11 Actionable Steps That Will Help You Run A Daring Social Media Giveaway

30 Apr 2018

Today, it’s a silly thing not to have at least one social media account for your brand. Billions of users use social media every single day.

If you clicked on this article, then I’m going to assume that your business is on social media. Since I’m also a mind-reader, I know that you’re here because you want to find out more about social media giveaways.

Did you know that the top reason why people choose to follow brands on social media is for promotions and discounts?

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Yes, I know, such a shocker! But don’t get this all wrong. People still want to find out the latest information about your product and services or contact you for customer service on social media.

Bearing that in mind, I want to go back in time a little bit.

I created my Facebook account in 2010. Back then, only a handful of big brands were on Facebook (I’m only talking about their presence on the Romanian market, not worldwide). What they did to acquire thousands of likes is they organized different contests and giveaways.

I participated in a couple of contests and even won some stuff (go me!). I almost never participate in social media contests, because they’re usually the ones where you have to like/share/comment. I’m not a fan of those. Those contests, however, were kind of interesting and creative. Even though they didn’t rely on the like and share method, they were still quite successful.

Now back to our days. 

Social media giveaways are used quite often as a strategy. Almost every big, medium and small company out there has organized one until one.

Let’s take a quick look to see why companies host giveaways on their social media profiles and what are their benefits.

Why Companies Organize Social Media Giveaways

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  • Exposure. Businesses that are just starting out or those that want to increase their following will do a giveaway so that more people will find out about them. It’s really easy to increase your exposure this way because people love free stuff, especially if it’s your products or services. They will act as a very attractive incentive in exchange for them following you on social media.
  • Engagement. One problem with social media today is that people follow so many brands today that it’s hard to keep up with them and react to what they post. I actually find myself guilty of this. I scroll on my Facebook feed; I read certain posts, but then, even if I liked a post or thought it was funny, I only react in my mind. Sounds weird, but many of you are probably doing the same thing. A giveaway can entice people to engage again with a certain brand. After all, the point of being on social media is opening a dialogue and not a monolog.
  • Understanding the audience. By asking a simple question for the giveaway, you can find out so many things about the people that follow your company on social media. It can be anything from their habits when it comes to your products, or what type of services they use most often from the ones you provide. The possibilities are endless here. It’s just a matter of figuring out what kind of information would be useful to you.
  • Free content. I’ve seen many creative giveaways out there, many of which were harnessing the power of user-generated content. Here’s how this works. If you sell cereal, you can ask your followers to submit a picture with their breakfast for a chance to win a yearly supply of your products. The guideline or the theme for the pictures can be to contain cereal. Just like that, you’ll have plenty of images for your upcoming posts that you can use (with the users’ approval, of course).
  • Grow your email list. Your weekly or monthly newsletter may be fascinating, but it doesn’t matter if no one is reading it. Email marketing is still, until this day, the most successful communication channel. To get the most out of it, you need a big email list. By running a giveaway and asking the participants to enter by simply entering their name and email address, you got this problem solved. However, don’t use this opportunity to spam them.
  • Promote a new product/service. This is one of the best ways to promote a new product or service. It is, of course, if it’s also the prize for the giveaway. Considering it is, people will be excited to be the first to try out your new stuff, and it will also create a lot of buzz.

These are the main reasons why companies do social media giveaways and also why you should too.

Next, we’ll discuss every step you need to consider when organizing a giveaway on social media.

Implementing a social media giveaway 101

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1. Why are you doing it? 

Do you want to gain more followers, do you want more engagement, or to obtain email addresses? Whatever the case may be, you need to address this question before you start planning anything.

Why? Because the answer to this question will determine the way, you create the strategy behind the giveaway.

2. Determine the type of giveaway

There are two types you can do:

  • A contest. The winner will be chosen based on criteria that were established beforehand. If you want to organize a contest, then you’ll have to figure out if you want to have a jury or if it’s going to be you the one to select the winner. Either way, the person or the group of individuals that get to make this call have to be experts in the particular industry.
  • A sweepstake. This is where the winners will be randomly selected with a tool like random.org. No one can interfere with the results. It’s just pure luck.

3. Where you’ll run it? 

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Even though you’ll promote the giveaway basically on all your channels, you still have to decide what is the main channel for running it. It can be Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. These are the most popular social media channels for giveaways.

The choice for the platform will be connected to the objectives you set in the first place. For example, if your goal is to increase your Instagram followers, then that is where you will run the giveaway.

4. What’s the prize?

Whatever you do, please don’t give away an iPad or an iPhone, unless you’re Apple. Assuming the social media team from Apple is not reading this post, I will give you some tips when it comes to choosing the prize(s) for the giveaway.

