855.62.TOAST [email protected]

People love sweepstakes. They love the thrill of the chase, the rush of the win and reaping rewards from brands they love. Spoiler alert: brands love sweepstakes too. Why? Because running a sweepstakes, especially on social media, is a fun way to kick-start some audience engagement, recruit new fan advocates, open lines of communication with followers, build that all-important email list, and reward fans for being the best-ever.

People love sweepstakes. They love the thrill of the chase, the rush of the win and (obvi) reaping rewards from brands they love. Spoiler alert: brands love sweepstakes too. Why? Because running a sweepstakes, especially on social media, is a fun way to kickstart some audience engagement, recruit new fan advocates, open lines of communication with followers, build that all-important email list, and reward fans for being the best-ever.

“Really? It’s possible to accomplish ALL this with a sweepstakes?”

Abso-freakin-lutely. That is of course, if you have a winning strategy in place to make it happen. We know from experience that running a sweepstakes isn’t always love at first sight. To help avoid the heartache of a sweepstakes flop, we’ve sat down with some of our seasoned pros to bring you these do’s and don’ts of running a sweepstakes on social media.

DO: Make it Easy

Your fans shouldn’t have to jump through hoops in order to enter your sweepstakes. To avoid form abandonment and confusion, make the entry process quick and understandable. Spell out the process clearly and keep it to as few clicks and form fields as possible. The longer the form, the less likely an individual is going to fill it out – do you really need to know their astrological sign or the first name of their high school crush?

With SocialToaster, you can save time and encourage participation with one click entry; no forms necessary.

DO: Send Entrants Directly to Your Contest Page from any Social Promotional Message

When you’re promoting on your social channels and beyond, you want to make sure that you’re sending your fans directly to the entry page, or the page that tells them how to enter. This will result in more (and happier) entrants.

Please don’t send them on a wild goose chase trying to find where to enter! This will only cause confusion and frustration for your fans and heartache for you when you end up with no entries.

Pro Tip: To make sure your entrants know they’ve ended up in the right place when they click a link from a social post, make sure the creative on the entry page ties together with the the creative used in promoting the sweepstakes.

DO: Align Prizing with Your Brand and Sweepstakes Theme

Would you be surprised if we told you that the monetary value of your prize doesn’t have to be insane as long as it makes sense for your brand and sweeps theme? That’s right, your fans love you for who you are! If you’re a bowling alley, chances are your fans will appreciate the chance to win a fresh pair of bowling shoes more than an iPad.

It’s also important to note that when you do go the route of the extravagant but irrelevant prize, it’s likely that your prize will go to a rando that’s just looking to win instead of a loyal fan.

DO: Keep in Touch

When fans come to enter your sweepstakes, make sure you include a section on the page that allows them to opt-in to your mailing list. Once these addresses are gathered, communicate with your entrants! Thank them for entering and encourage them to invite their friends; if you’re using SocialToaster to manage the sweepstakes you can even reward them with points and extra entries for doing so.

Emailing entrants during the contest will train them to expect your emails when the sweepstakes is over. This way you can continue to give them the inside scoop on your brand’s products, developments and promotions long after the winner has been chosen.

DON’T: Forget to Promote

One of the biggest barriers keeping fans from entering is that they don’t know about it! To make sure this doesn’t happen to your fans, share your sweeps information on all of your social channels. To take it a step further, you can use promoted posts to recruit entrants from your entire social audience. And while the sweepstakes are focused on social, don’t forget that you can (and should) be promoting it on your website, in emails and in any other communications with customers.

When you’re using SocialToaster, don’t forget to have your fan advocates share the sweepstakes information with their friends and followers. This will give you a bigger audience and a bigger pool of entrants to choose from.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget the value of promoting on Instagram. Include the contest link in the ‘location’ field of the Instagram post and in the bio section of your Instagram account as well.

DON’T: Run Your Sweeps for too Long

If you run your sweeps for too long, your fans are going to get bored and stop participating. To keep this from happening, make sure you keep it between 1-3 months and refresh your fans with reminders of what they could win and how to enter.

DON’T: Give the best prize to the top point earner

While many sweepstakes programs are set up to give prizes away to top point earners, we find that instead of promoting friendly competition it can (unintentionally) encourage people to cheat the system and can bring out the worst in some sweepers. We’re all about keeping sweepstakes fun, fair, and accessible to the average fan, so we recommend random selection.

DON’T: Do Anything Illegal

Every country, state and city has different rules for contests. For instance, did you know that in Canada, a sweepstakes winner must correctly answer a mathematical skill-testing question, within 5 minutes, without a calculator before the prize can be awarded? For this reason, it’s imperative that you know the laws that will affect your sweepstakes before launching.

Bonus DO: Run a fan advocacy program (through SocialToaster!) alongside your sweepstakes.

Pairing a fan advocacy program with your sweepstakes offers many benefits; from reaching more people and getting higher rates of engagement, to collecting useful data and insights about your fans. A fan advocacy program also lends additional third-party credibility to both the sweepstakes and to your brand, fostering trust and adding a layer of legitimacy. Also, the one-click social sign in makes entering a sweepstakes as easy as pushing the button on a mouse!  With all of these features, it’s clear that fan advocacy and social sweeps are a match made in heaven.

At SocialToaster, we use sweepstakes to activate and reward your best fan advocates (we call them Superfans!) while boosting your brand’s reach and engagement on social. Whether you’re new to social sweepstakes or have a few tips of your own to add to our list, we’re confident SocialToaster has a solution for your brand. Contact one of our fan advocacy strategists today to get a demo and find out how to turn your fans into Superfans!