Social media giveaways are a great way to expand your company’s reach and expose your brand to new audiences. Maximizing those pluses, though, is only possible if the giveaway is legally and ethically sound. There are a few crucial boxes to check before you begin.
Crafting a transparent and legal social media campaign not only protects you from any issues that may arise, but also builds trust with both existing and potential customers. Better Business Bureau compiled a checklist of proactive steps to take before launching your next giveaway.
Terminology Matters: Contest, Sweepstakes, or Giveaway?
These terms are not interchangeable, so make sure your wording is consistent and that you aren’t misclassifying. A giveaway is the umbrella term for all the following collection methods:
- Contest: This is a campaign where the winner is picked based on skill or merit. For example, Love One Today hosted a contest where participants submitted photos of their creative avocado recipes and the entries with the most likes received branded merchandise. Make sure you provide clear descriptions of how winners will be selected (i.e., number of likes or a committee selecting the winner based on criteria).
- Sweepstakes: This is a randomized selection where every participant has an equal chance of winning once the outlined steps are completed. For example, a business asking participants to like a post, tag a friend or leave a response in the comments to receive an entry.
Very Important: Sweepstakes and illegal lotteries are similar to each other. The key difference is that you are not asking participants for something of value or extensive effort to enter. In other words, that you are not asking them for money to enter. That is why you often see “No Purchase Necessary” in sweepstakes promotions.
Each Platform is Different: Giveaway Rules
Each social media network has its own unique set of rules, and some are stricter than others.
Most major platforms require a disclaimer stating they are in no way sponsoring, endorsing, or administering the giveaway. Did you know that Facebook does not allow participants to share the giveaway on their timeline or tag friends in the comments to receive an entry? Whereas tagging a friend in the comments is completely acceptable on Instagram.
Choose a platform wisely based on the goals of your giveaway. Are you hoping to gain more followers? Grow your email list? Have followers engaged and connected with your brand? Depending on your objectives, you can select accordingly.
Yup, We Went There: Terms and Conditions
Terms and conditions outline all the pertinent details of your giveaway for participants, and they provide documentation that you are following federal, state, and local laws. Every giveaway needs to include clear details for participants to establish transparency and a point of reference if you encounter any issues.
It’s crucial to outline your terms and conditions in the description or prominently place a link to that information. Woobox has provided a handy outline of what your terms and conditions should include:
- The dates of the contest
- Who can or cannot enter (age or residence restrictions, etc.)
- The name and contact information of the hosting company/page
- Entry methods (how people can enter)
- How winners will be chosen
- The date and method winners will be announced
- The date and method the winners will be informed
- The amount of time the winner has to claim their prize and instructions on how to do so
- Prize information (including the number of prizes, description of prizes, and any exceptions)
- The details of prize fulfillment/delivery
- Acknowledgment that the promotion isn’t sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with any social media platform used throughout the contest
There’s also the option of using a tool or a template to help you generate your terms and conditions. Avocado Social has a fill-in-the-blank template and RocketLawyer generates one for you once you answer a few questions (it even generates one based on your local state laws to save you time).
Tracking Entries the Smart Way: Announcing the Winner
A successful giveaway may mean you will be flooded by a large number of entries that can easily become overwhelming, and the last thing you want is to overlook one. There are plenty of tools that can help you track all of your entries. Some even allow you to randomly choose a winner.
WooBox has a free “Pick a Winner Tool” that connects to your social media page, asks you to select the post and it’ll pull the entries. It even pulls the entries based on whether you’d only like reactions to be considered or reactions and comments as well. It saves you time so that you don’t have to manually search it on your own.
Finally, when it comes down to picking your winner, your audience will appreciate a transparent selection process. Whether you choose the old-fashioned way of drawing entries from out of a hat or having a tool select it for you, you might want to consider broadcasting it live. It allows you to personalize your giveaway, connect directly with your audience, and share an exciting moment with your followers.
Alternative options are to post a screenshot of the winner or there are certain platforms that provide a certificate confirming a fair selection process.
Were you aware of these giveaway essentials? What strategies did you use to help craft a successful giveaway?