the Type of Giveaway
Giveaways generally fall into three categories, and not knowing the difference can get you into some real legal trouble. Holding an unsanctioned lottery is illegal in the United States. Right off the bat, you should ensure that you’re not inadvertently holding creating an illegal lottery, regardless of how big or small the your intended audience may be.

Lotteries have three elements 1) Prize/s, 2) Consideration (exchanging something of value, like money, for a chance to win), 3) Chance (a random draw). Combining these three elements in any form often results in a lottery.

This leaves us with two other types of givaways:

In a sweepstakes, the winner is chosen purely by luck of the draw. Nothing of value is exchanged for a chance to win.

In a contest, prizes are given away based on skill or merit. All contestants must be judged equally.

Because of the need to judge contestants equally in a contest, sweepstakes are usually the quick and dirty choice. Otherwise, if 1000 people decide to join your contest, then you are obligated to judge each and every one of those 1000 entries equally. This can be time-consuming to say the least.

Decide What Applications to Use
Although it would be possible to hold a contest or sweepstakes without using a dedicated application, apps have the added benefits of helping to prevent cheating and tracking data.

Apps prevent users from tipping the odds in their favor by creating multiple ‘identities’ to join the same contest. This can involve monitoring cookies and tracking IP addresses.

Apps also keep track of how many people join, where they came from, and whether or not they eventually signed up for your newsletter or followed you on social media, etc. This can be helpful information to justify the cost of your giveaway and help you plan the next one. In a sweepstakes, an app can also be used for the required random draw.

Rafflecopter and Gleam are a few apps that can get you started.

Before you create your own giveaway, carefully consider all the points above to avoid any legal problems and ensure that you achieve your goals for the contest.


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