Timing is everything when it comes to social media contests. If you’re running a massive promotion on a contest or giveaway when there’s a major news cycle happening, for example, you’re probably not going to see traction. It could even hurt your brand’s perception.
Plus, if you try to force a contest when your audience is focused on other things, some followers (and potential followers) may see your campaign as a cheap way to buy engagement or followers, rather than a way to provide value and have fun.
You don’t have a larger strategy (or the giveaway doesn’t align with your overall strategy)
If a brand doesn't have a clear goal for the contest or isn't sure how it aligns with their overall marketing strategy, don’t do it. A contest without a clear objective — or clear alignment to an existing, overarching strategy — will just be a waste of resources.
Another thing? Social media giveaways and contests aren’t just a “quick grab” for new followers and higher metrics. While a giveaway might spike engagement, the high might not last once the contest is over, especially if people only followed or interacted with your account to win the prize.
Do you know your audience's preferences as far as content goes? Are they video consumers? Static post people? Stories? You need to know how they consume content before you start promoting a contest. If they are more engaged by video, you don’t want to promote a contest through graphics alone.
The other thing: If you don’t have a prize that’ll have your audience foaming at the mouth, you don’t need to host a giveaway. If you haven’t monitored your offers or products for “best sellers” or you don’t have a new offer with a lot of hype around it, it might be best to hold off.
Partnering with other brands or influencers to make a giveaway “more enticing”? It could work — but only if the prize is relevant to your brand. You don’t want to give away skincare products if you’re a financial services firm.
You get the idea.
Ready to run a giveaway or contest? Here’s what to do
So you’ve decided that a social media giveaway or contest is the right next step for your brand. Now what?
First things first: Define your goals
“Increase engagement” isn’t a goal. At least, not the only goal.
Whether this giveaway or contest is a supplement to a launch strategy, a brand awareness campaign, etc. make sure your goal is clear and measurable.
Again, we already mentioned this above, but it’s worth repeating: Follow. The. Rules.
Make sure you are familiar with Meta or TikTok rules prior to publishing your first contest or giveaway promotion. You can be penalized, and even have your account suspended if you break their rules.
Depending on the value of your giveaway and how you’re promoting it, you might also want to look into contractual CYA clauses. You may need to be hyper-specific about the prize, who can enter, how the winner is chosen, etc.
If you’re entering into a giveaway with other brands, you may also want to have a contract between all parties to ensure that everyone delivers their product/inclusions, and that there are clear guidelines for how submissions are handled, shared, and so on.