Running a Small Business Giveaway


Running a giveaway can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work and it’s not always worth the cost if you don’t take the time to plan it out. Don't get me wrong though, I really do love giveaways because they are a wonderful way to give back to your followers and simultaneously grow your audience as well. 


Weigh the Cost vs Benefit

It’s important to weigh the cost and benefit of hosting a giveaway, every business is different and it’s not always going to be worth it depending on what your products/services are and where your social growth is at this point. The benefits of a giveaway are exposure and engagement, and the cost is the item/service that you will give away. Make sure you consider things like shipping into your giveaway cost, and also your time spent organizing all the logistics.

Start small for your first giveaway! If you have an item or service that is of low cost to your business but still worth taking the time to enter to win, it’s worth trying out on your current audience and your followers will appreciate it. 


Choose a Platform

It is going to be less of a headache if you just choose one platform to host your giveaways. You could host a separate giveaway on each platform, or just choose the platform that you feel has the most engagement, but hosting one giveaway across both a Facebook and Instagram account can be a hassle when it comes down to drawing a winner. It’s not impossible but I would encourage making it easier on yourself and avoiding the headache.  

Consider who your audiences are on each platform (don't assume they are the same) and how they differ in terms of engagement. Choosing only one platform can also help to bring followers over from one platform to the other, you can entice your Facebook followers to find you on Instagram to enter the giveaway or vice versa. 


Visually Entice Them

As with anything on the internet, you want to create as few barriers between your giveaway and your participants. When you create your visual concept for the giveaway (a photo of the prize etc) make sure it is very clear what the prize is and that that post is a giveaway post. Ideally place some text on the image so that when someone is directed to your feed they can find the giveaway post rightway.

Especially if you are holding the giveaway for longer than a  few days and continuing to post, pushing that giveaway further down in your feed. Having a clear label on your giveaway post will make it easier to find and catch people's eye as they scroll by. 


Be Clear in the Expectations

Once you’ve created your visual aspect, you need to decide and then clearly communicate the conditions of your giveaway. Leaving the terms vague and unclear will discourage entries through lack of trust and professionalism. Settings up clear expectations leave your followers feeling confident in taking the time to enter. 

One of the things that you should be clear on is what the actual prize is, even if it is in the photo. A written description is not only a great way to sell the giveaway but it also sets crystal clear expectations ( for example, maybe they think the basket is included when really it belongs to your grandma and just looked really good for the photo.)

The logistics of the giveaway should be clear so that there’s no doubt in your follower's mind that they aren’t wasting their time by entering. Be clear about details such as the giveaway dates, area of eligibility, and the rules to enter. 


Understand the Logistics Involved in the Entry Process

The entry process is where things can get more complicated so set yourself up for success by being specific in your rules of entry and creating rules that make your life easier. For example if shipping is going to be too expensive, make it a locals-only giveaway and offer a delivery area! It’s your giveaway so make it work for you. 

Create a simple yet clear entry process that benefits you but isn’t too much work for the contestant. Be clear that they must follow your account to be eligible to win and set your entry rule to be one entry per friend tagged in the comments to get the most exposure for your giveaway.

This way your account is landing in front of a bunch of new eyes, which is another reason to make sure you have enticing and clear imagery for those that will be unknowingly tagged in your giveaway.

You can make it easier on yourself to draw a winner by requesting only one tag per comment. Some accounts like to set an entry rule of two tags per entry to land in front of more eyes, but I find that keeping that barrier of entry really low encourages more entering and tags.

By requiring two tags you are excluding anyone who might only have one friend to tag in giveaways, and if someone wants to tag two friends then they can still do so in two comments and increase their chances of winning. 

You can set up opportunities for bonus entries by specifying that an additional entry will be given for sharing the giveaway post to their stories. This is a great way to land in front of even more eyes in a visual way, but you need to be diligent in keeping track of those tags because they expire after 24 hours.

I like to respond to each story tag with a sticker or gif so that they know I have seen it and then I screenshot their story so I have a hardcopy for later when I’m counting entries.



Market your Giveaway for Free

Don’t just rely on your followers to bring you new traffic! Place your giveaway in some intentional places around the internet to increase the amount of entries and followers you can reach. 

Cross-pollinate your social accounts by encouraging your followers on other platforms to join your giveaway. If they are already following you in one place, it’s likely they are willing to follow you on another platform for a chance to win something. Don’t forget about your email list! Giveaways are a great opportunity to convert those email subscribers to social media followers as well. 

Utilize other platforms and forums to spread the word about your exciting giveaway. You can join facebook groups that are specific to giveaways or specific to your industry (but always check rules of the group, some don’t allow self promotion.)

You can post on Reddit forums and any other places that you think your people may be hanging out already. 


Count the Entries/Choosing a Winner

Congratulations! You set up and ran a giveaway, but it’s not over yet. In fact, sometimes the actual drawing of a winner can be the biggest stressor if you haven’t set yourself up for success in the rules of entry. In the simplest steps, you need to extract the entries, draw a winner by random, and then announce and close the giveaway.

To extract your comments from your social media giveaway post, you can use a website to download the names (for Facebook or Instagram) into an excel sheet (or a similar spreadsheet, you can use Google Sheets for free.)

Then all you have to do is review the comments for invalid entries (such as a comment like “love this!” without a tag) and remove them from the list. It is easier to select a winner and then check if they follow your account/s, you don’t need to individually check each entry for eligibility.

And finally, you can use a random number selector to randomly draw a number based on the number of entries you have. The number will correspond with an entry on your list, and there you have your winner! Announce your giveaway winner on social media, and don’t forget to edit your giveaway post as 'Closed' to provide clear communication. 




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