Back in May, a California-based bathing suit company posted an Instagram giveaway. They were giving out free bathing suits (that originally went for $64.99) to people in the United States who reposted their picture and were willing to pay shipping and handling. Within 24 hours the company owed tens of thousands of social media users free bathing suits. Needless to say, this was a failed digital marketing strategy. But, what about the inbound traffic to their associated social media and website?
The brand’s Instagram account earned more than 338,000 likes, thousands of reposts to users with thousands of followers and several write ups on major news outlets about the snafu. So, it’s obvious that giveaways and contests can rack up new visitors. But, there are some basic guidelines you should follow before you end up out of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise:
What Kind of Traffic Do They Drive?
As per our example, giveaways can be wildly popular. But that doesn’t mean all of those participating are loyal followers or customers. When you run a contest or giveaway, regular visitors may be excited to join the fun, but you are more than likely going to have the majority of entries being new faces.
Now that may sound great! I mean, you are looking to gain new audiences members. Well, contest hunters are indeed a thing in the world of social media. So, you can’t rely on those entries to turn into customers. Expect a spike in numbers for the duration of your contest or giveaway, then see a drop.
How to Conduct a Contest or Giveaway?
There are several approaches to a contest or giveaway. Start by determining your purpose. Then, pick a time of year that best suits it. Holidays and company celebrations are good places to start. Next, build your giveaway inventory. Are you going to supply all of the merchandise or do you want to bring on sponsors for cross promotion? You need to decide how much the potential traffic is worth.
Then, choose your platform, contest rules (there’s a fine balance between too easy and too challenging) and watch it unfold. You should watch your numbers constantly, and promote it as much as possible.
How Do I Select a Winner?
How you will be determining a winner should be stated in your rules from the very beginning. You can set a precedent, like a comment with a heartfelt story, or you can make it completely random using a website generator.
Your method should be chosen before posting and you should be 100 percent transparent in explaining the stipulations. If you choose to rank contest entries based on skill, you may want to consider bringing in a panel to make it more legitimate. Also, be sure to reiterate the way to win throughout the duration of the giveaway.
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Emily is a graduate from Florida Atlantic University where she studied English and communication. With a background in journalism, she is passionate about writing engaging and informative articles, and has a love for local businesses. Emily strives to assist businesses in building their brand identities and communities through quality, digital content.