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How to Run an Online Giveaway Like a Boss

How to Run an Online Giveaway Like a Boss




There’s nothing like a giveaway to boost excitement around your brand. Customers on the fence about making a purchase? Running a giveaway on social media will get them excited about getting the product for themselves. Not getting enough social media interaction? A giveaway can make your brand go viral when your audience starts tagging and sharing among friends. Need more email subscribers? Making that the entry requirement and you’re good to go. Plus the winner walks home with the prize. It’s truly winners all round.

But it’s not just a case of “do a post, choose a winner”. If you really want to run a giveaway like the pros, heed our pointers below.

What’s the goal?

You need to know what you want out of it before you can decide what your customers will get. There are several reasons why you’d want to do a giveaway:

  • Boost engagement
  • Get new followers across your socials
  • Get more traffic to your site
  • Grow your email subscription list
  • Get more leads to your company
  • Gather user-generated content

It might not just be one goal you have in mind. Perhaps you’re eyeing up two or three. But don’t try to accomplish all of them at once- you’re risking the audience losing interest in the competition. No one wants to subscribe to a mailing list while also liking and sharing, posting UGC, and following all your platforms.

Once you’ve selected a clear goal, the path to building your giveaway will be much easier.

What’s the prize?

Next, you’ll want to select a prize that’s relevant to your brand and audience. It’s a well-known fact that people love free stuff, but that doesn’t make it a sure thing they’ll want any free stuff.

Offering money is a way of attracting a wide-open audience. A gift card allows you to streamline the audience you want and can be relatively inexpensive if it’s for goods and services provided by your brand. If your brand doesn’t have a product that can be easily given away, consider partnering with a company relative to your services or audience.

Picking an attractive prize relevant to your audience will increase the chances of getting your ideal customer interested in your brand.

What kind of giveaway?

There are three specific kinds of promotion that you can run:

  1. Contest
  2. Sweepstakes
  3. Lottery

A contest means that the entrants must complete something involving skill or effort, such as posting a picture, caption, writing an essay, etc. These can be really useful for generating UGC or creating a buzz around the giveaway. However, the more effort required, the lower the number of entrants will be, unless the prize is something really worth putting the effort into. The winner can be judged by you or a panel, rather than it being randomly selected.

Running sweepstakes is a little different, as the entrants don’t need to use any particular skill, and instead, the winner is chosen by chance. This is great for generating a whole lot of buzz, especially if it’s a social sweepstake that involves liking, commenting, and sharing.

A lottery is a slightly different version of a sweepstake which involves purchasing a ticket or item to be entered. With certain laws restricting these kinds of giveaways. Although raffles are becoming more popular with websites like Raffall, these are more aimed at individuals raising money rather than brands trying to get their name out there.

It’s highly recommended that you choose either a contest or a sweepstake for your giveaway. Which of the two you choose is what best suits the goal you decided upon.

What are the rules?

Next, it’s time to decide upon the giveaway rules. Set a realistic deadline not too far in the future, but that gives people enough time to enter. Make sure you post the deadline and make it clear when the contest ends to avoid confusion or angry entrants.

If you’re specifying an age range or location for your entrants (perhaps based on the ideal audience) make sure that’s clearly stated too. You (and the entrants) will regret it when you start getting entrants from Australia and you only have the money to ship the prize across the UK.

Other rules you should make known to the public include: how the judging will work (for contests), the fact the giveaway is “no purchase necessary”, and what the odds of winning might be.

All in all, the rules are as important as the entry requirements to your audience. Don’t let them feel cheated by your brand or risk the adverse effect of the giveaway.

Where’s the giveaway taking place?

You may want to place it on your website to drive traffic, but the best kind of results are found when you post it via socials, especially Instagram if your audience uses the platform. There’s also the option of running an email contest, however, this would benefit you through engaging your existing audience rather than cultivating it.

If you plan on using Facebook, read over the Facebook promotions guidelines, or the Instagram ones if that’s your platform of choice. If you plan on using a third-party app or tool to create the giveaway, make sure you know their regulations, and find out how you can share it among your socials or on your site.

Plugins like Rafflepress are useful if you have a WordPress site and want to easily embed a contest on there. You can also use sites like Gleam, Socialman, Flashbay, Woobox… there’s an endless list of help out there.

If you’re not bothered about a super-flashy competition and want to keep costs down, however, running a giveaway on your socials is definitely the way forward.

What else should I consider?

Here are a few additional top tips to consider when it comes to building your giveaway:

  • Create a unique hashtag: if you’re running organic social already you probably know all about what it takes to make a good hashtag. Keep it simple, the shorter the better, but make sure it’s relevant to your brand/giveaway and not used for something else. Also, make sure it can’t be read incorrectly (we’re looking at you, #susanalbumparty, and #pokemonmastersex).
  • Encourage sharing the contest: some people include this as a way of gaining an extra entry into the giveaway, or an entry requirement within itself. It’s the number one key to growing your audience and we can’t stress this enough!
  • Advertise/boost the giveaway: as well as just sharing, why not boost your post or advertise it to select audiences on Facebook? With a little bit of cash behind it, you can increase the people viewing and interacting with the post by a whole lot.
  • When it’s over, make a big deal out of it: make a post about your winner, reveal the winner in a post, or do a live “picking out of the hat” moment. If an entrant hasn’t won, at least they’ll get confirmation that it’s over and won’t be wondering if it could’ve been them. Plus, it’ll confirm your brand’s authenticity and confirm that the giveaway wasn’t just a scam for clout.
  • Consider doing more: if it’s successful, it’s time to consider doing more of the same! Once you’ve run your first giveaway, identify what could’ve been done better, look at what you got out of it versus what you wanted, and improve upon the weaker points for your next giveaway.

Running a giveaway is a fantastic way to grow your brand and make your audience excited about your product. There’s a near-endless list of benefits to running one, especially if you’re a brand just starting out with a little bit of money put aside.

Wish you luck and hope you win!

Digital Media Team is a digital marketing agency based in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter neighbourhood. Interested in boosting your business’s digital marketing game? Get in touch, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.