Social Media Tip of the Week: Giveaways

It's been radio silence on the Journal here for a while because quite simply, I have been snowed under with work!  And don't get me wrong, I completely and utterly appreciate all of the business that you are sending my way - but when that happens, I look at my "what is important and essential list" and decide what needs to fall away from this week's to do list so that I can give my clients my full attention.  

This week has turned out to be just as busy, but I wanted to squeeze in a Journal entry on a particular topic that I felt might be useful to businesses who are looking to give away some stuff to their followers on social media.  To be honest, I am relieved that Mother's Day has come and gone because for at least a month, all I saw were posts on M.D giveaways and now we're all back to normal programming.  Not to say that I have anything against giveaways (in fact, I will be doing one in the coming weeks so keep a look out for that...) but I wonder if there's a way to do things a bit differently, to re-engergise the giveaway concept.  Here are my thoughts:

There are a few formats that a brand could employ to run a giveaway on social media - I'm going to break them down for you with some pros and cons for you to consider if you're planning on doing something similar in the future.

This giveaway concept relies on followers to post images or videos of themselves doing / wearing / eating / etc something that is directly related to what your business does or sells.  The Pros?  It gives the brand some great user-generated content and gets followers involved with the brand.  You also get a view of how your fans interact with your offer which will provide invaluable insights and tips on how to interact with them going forward. The Cons?  It can result in fewer entries because it requires work on the follower's side.   How to make it work?  Attach a voting mechanism to it so that your followers can vote for their favourite content: it will help to drive up engagement even further.

In this particular concept, you would use Pinterest to drive engagement: fans would need to pin your image to their Pinterest boards.  The Pros?  Pinterest is a phenomenal way to increase traffic to your site if you know how to use it (see more here) and the content stays up there forever.  The Cons?  Again, it requires work on the part of the follower: you are essentially relying on them caring enough to open up Pinterest and post it for their followers to see.  Many people are also passive Pinterest users (i.e. they look for pretty images), not really understanding how to use it to drive brand awareness - in this case, I feel that oftentimes the message can get lost. How to make it work?  Provide a template for how you want the caption to be worded along with the image.  Include a link to your website and what this pin is all about.

With this idea, you ask followers to give you their name and email address for you to select a winning email address at the end of the giveaway period.  Pros?  You grow your email list really quickly.  The Cons?  People may not feel comfortable giving you their email address, nor are you guaranteed that they will stay on your email list.  You might find that the unsubscribe rates are quite high once the giveaway has come to an end.  How to make it work?  Use this giveaway for warm leads only - i.e. people that actively follow you, want to know more about you and might be interested in spending money at some point on your service / product.  

This is the easiest of the giveaway mechanics: you simply ask your followers to like or comment on your post.  The Pros?  it's easy to sign up.  The Cons?  It's easy to sign up.  So your entrants might just be interested in winning something, not necessarily intrigued by your brand or offer.  How to make it work?  Again, giveaway something that your warm leads would be interested in: a free coaching session / a free audit / etc.  Link the prize to a service or product that your fans are actively looking for.  A fun way to drive engagement: ask your entrants to post an emoji as a method of entry.  

Careful with this one because Instagram and FB don't really like these mechanics.  In this case, you need to tag a mate to win a prize.  The Pros?  You get great exposure because you're getting to an audience that might not know about you.  The Cons?  You might not convert the tagged mates into followers.  How to make it work?  Ask entrants to tag a mate who needs / has asked about the type of service or product you provide.  Be quite specific about who they should be tagging (not just "someone you think might be interested in this"). If the newbies are interested, they'll follow you or sign up to know more.

In this case, you would ask your entrants to share your post.  The Pros?  You reach their audience which can be quite valuable, especially where an entrant has many followers.  The Cons?  You don't know the quality of their followers (are they bots?  who knows!).  Many people are also quite protective of the aesthetic appeal of their feed so unless the post you want them to share is beautiful and share-worthy, they will just post it as a story.  These are fleeting and not necessarily effective.  How to make it work?  Create a beautiful, share-worthy post that followers will WANT to share on their feed.  Make it quite specific that it needs to be a post and not a story share.  

A particular mechanism will work well in one situation but not in another.  Carefully evaluate which giveaway mechanic will do the best job of increasing your engagement or reach and put it into play.  Prepare to have a sizeable influx of new followers but for many of them to fall away at the conclusion of the giveaway.  Build up the winner reveal so that people are engaged and interested.  Don't forget to evaluate the efficacy of the giveaway at the end of the campaign to understand what worked and what didn't.  I would also suggest trying out different mechanics to figure out what the sweet spot is: what works with your followers?  What brings out new, loyal fans (and not just people wanting to win something).  Also make sure that what you're giving away is of value.  Your return on investment will be largely dependent on the value of the prize.  

Keen to run a giveaway but want some help?  Get in touch:

Images: Shot and Styled by Shout & Co. for Artisan Boutique.