What is a giveaway?
Giveaways are one of the most important marketing tools used by online marketers. They can be considered as sweepstakes; they help keep your fans and audiences encouraged and engaged and allow you to reward them for their continued support. To explain a giveaway in layman terms: it is a promotional drawing where you give away a prize to one or more lucky fans from a pool of entries. It is up to you to decide if you should charge your fans for their entries. In most cases though, successful giveaways are ones that come with a ‘no purchase necessary’ tag.
There are many benefits to using giveaway promotions:
- They help you grow your network
- Improve leads
- Save money on traditional, and often costly, advertising methods
- Gain exposure to existing/new or upcoming products/services
- Give back to your fans
- Have some fun while doing all of the above!
Let us study some easy ways to run and promote giveaways and giveaway contests.
Easy ways to promote giveaways on Instagram and other social media platforms
1. Decide on the type of giveaway you want to run
Online giveaways on Instagram and other social platforms come in three forms:
- Sweepstakes – These are a game of luck with no cost to the entrants. You give away a prize to one/more lucky winners at no cost to the participant. Sweepstakes help you create brand awareness, increase your audience, and get people to share information about your products/services, all at little or no cost.
- Contests – Using giveaway contest ideas, you encourage your followers to create or do something better than others. Thus, a contest is a game of skill where you judge participants on how they do and give away a prize according to their skills.
- Lottery – In this type, winners are chosen at random but entrants or participants have to pay to enter.
2. Know your goals for the promotion
Before deciding what kind of sweepstake/lottery/lucky-draw you want to set up, understand the goals behind this promotion. These are the questions you may want to consider:
- To increase followers on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook?
- Get people to follow you on Pinterest/pin your images?
- Comment on your blog?
- Take a survey or poll?
- Subscribe to your email lists?
- Refer a friend to your product/service?
3. Select the right prize/giveaway
The best way to promote a giveaway on Instagram or other forms of social media is to offer attractive prizes. Never take the decision of what to give away lightly; spend considerable thought and a little bit of money on it. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when thinking of setting up a giveaway on Instagram:
- What is the dollar amount of the prize? You cannot expect results if your prize costs about $10. The results you get with a prize equivalent to $1000 and more will be greater. It has been seen that most Instagram giveaway contests work best when the prize dollar amount is $200 or more. This example, in no way, undermines contests valued $50 or less, but audiences usually won’t participate if they feel that the efforts needed aren’t worth the rewards.
- Your audience demographics – This is an important factor to consider when coming up with Instagram giveaway examples. For example, if your audience is primarily women in their 20s-40s, you may want to consider giving away beauty products, feminine hygiene products, anti-aging products, apparel, etc.
- Is the prize relevant to what you are selling? – If you are Apple®, you would not giveaway Microsoft® products, would you?
- Is the prize relevant to all entrants and participants – If your fan demographics span several generations and decades, you may want to keep the prize giveaway relevant to all entrants. An annual housekeeping magazine subscription would not be relevant to a teenager.
- Keep it unique – Naturally, you’d need to consider your budget, but if you want more people to click that link, sign up, enter their email ids, and even pay for entering then you need to make sure that the giveaway is unique and scarce.
4. Add a great picture of the giveaway
Social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are very visual. They need great pictures. A great image of the giveaway will make your contest/lottery/sweepstake more tangible. There are many apps and tools you can use to make great images, add texts to those images, and filters and fonts to make those images pop. You can go in for apps like Canva, Pixelmator, and/or PicMonkey. Many of these apps give demos and trials of how to use them, making things very easy for a layman.
5. Set up a start and end time for the promotion
Many factors can play a role in your giveaway’s success as far as the time of posting and the time period which you keep the contest active are concerned:
- Post the giveaway at peak times when your audience is active. It pays to know this data. These days, more people browse the web at the start of the week than they do on weekends. Many businesses have seen success by promoting their giveaways on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
- Monthly giveaways – Many brands have seen success with monthly giveaways. For example, they start the promotion on the first Monday of the month and end it on the last Monday/Tuesday of the month.
- Avoid Holidays – Most people are busy celebrating the holidays like Christmas and the Fourth of July. So avoid these days as you may not get the engagement you may be looking for.
6. Keep the time duration of promotion proportional to the dollar value of the giveaway
It just would not make sense to run a promo that promises a trip for two to the Maldives for just one week! It would be a waste of time and money. In short; if your dollar equivalent of the giveaway is more than $500, keep the giveaway time for least 6 weeks.
7. Do not underestimate the power of short-period giveaways
When it comes to using giveaways to keep your audience engaged, ‘flash’ or 24-hour promotions also work. Facebook and Instagram are good places to market these flash promos. Just add the giveaway and mention it will be up and running for a 24 hour period only. The downside to this is that it can get difficult selecting a winner. Number of entries can also be less compared to longer giveaways.
8. Set the terms and conditions
Terms and conditions are the official rules of the giveaway. There are several topics to consider when it comes to agreeing on the terms and conditions:
- Promotion details – Name of the promo, description, hashtags to use.
- How you contact the winners – State clearly how you will inform the winners and get in touch with them.
- Eligibility – Age, gender, place of residence, affiliation with sponsors, etc.
- Winners and prizes – how you select the winner, the average retail value of each prize.
- Privacy and security of entrants – What you will do with the emails, data the participants have entered.
- Limitations of liability – put this clause to protect your brand from legalities like a breach of contract.
- Whether a purchase is or isn’t necessary
9. Important Dos and Don’ts to consider
- Do not make the giveaway too difficult that it will chase away participants.
- Do use the promotion to increase your newsletter handouts. Encourage people to share your website link. Ask people to refer-a-friend. Increase your following on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
- Do consider giveaways on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/email such as – leave a review, answer a question, subscribe to a mailing list, Like your page on social media and so on.
- Do consider giveaways on other platforms like a blog, your website, or even a third-party blog.
10. Space your giveaway promotion timings right
Advertise your promos by creating a pre-promo buzz.
- 24-48 hours before launch, announce an exciting giveaway…
- Launch the giveaway…
- Keep re-posting the promo every day until it ends
11. Create a buzz with great descriptions
People will notice your giveaway posts when you use sentences like:
- Woot! Win exciting prizes, enter this contest today…
- A new giveaway is live…Click here
- We are now open for entries
- Enter for a chance to win exciting prizes…
Just before the contest ends, use the following sentences:
- Last call…
- Final chance to win…
- X (2,12,24…) hours left for the contest to get over…
12. Instagram giveaway tips
On Instagram, one cannot give links or direct URLs. The only place you can post a link is in your profile. So do not expect to drive a lot of traffic to your website or blog using this platform. You can, however, increase your brand’s awareness with Instagram. So keep your posts and videos engaging and use them to get more followers and create a community. Make sure you use no more than a couple of relevant hashtags to add to your posts. Use the ‘explore’ option on Instagram to find hashtags that have many followers and use them for your giveaway and other posts.
13. Celebrate your winners
Make sure you announce the winners and also ask each winner to repost or share the news on their individual pages. This will pave way for future giveaways and more people will come to know that your contests are indeed tangible or that actual people win your giveaways! You may even consider giving away a consolation prize to a few people (should they comment on your post or message you). These consolation prizes may be in the form of a sample product, a sneak-peak to an event/launch, or even the promise that a new giveaway is just around the corner!