How to grow your brand’s social media following with giveaways

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One of the best ways to grow your social media following or your mailing list is to run a competition or a giveaway and there’s so many ways in which you can do this. Giveaways and online competitions can be a brilliant way to grow your brand quickly, but they need to be carefully managed. It’s good to take your time to plan them carefully, there are certain things you need to do just to tick the box, like clear terms & conditions, complying to privacy laws, GDPR etc. 

You need to make sure you have an unbiased way of picking a winner, even if it’s just a selection out of a hat scenario, you need to make sure there’s no bias there. You also need to make sure you’ve got a clear process of how you’re going to promote your competition, things like deciding whether you’re putting out a post daily or weekly. You need to have a good clear plan of when and what you’re promoting, to make sure you’ve got the maximum impact. 

We’ve picked our five favourite giveaway formats to use for your business to help grow your brands social media following:-

Format 1 – Like, comment and share

Using the like, comment and share features is great for building your social following – the idea is you’re getting other people to help promote your page and like your page through your competition. They are simple to run from a technical perspective; you announce what the competition is going to be, what you win, maybe it’s a gift voucher or a hamper and explain the way you enter. Whether you need to like the post itself that you’ve promoted the competition on, or comment on the post, like the page or follow the page depending on whether you’re on Facebook or Instagram.

We tend to set 3 things to do to enter our competitions, the biggest difficulty with this type of competition can be actually finding all the entrants, because certain entrants, if they have strong privacy settings might be blocked from actually seeing their comments, or seeing their likes. Unfortunately there’s not an awful lot you can do about it, but by getting them to comment on the post as well it means you do have a list of those comments and then you can double check whether or not those people have followed the page and you can see to an extent whether or not they’ve shared your content.

Format 2 – Tag a friend

Tagging a friend is where you tag a fellow user such as your friends, your parents, partner etc. to share the competition with you. The idea is to create a viral sort of post on the analogy to grow your social following very quickly by being targeted. This works really well for things like Mothers Day or Valentines Day or a prize that involves two people, maybe a spa day for two or whatever it might be, it works really well for those that are after that type of promotion or that type of offer. 

If they want to enter the competition they can comment on the post, tagging the person who they would like to enter as well, liking the page and sharing the post. You’ve then created that sort of viral content where you’re getting a load of content out there, shared by a number of people. By tagging their friend it enters both of them into the competition, the idea is, if they are chosen then the person that entered gets the prize for themselves and they also get a prize for the other person that they’ve tagged in their posts, so both people win!

Format 3 – Email list builder

The nice thing about a mailing list builder is how the other two formats are about social media and just promoting on social media. Whereas this format means that you can actually promote your competition anywhere, whether that’s the local paper or maybe its a magazine. It can obviously be promoted on social media as well and you can also promote it to your existing mailing list. The idea is to reach out in a variety of directions in order to promote your competition and the format behind this is to specifically build your mailing list. 

In order to enter the competition, entrants are sent to a landing page where they have a basic form to fill out that also provides an email address, they opt in to make sure that you can send them emails, newsletters etc. After they are entered, that enters them into the online competition. This could be selected at random or it could be that the winner is selected using some sort of criteria so they have to answer a question. 

Format  4 – Collaboration

Collaboration is a really good way for two brands to come together to tap into each other’s social following and mailing lists in order to grow both brands simultaneously. This is brilliant if you want to work alongside a brand that has a really similar target audience to you, but that sells different products. For example, if you sell horse riding apparel and clothing and you know a brand that sells horse riding boots then it might make sense for the two of you to collaborate together to run a full horse riding outfit competition for the lucky winner. 

They will have a load of people in their mailing list and in their online audience that could potentially be interested in your products and you’ll have a load of people in your social media audience or your mailing list that would be interested in your collaborative products. So you come together to help share your audience and reach a wider audience by doing that. 

This is a really good one to do if each brand has something to offer the other, it works really well if both brands are fairly evenly matched but maybe have strengths in slightly different areas, maybe one brand has a really strong mailing list, but maybe not such a strong social following and vice versa, it’s a great way of trying to leverage the other brands marketing base in order to build your own.

Format 5 – UGC creator

This competition is great if your aim is to get more user generated content in order to use on your social media, your email mail outs or your online advertising. The nice thing about this competition is it can be something you can run regularly if you want to. Quite a few brands do a ‘customer of the month’ and it’s really simple to set up, if you’re running this on Facebook the way to do it is to create a post asking them to upload images of them using your products. 

People then upload images of them enjoying your products, using the products in their day to day life and then you pick a winner out of the photographs once a month. For example, if you’re selling dog collars they might all upload their really cute images of their dog wearing your collar and you pick an image out of that and all they do is upload those images to the post that you’ve put on Facebook and you go through and select your winner. 

If you’re using Instagram a really good way of managing it is to have a competition hashtag, so if you’re using a dog collar they might upload the image and then tag dog collar, customer of the month with that specific hashtag. You can then go through the hashtag and pick your winner – this is a great way of getting their user generated content which is important for building brand presence and trust.

At the end of this you’ve got a number of images submitted by your customers of them enjoying your products which is absolute gold for your social media feed. This is a really good one to run regularly, also by posting on their feed a user’s friends and followers can see them using your products and enjoying it, so it also has a certain social proof effect, which enables other people to see your products out there being used by happy customers. 

These are our top five competition/giveaway formats, they’re all relatively simple, but there’s loads of scope there to be creative with these formats to create really good results from your competitions. 

To summarise we think the most important thing to be clear about is what you want to achieve from your competition. 

  • Are you wanting to build your social following? 
  • Are you looking to grow your mailing list? 
  • Are you looking to broaden your audience? 
  • Are you looking to get a load of really good content? 

Whatever it might be, be really clear about what competition you’re running and why you’re running it. Ensure you have your T&C’s covered, if you’re not sure about this run it past a solicitor, get some really good terms and conditions in place before you start running competitions. Make sure you’ve done your homework and nothing is going to come back and be used against you. 

If you’re picking a winner at random make sure you have a process for genuinely picking that winner randomly. We tend to take all the people that have entered and stick them into a spreadsheet and then we use Google’s random number generator to generate a number and then we go down the row and whoever is in the row of that number is the winner! We record this on our screen so it’s absolutely clear that we haven’t been in any way biassed in choosing the winner, it’s a really good process and everythings recorded should anyone question it in the future. 

We hope our top tips on competition formats have been useful, you might also be interested in how you can generally grow your Instagram following, watch our video to find out more about this.

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