When you'd like to get a bit more traction on social media marketing efforts for your business, a great option that many people are implementing is a social media sweepstakes. However, a lot of the time businesses try to jump right into making a great social media sweepstakes without asking themselves what the main goal (or goals) of the contest is for their business. Of course, people love free stuff. People love to win free stuff. So, there's that! Before your business starts trying to take steps to make a social media sweepstakes a reality, the question should be asked: "Why are we launching a sweepstakes on social media, and how will it benefit your company?" Launching a sweepstakes, depending on the type, often requires a Fan Gate page, requiring the entrant to "Like" your page on Facebook prior to entering the sweepstakes. Once they pass the Fan Gate, the entry page may require more in-depth information such as email address, first name, last name, interests, and so on. With the sweepstakes, you will:

  • Gain Facebook page "Likes"
  • Build your email list for current or future Email Marketing efforts
  • Boost engagement on your page
  • Increase overall brand awareness

Capturing emails for your email marketing efforts, and increased engagement! Two birds with one stone! You're hooked, and want to launch a sweepstakes on your Facebook page or Twitter account in the foreseeable future. But how? You may be new to this, but as long as you avoid these common mistakes on what NOT to do when executing a social media sweepstakes, you're probably on the right track.

What Not to Do with a Social Media Sweepstakes

Run a sweepstakes continuously. The reason for avoiding this is fairly simple - the hype will be gone. The idea of a sweepstakes is to expand your following, and generate buzz around your brand. This will be lost if there is no appeal or feeling of exclusivity surrounding your sweepstakes. Set a lengthy campaign. If there's no urgency, many potential entrants will plan to come back and enter, but then never do. 21-30 days tends to be the optimal sweepstakes length, giving audiences ample time to hear about it and enter, without sacrificing a sense of urgency. Make the details overly intricate. Try not to require too much information, as it may turn off potential entrants from submitting personal information. If there are several steps to enter, such as "Like This", "Comment on this", and "Submit this", the barrier to entry for the sweepstakes will make the sweepstakes prize not worth the effort to an entrant. Launch it and leave it. Be sure to promote your sweepstakes through your social media or other digital marketing channels to get the most return out of your campaign! Engage with your current followers, and encourage shares to expand your reach. Break the rules. Facebook has specific guidelines regarding promotions on your company page, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your content and actions are within Facebook's policies. If they fail to adhere to Facebook's guidelines your contest is dead in the water before it even begins.

What Social Media Sweepstakes Look Like When They're Done Right

When you know what to avoid, the dream of creating a social media sweepstakes that provides measurable value for your business can easily become a reality. Here at Blue Fountain Media, we recently completed a social media sweepstakes for one of our clients, Career Glider. The idea of the sweepstakes was to give one lucky winner a chance to win $500 towards school supplies, with a goal of increasing engagement on the Career Glider Facebook and Twitter accounts while simultaneously increasing website traffic and the size of their email newsletter list.

Career Glider Sweepstakes

The barrier to entry for this competition was quite low - all a user had to do was provide their email address to be automatically entered to win. However, users were allowed a bonus entry if they had a Facebook friend who entered after they did. As a great example of how important it is to make it easy to enter, we initially didn't let users enter via Twitter. Once we opened up the extra submission feature to include Twitter shares, we saw an almost 200% spike in the number of entries.

Career Glider Entry Process

Just like was suggested earlier for an optimal sweepstakes timeframe, we ran the sweepstakes for exactly one month, with extremely positive results. Over the course of the giveaway we had 4,500 entries to the contest, as well as 408 new likes and 324 shares on the Career Glider Facebook and Twitter accounts. On the Career Glider site we had 2,580 visits that could be attributed to the campaign, and we were able to build our email lists with the email addresses of people that signed up for the competition. The added bonus here is that these people were already interested in the service Career Glider provided, so our emails to them are more likely to be opened while achieving a higher click-through-rate. Launching a sweepstakes on Facebook may create fun and engaging content for your page, allowing you to potentially grow your audience, build brand awareness, and expand your email subscriber list. If you are interested in finding out how we can help you run a successful social media sweepstakes, check out our social media marketing page.