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[4/6] How to Run an Unforgettable Social Media Giveaway: Part 1

So far in this MasterClass, we’ve established that running social media giveaways is a great way to get new fans and boost exposure for your brand.

We’ve talked about all the great benefits you can gain from it – as well the wrong reasons to do it.

The next two lessons from this MasterClass will cover all the necessary steps you need to take to put together a successful social media giveaway.

You’ll learn how to set it up from zero and how to achieve maximum ROI (Return on investment).

So, buckle up and let’s go on a journey through the magical realm of social media contests and giveaways.

1. Set Your Objectives (the Smart Way)

Like just about anything in business, planning is key.

Before you get started with anything, set some crystal-clear objectives. This way, every aspect of the giveaway will be designed to help you reach those goals.

Ask yourself:

What are you trying to achieve with this? What offers you the best ROI?

Analyze what’s your highest converting channel. If it’s email marketing, getting a larger email list could be a goal you set up for your giveaway.


If you’re asking giveaway participants for their email address, make sure you make it clear. Also, give them the chance to unsubscribe.

Alternatively, if you just want exposure, encourage shares. Make sure you advertise the giveaway beforehand and draw it out over a longer period of time.

These are just ideas, though.

You know best what your company needs and you’ll also know the best way to achieve this. The vital part is that you know what you’re looking for during the whole process.

Also, do your best to set SMART goals.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

A SMART objective sounds like this:

We want to gain 300 quality leads within 20 days of the giveaway start.

After setting your goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicator), start monitoring them throughout the giveaway.

Keep your eyes on the prize!

2. Choose the Platform where the Social Media Giveaway Will Take Place

Even though you’ll promote the giveaway basically on all your channels, you still have to decide where to run it.

You could pick Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. These are the most popular social media channels for giveaways.

The choice should be connected to the objectives you set in the first place.

Different channels have different strong points.

For example, if your goal is to increase your number of Instagram followers, then that is where you will run the giveaway, of course.

If Facebook is your most active channel and you want leads, use that.

If you want to grow one of your other social media pages, pick that.

Another option you may not know about is to use a giveaway website.

The advantage of using giveaway sites is that you get a chance to attract new followers from new groups.

They may not have even heard of your brand before, but now you have a chance to get them hooked on your products or services.

Here are some sites you might want to check out now and save for later:

Copy/paste the links below in a new tab to open them.


Check these sites out and see if any of them would be a good fit for the giveaway you have in mind.

As you can see, you have plenty of options. The sky is the limit.

Well, actually, there are other limits: the platform’s rules regarding contests and giveaways.

If you don’t know them beforehand, you might end up wasting your time or even getting into trouble.

3. Don’t Begin Yet! Read the Networks’ Promotion Rules

Legally speaking, when it comes to giving away stuff to your audience for the purpose of marketing your business, you have two options:

  • The traditional sweepstake or giveaway. It’s when you give out a prize, and the winners are chosen as a result of chance, typically following a draw.
  • Contests. This involves the participants having to do some work to win the prize. The winners are chosen based on merit.

A lottery belongs in an entirely different class, and private lotteries are NOT legal. 

They require:

  • purchase,
  • payment,
  • other compensation (the contestant has to buy something to enter the competition),
  • chance,
  • and a prize.

This step is extremely important. Avoid wasting your time.

Before you get started working on your campaign, you’ll want to have a look at the rules. All social media platforms have specific rules for contests or giveaways.

Do some research to understand the rules.

Make sure what you plan on doing isn’t violating their terms.

Once you know what you can and can’t do in social media contests or giveaways, it’s time to choose.

It is best to stick with just one social media platform.

It will be easier to track and analyze. Your focus will be in just one place. It will also make your life easier, because there are key differences between Instagram and Twitter users, for example.

4. Decide What Type of Social Media Giveaway You’ll Organize

It is important that you correlate the type of giveaway with your objective. Remember your goals and determine what style will serve them the best.

