Why Social Media Giveaways Matter Now More Than Ever

payman_taei.png  WWS contributor

  Founder of Visme.


It doesn't matter what type of business you're running, or even what types of products and services you're trying to sell, generally speaking the goal of literally any online marketing professional working today will involve a few common elements.

First, you're trying to engage with people as much as possible. However, people have grown tired of the passive marketing campaigns of an era that has now long since ended, not only because they were annoying, but also because the passive marketing campaigns distracted people from what was really important.

You also want to build a sense of loyalty among as many people in your target audience as possible. To separate yourself from your competitors and really thrive these days, you can't spend a bunch of money to attract someone who will then make a single purchase. You want them to be so happy with their experience that they not only keep coming back again and again - but that they also tell all their friends about it, too.

Marketers have been using a wide array of different tactics to accomplish goals like these for years, but one of the most powerful in current times has quickly become the contest giveaway. It's an especially powerful tactic when targeting to Millennials in particular, and it's impressively popular on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and more.


The Power of Contest Giveaways for Your Business


But before you get to work on all those terrific social media giveaway ideas for your brand, the most important thing for you to understand is that the thing you'll be giving away needs to be compelling enough to justify its own existence in the first place.

Yes, people love the opportunity to win something for free - and they're willing to do a shocking amount in order to get to that point. But nobody is going to care if you're just giving away a coupon, or something that ultimately holds little to no value in their lives.

Because of that, you'll want to make sure this particular point is accounted for before you do literally anything else. Maybe you've got an upcoming product launch and your contest prize will be a chance to receive that product a few weeks early. Maybe you're giving away an accessories prize package to help people get even more value out of a purchase they've already made. You might even choose to go the “old fashioned" route and give people cold, hard cash.

It doesn't matter - so long as the prize at the heart of your contest is compelling enough, it will quickly become the best marketing friend you've ever had. If it isn't, there's not much that all of the best practices in the world would be able to do to help you. Not only that, but a poorly conceived contest may actually harm your reputation in the long run.

To help make this easier, use a service like Respona to research current trends and pressing issues among your target audience. What do these people need? What do they want? What do they care about? Usually if you can answer these questions, the ideas for what to give away at the end of your contest will more or less generate themselves.

You'll also want to remember that your contest can't exist in a vacuum - meaning that you're going to have to market it, the same as anything else. Creating marketing collateral for what is essentially a piece of marketing collateral may seem counterintuitive, but it really is important for building anticipation ahead of your launch.

You could put the power of video marketing to work, for example, by creating a series of short videos announcing the rules and duration of your contest. You could show off your prize in all of its 1080p HD glory and let people know exactly when your contest begins and what they have to do to enter. You could even upload those videos to the very same channels your contest will be running on like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Before you even give people a chance to enter your contest, you'll want to make absolutely certain that you make the rules as clear as they can possibly be. This is where a piece of presentation software like Visme (which I founded) will absolutely come in handy.

You don't have to create a long document, but create a presentation that clearly and succinctly outlines how to play, how to win, what the actual contest rules are, etc. Remember that the rules for online contests can vary wildly depending on the state that contest will be running in, so make absolutely certain that you're creating something that is actually legal for your target audience.

At that point, you can actually get started thinking about the types of contest ideas that might be fun for your target audience. Again, we're now assuming that you have the "prize" accounted for so these are just ideas for the structure that the event itself may take. Consider just a few key options, like:

  • User generated content contests. You might hold a contest that asks users to create their own short, 30 second video for your product or service. At the end of the contest, you'll pick a few winners that can then be featured on your social media channel. People get a prize and additional exposure for their skills, and you get a few cheap and cost-effective pieces of video marketing collateral. It's a great way to create a mutually beneficial situation for everyone involved.
  • Story contest ideas. These are great for social networks with "Story" features like Instagram or Snapchat in particular. Have people create their own videos using your product or service that they then share on their own networks. You might pick a winner based on which content had the most "Likes" or "Shares," for example. Regardless, people get a fun and exciting game to play and you get a great deal of coverage for your brand - again, everyone wins.
  • Recurring giveaways. This is a great option if your prize is a bit on the "small" side (meaning it's not a massive amount of money or anything), but it's also evergreen in nature. These contents may give away one $50 gift card (or something to that effect) every three months, rather than one larger prize over the same period. These types of contests are a great way to create not only ongoing engagement, but consistency as well.

No matter what, remember that interactivity is truly one of the main keys to success in the online contest game. You need a prize that people actually care about enough to try to win, and you want a game that is fun enough to make them want to keep playing over and over again.

At the very least, giveaways are a perfect opportunity to spice up your online marketing and generate a breath of fresh air for the proceedings. At the most, it's a chance to create an enormous amount of buzz and activity surrounding your products and services - and it'll likely be enough to attract some passionate new followers along the way.

Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.