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February 11, 2016

How to do a Successful Social Media Giveaway For Your Company

Image courtesy of (jscreationzs)/

One day, the light bulb goes off and you just know you’ve got the best idea ever to get more buzz and traffic for your company—you’re going to create a social media giveaway.

But you’ve heard about great ones, terrible ones, corny ones—and ones that fail so miserably, people are STILL talking about them. And I don’t mean that in a “Wow, wasn’t that cool?” kind of way.

I’m talking the stuff of “holy crap! Can you believe that?” legends, complete with uploads, hash tags and memes, featuring the worst of the worst.

You’ve also heard how hard it is to manage them and different types of tools available for creating them. And every time you bring it up to anyone, they tell you one more story about why you should, why you shouldn’t, and send you links for both.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Host a Great Social Giveaway

But you’re onto something with the giveaway, and I’ve got four questions you should ask yourself that, once answered, will get you on the road to Internet supremacy (or, at the very least, a plan of action for a great sweepstakes).

1. Why? Establish Why You’re Doing the Giveaway

This may seem like the simplest, most intuitive question, but this isn’t always the first thing that people think when they want to sponsor a sweepstakes on social media. The “what” tends to dominate a lot of people’s minds, because they want to be sure they land on the thing that’s appealing enough without being too much or too little. But we’ll get there.

Consider your motivation first so you can get a feel for whether this makes sense for what you’re trying to accomplish.

That means you need to know what you want to have happen by creating the contest. It could be that you want to raise awareness about your company. That’s cool. Or maybe you want to drive traffic, or push a certain product or service. Again, those are great reasons, but whatever you decide, make sure you really list them out and dig into them. You want to be able to create a sort of matrix of ideas then look at how you’ll address them in support of your sweepstakes. As you can see, knowing the why informs the answers to every question after that.

2. What? Establish What You’re Giving Away

This isn’t just about what kind of prize you’ll be offering, but what form the contest will take. There are lots of different ways you can create that fun and engagement to build up awareness and everything else that goes along with it. Do you want a cash prize sweepstakes or a product giveaway? Do you want to create an experience that’ll build a connection to your company in some way?

Most of all, think of your audience. What resonates with them? If you’re a tech company, think of giving away an iPad. If you’re a writing company, give away a few free blogs.

Take a look at some options that are currently being used by other companies and see what makes the most sense for you. You’ll notice that whatever they are doing clearly reflects what their business is about.

Let’s take this example from Swanson Health Products, which is running a giveaway right now.


Swanson is a company that focuses on physical well-being and it is giving away items that are coveted, definitely, but also represent and support what the company stands for.

First, it is playing off of the familiar resolutions people make to be healthier or get in shape for the New Year as its theme and driving message. It then combines that with the Vitamix and Fitbit, tools that will make whatever you splurge on during your shopping spree on the Swanson Vitamins website even that much more effective.

3. How? Establish The Rules of the Contest

The ins and outs of the contest need to be explained easily and quickly. You want to be sure everyone understands how it all plays out, what the rules are, whether purchase is or is not necessary, all of those things. That means you need to decide that before you move forward.

Consumers are savvy and there are so many ways to play these days, they’ll be looking for holes. If your sweepstakes rules and points of entry aren’t clearly explained, they may lose interest altogether and chose not to visit your site again. Don’t let that happen.

To illustrate how to do this well, we’ll use Swanson Health Products again.  They have created a separate page that is straight, to the point and clearly outlines what you have to do to enter their contest. There’s nothing left to the imagination on how all of the logistics of the sweepstakes will work.


4. When? Establish Start and End Times

There needs to be a time limit on how long the contest will accept entries and you need to clearly convey that. If there’s something that irritates consumers the most it’s not being able to discern the deadlines for sweepstakes. The fine print dominates and becomes difficult to navigate. You may create the greatest game ever, but if your consumers miss out, then they will definitely be vocal about it.

Let’s look at Swanson one last time.

Once you click on the Swanson contest rules and restrictions link in the entry form, you’re taken to the page that outlines more in-depth terms and conditions for the sweepstakes. The first point is a clear overview of the entry deadlines—start date to end date. The font is large enough that you can see it easily and it’s direct in its wording.



When all is said and done, make sure you record the metrics on how this all worked out to see if you got the results you were hoping for. You need to be able to measure if it had an impact. This will determine if you continue to offer sweepstakes for your consumers or not. Capture what you learned out of all of this, what you’d do differently next time, what you’d keep and refer to that when you’re ready.

Social media sweepstakes should be fun for both you and your consumers, so putting together something dynamic will make a huge impact.


Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.