  • Sweepstakes – participants win a prize by chance. These are the type of giveaways where you ask for likes, comments, or shares. The winner is picked randomly, usually using a tool like No one can interfere with the results. It’s just pure luck.

  • Contests– effort or skill is required to win the prize. You can ask participants to upload photos or videos, for example. You can also ask them to get creative and provide unique descriptions for their posts. The winner is picked by a jury, through voting, or by using other criteria you come up with.

Sweepstakes/giveaways can become viral and generate many likes, shares, or comments.

Contests do that as well, but typically require more work from those who enter.

The more complex the task, the fewer people will sign up for the prize. But that isn’t always a bad thing. You know that the ones who completed the requirements are quality fans.

Contests are a great way to get user-generated content and build your email list.

You can, of course, create a variation of one of these two types. That would be a good idea actually, as the more creative and unique the giveaway, the more memorable it will be.

The important thing is to choose a type that is suitable for your brand and objective.

5. Create a Set of Rules and an Entry Process

If you already established a few goals, then you probably already have some ideas about the entry process.

If you want to grow your contact list, for example, you’ll ask people to give their email address.

When creating the entry process, remember this crucial rule: keep it simple.

Your visitors will be deterred by giveaways that have too many steps.

Don’t ask people to give out their email, then fill a form, then give out their credit card information and then do a backflip.

An email address or a share on social media should be enough. If you’re dead-set on asking for more, you’ll need to offer better prizes as well.

From the audience’s point of view, it’s simple: the prize has to be worth the trouble of participating.

Another thing you’ll have to do is explain every little step of the process in detail. Ambiguity can lead to confusion and confusion can lead to problems.

Besides the entry process, you also have to present a set of rules by which the social media giveaway will abide.

Generally speaking, the rules put in place by the platform you’ll use are enough for a nice and orderly giveaway. If you’re holding a contest, though, you’ll need your own extra rules regarding the winner selection process.

So, the keywords here are these: simplicity and clarity.

Let your audience know what they can and can’t do.

Let them know you can disqualify them if they break the rules.

Clearly state how validation works. Outline the judging criteria. Make the entire process as transparent as possible.

Don’t forget to mention if there are any requirements for entering your giveaway.

For example, if you’re a company based in New York and your giveaway is only targeted at people who live in that area, let your audience know that only people living in New York can participate.

It is also a good idea to add a +18 years old rule.

6. Determine Your Budget and Pick a Relevant Prize

When setting a budget, you need to consider all the aspects.

If you ask a lot from your audience – like shooting a 10 seconds video and tagging 10 friends – make sure the prize is worth it.

Another route would be to offer lots of smaller prizes.

Still, have a big one that will get everyone’s attention.

As a rule of thumb, if you ask a lot from your audience, you need to offer a killer prize, too. Otherwise, fewer people will participate.

If only 100 people participate, your conversion rate will be small.

If you’re asking a lot, offer a lot.

By asking participants to perform a simpler task (or a task that doesn’t require a lot of commitment), you guarantee yourself more participants.

This will increase your conversion rate and the prize can be cheaper.

If you don’t want to blow a lot of money, that’s fine. Just make sure people feel like the effort they put into participating is worth the prize.

The most important aspect of the prize is (and will always be) its relevancy.

You want people to remember your brand, so the whole giveaway has to be something specific and unique to you.

The prize should be relevant to the profile of your company and your audience.

Let’s say that you’re a skincare company and you offer a lawnmower as a prize. Is that relevant?

No, it isn’t!

Instead, you could offer:

  • New products you’re launching
  • A goodie bag that contains premium skincare products
  • A facial treatment at a luxury spa
  • Product supplies for an entire year

And the list can go on and on. If you have a bigger budget, you can, of course, have a more impressive prize, such as a trip to a dreamy destination.

End Of Part 1

Successfully organizing social media contests or giveaways requires having a well-thought-out plan.

Coming up with a great idea is the best start you can ask for. Build on that and stay relevant to your audience and brand.

Check out part two for the rest of the steps you should follow to plan a successful social media giveaway.