8 tips for running social media sweepstakes Social Media Marketing Sweepstakes Marketing

8 Tips For Running Social Media Sweepstakes

April 16, 2013
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When running social sweepstakes on your own website using ViralSweep, you need to have a set of predetermined goals in mind so that you have a clear roadmap to success.

Here in this blog, we are going to talk about the 8 tips to help you get the most out of running a social sweepstakes.

Social Media Sweepstakes Tips

1. Set Goals to Determine an ROI

First and foremost, what are you looking to get out of running social sweepstakes? Do you want more exposure for your brand, more sales, more likes on Facebook, or followers on Twitter?

You must go into your promotion with predetermined goals so that when it ends, you are able to measure its success.

I see way too many companies running giveaways with no predetermined goals in mind. When all is said and done, they end up feeling like they got nothing out of it, aside from it being some “fun” marketing ploy.

To set goals and track them, you can do something as simple as opening an excel spreadsheet before you run the giveaway and creating a list of the goals you want to set.

Set goals

2) Sales? Probably not…

When running a giveaway, it is important to understand that you most likely won’t see sales pouring in. You may get a few sales, but don’t make sales your number one goal when running a giveaway.

I’ve worked with many companies that measure the success of their giveaway based on the number of sales they received. If they did not get as many as they were hoping for, they are usually unhappy and feel as if their money was not well spent.

The problem with this train of thought is that no marketing tactic can ever really guarantee sales; giveaways are fantastic for lead generation, where you foster a relationship with your new customers, leveraging them for sales at a later time.

Running social sweepstakes is just another marketing tactic, and there will always be a cost associated with it.

If you have ever used Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, you know that you have to spend a good chunk of change to get enough people to click through to your website.

Even after they click, it is still JUST a click – nothing more. Your job isn’t done even after you have paid for a click; you still need to make sure those people are able to make it through your sales funnel to make a purchase.

The same goes for a giveaway: you need to make sure that you have structured it correctly so that you are able to reach your goals, whether that is to capture leads, get more likes, followers, etc.

But of course, if you’re really itching to get more sales out of a giveaway, then…

3) Offer a Discount

Providing entrants with a discount that they can redeem for products/services on your site is a great way to increase sales.

Most companies either run a giveaway or just offer a coupon, but from my experience, combining the two is more powerful.

Offering a coupon without a giveaway means that the coupon is out in the wild for anyone to see and use. People may see the coupon and say, “Sweet! I’ve been wanting to buy something from them, now is the time!”

Then, they get distracted. A few days go by, and they completely forget about using your coupon to make a purchase. In fact, they don’t purchase at all. Unfortunately, you have no idea who this person is or how to reach them.

However, when running social sweepstakes, you can offer a discount once the user has entered. 

This means that you have captured them as a lead, usually by collecting their email address, and you can effectively re-market to them to remind them about the coupon if they don’t end up making a purchase.

A good rule of thumb is to provide a coupon for the duration of the giveaway and have it expire a week after the giveaway ends. This will encourage people that didn’t win to make an impulse purchase.

4) Interact on Facebook

Interacting with your current and new users on Facebook is especially important during social sweepstakes.

Remember, these platforms are not meant to be used as a one-way form of communication; do less pushing and more pulling.

When you get those 500 new Facebook fans, your first post shouldn’t be, “HEY, NEW FANS, BUY OUR PRODUCTS NOW!”

Instead, engage and build a relationship with them. Much like going on a first date, you want to make a good impression in order to keep them as a fan and eventually convert them into a customer.

For example, let’s say you run a company that sells mattresses — start out with something like “Welcome to all of our new fans. Are there any problems that you have with your current mattress that keep you up at night? Let us know, and we’ll see if our certified mattress experts can help find a solution to your problem.”

This opens the floodgates for your fans to start leaving comments talking about their sleeping problems as a result of their mattress.

You then chime in and respond directly to each customer, helping to find a solution to their problem. Remember, building a relationship with them first is the key to turning them into customers who are likely to buy from you in the future.

5) Interact on Twitter

The same goes for Twitter – use it as a platform to interact with your new users, not as a platform to constantly push out tweets about your products.

Interact on Twitter

Another great way to take advantage of Twitter is by using search.twitter.com. This allows you to search for any keyword or phrase that people are currently tweeting.

So, if you run a mattress company, you can run a search for “I hate my bed’, and you will see results from people that have recently tweeted that phrase.

You can then reach out to them, let them know about your mattress giveaway, and start building a relationship by asking why they hate their mattress and what you can do to help.

6) Promote to Your Own Audience

This one is simple and should be a no-brainer. Promote your giveaway to your email list and to your audience on social media. Put a graphic on the homepage of your website linking to the giveaway.

What is the point of running a social sweepstakes if your current audience doesn’t know about it?

Sure, you may just want to bring in new people for your giveaway, but you would be foolish to ignore the fact that your current audience could bring in more of their own friends and family, which you would be missing out on.

7) Promote on Sweepstakes Directories

Adding your social sweepstakes to a directory can bring in a lot of traffic, but keep in mind that it is mostly non-targeted traffic, and sweepstakers just looking for freebies.

However, if your goal is to get as much traffic and as many leads as possible, you’ll want to submit to these sites.

Here is a great list of sweepstakes directories to submit your giveaway.

8) Utilize Facebook Comments

Utilizing the Facebook commenting system in your giveaway is a great way to continue the conversation and bring in more people.

Many 3rd party giveaway tools have Facebook comments built right in, but if you’re building a custom giveaway page, use the Facebook comments plugin.

Facebook comments

If you structure your social sweepstakes correctly, you should be able to ask users a question that they can reply to using Facebook comments.

For example, if you’re giving away a mattress, you can ask: “Which mattress would you choose from our selection if you win?”

This simple question will drum up hundreds of comments because it encourages people to browse your website to find the mattress they want.

Another great thing about Facebook comments is that when you reply to people, your comment will show up with your company name.

Don’t forget, when a user leaves a comment, Facebook usually displays that in the newsfeed for their friends to see, which brings in more people.


  • Set goals to determine an ROI. Do not go in blind, hoping for the best when running a social sweepstakes.
  • You most likely won’t get many sales from a giveaway, if any at all. You should be capturing leads and interacting with your new fans to convert them into future customers.
  • Discounts, when combined with a giveaway, can help to drive sales.
  • Promote the social sweepstakes to your current audience, and if you’re looking to get as many leads as possible, submit to sweepstakes directories.
  • Use Facebook, Facebook comments, and Twitter properly to increase engagement and interaction with your audience. Remember, less pushing and more pulling.

Avatar for Giancarlo Massaro

Giancarlo is the co-founder of ViralSweep, the viral marketing platform for businesses. Connect with him on Twitter.
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