First of all, the prize has to be relatable to the profile of your company and your audience. Let’s say that you’re a skincare company. Depending on what is your objective, you can give away:

  • The new products you’re launching
  • A goodie bag that contains products worth $1,000
  • A facial treatment at a luxury SPA
  • Product supplies for an entire year

And the list can go on and on. If you have a bigger budget, you can, of course, have a more impressive prize, such as a trip to a dreamy destination.

5. Make it simple to enter

That being said, make sure that you explain very clearly for everyone how they can enter and what they need to do. For example, if they have to submit a photo, list every step they need to complete.

If it’s the case, create an entry form that will require for the participants to enter as little information as possible. Don’t ask for unnecessary information, like address or occupation, unless you need it for the giveaway.

Remember: even if the prize is extremely attractive, people may not be as eager to enter if the entering process looks like too much trouble.

6. Decide how long it will last

When you’re going to announce your giveaway, specify very clearly how long it will last.

If it’s a big giveaway, it’s usually recommended to run it for approximately four weeks. If it’s longer than that, then people will forget about it. You can make it shorter as well. However, try to run it for at least two weeks.

7. The concept

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For the giveaway to make sense to your audience and other people as well, it’s critical to link it to a future event. For example, it can be a back to school themed one, a giveaway for Thanksgiving, Halloween, or Christmas.

The idea has to be very clear and concise, and the content you’ll create around it have to make the connection to the event you’ll link it to.

8. Rules

No one likes rules, but we have to respect them.

Every social media platform has its set of rules, so after you’ve decided where to run the giveaway, make sure to read and apply them.

Also, when you announce it, you’ll have to display the rules on social media. Even though not many people will read them, it’s necessary for legal purposes. If you have the possibility, I would recommend asking an attorney to help you with this.

If you want to find out more about this topic, here’s an excellent article that was written by Sara Hawkins from SocialMedia Examiner.

9. Promotion

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This is the most important step for your giveaway. You now what they say: if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it actually make a sound?

That’s how it is with social media giveaways. Don’t keep it a secret. After all, you want as many people as possible to participate in it, right?

The first step is to use all of your communication channels to get the word out. This means email lists, all of your social media channels, website (pop-ups, blog), plus others that would greatly depend on the type of business you’re running.

It can be anything from in-app notifications to messages on mobile phones. Make a list with every channel you use, so that you don’t forget anything. Then, the next step is to create content for all of them. Articles, posts, videos, infographics, images – the wider the variety, the better.

It’s not enough to post the message announcing the giveaway only once. Remind people about it every single day, but don’t be spammy about it. Only one message per day will do the trick and even once every couple of days.

Promoting the giveaway on your communication channels is not enough, however.

You need to use influencers, partners, and sponsors for this. The chances are that if people see your giveaway being shared by someone else, they will be more likely to enter. Brand advocates are also a great fit for your promotion activities.

The last idea for promoting your giveaway is to submit it to giveaway sites. Here are the best ones:

These websites have hundreds of thousands of visitors every single day, so the visibility for your giveaway will be maximum.

10. Track and analyze

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Don’t wait until the giveaway is over to track and analyze what has happened during that period.

Make a habit of tracking the results every five days or so. That way, if you don’t have that many entries or if people don’t seem that interested in your giveaway, you will be able to analyze what’s wrong and adjust it.

At the end of the giveaway, you’ll also need to assess the results to see whether organizing it was worth it or not.

11. Don’t forget about the participants that didn’t win 

If you want to make your giveaway extra special, you can surprise all of your participants with something they wouldn’t expect. After the contest is over and the winner has been announced, you can contact the other participants, thank them for entering and offering them a discount for your products/services.

If you don’t want this to be a surprise, you can announce it for the giveaway. That way, every participant will now that even if they don’t win the big prize, they still get something.

Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now

(For some reason, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’s song Give It Away has popped into my mind.)

I’m pretty sure that if I scroll for a few minutes on my Facebook feed, I will find at least one post about a giveaway that’s happening right now.

Now multiply this by the number of social media channels that exist nowadays. You’ll see that social media giveaways have become hugely popular because they actually bring results.

You can see results as well if you decide to implement a giveaway. I do hope that the steps I presented above will help you get most of it.

If you have further questions on this topic, feel free to post them in the comment section below. And if you decide indeed to run a giveaway on social media, I look forward to hearing from you about the results you’ve got.

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Ana Darstaru

Content Writer at Squirrly
Ana has a strong sense of pragmatism and realism. Aside from the articles she writes for our lovely clients, she also loves testing new beauty products, and is obsessed with Pulp Fiction.
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