Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Giveaways: Give a Product, Gain Engagement

Giveaways are becoming an increasingly popular marketing tools on social media sites everywhere. As public relations experts it is easy to understand why: consumers love free stuff. Consumers are not the only ones benefiting from this promotional tool; businesses are also reaping the benefits. Giveaways are an easy way to draw publicity and potential business to a company. While everyone loves a free giveaway, as business owners the recent trend in raffling off products requires us to stay up to date on how to legally and effectively offer a giveaway contest. Sounds like a headache right? Not to worry. Here is our step by step plan on how to organize a successful giveaway via social media.

The very first step in organizing a successful giveaway is defining your goals. What do you want to gain from this giveaway? More followers? Increased sales? More publicity? Whatever these goals may be you will need to keep them in mind in order to track your success.

Before implementing such a sweepstakes a company must first decide on the product they want to giveaway. The product should be something that is of value to your consumers but it should also positively reflect your company. Raffling off an iPod may draw some attention to your websites, but if your business has absolutely nothing to do with electronics you are not gaining any potential customers. Take our client Thistle and Bee for example. This high-end jewelry company is currently offering a giveaway via their Facebook fan page. They are giving away two of their most popular bangles valued at more than$1,500. These products are of value to the participants, while beautifully reflecting the Thistle and Bee brand.

Once you have your product you need to pick the social media channel that best fits your giveaway. Giveaways can be done through Twitter, Facebook, or Foursquare; discounts through Groupon, Gilt Group, and Rue La La. Be aware when choosing a channel that you read the terms of service in order to avoid any legal implications. Many sites only allow a certain type of giveaway and you may have to follow strict guidelines in order to run the sweepstakes.

Now that you have chosen your channel you will need to find a third party application to run the contest. This is legally required by many social media sites. A third party application ensures that the winner is picked at random by an unbiased party.

Before you launch your giveaway you should drop hints that you will be offering a promotion to your followers. If you are using a blog to promote it you could do a post a couple days prior about the product and then hint at a possible giveaway in the future. If you are using a fan page you could offer a giveaway after you reach so many likes. This will give your readers an incentive to keep reading your page.

Finally, you are ready to launch the giveaway. Be sure to provide your followers with brief, easy steps on how to enter. If a sweepstakes is too long or complicated to enter, most participants will get annoyed and opt out. Inform your readers of the end date of the contest. Try not to run it for too long or your readers will lose interest. You can also allow your followers extra incentives such as entering them twice in the contest if they like your page on Facebook as well as follow you on Twitter. By having them participate on your other pages you are gaining more followers and attention.

The giveaway is over, now what? It is time to notify the winner! The third party application has selected the winner of the contest at random and now it is time to contact them. Contact the winner through email and ask them for their home address in order to send the product. Send the item in a timely manner and don’t forget to include a thank you note. Having a positive experience with your company, the winner will most likely become a loyal customer and recommend your brand to others.

Giveaways are a great way to gain more traffic and potential customers if done correctly. It’s a win-win for everyone. Companies receive publicity and often gain new customers, and consumers have the chance to win something and learn about a new brand they may be interested in. In other words: bring on the giveaways!

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