The DNA of a Giveaway

By Megan McMahon Free giveaways from brands via social networking sites; We’ve all seen them and most likely we’ve all participated in at least one or two or maybe WAY too many (I’m talking to you crazy couponers of the world!) But regardless of whether you’ve participated or not, there is a bit of a trend with almost all Facebook giveaways. From experience with a client and from what I’ve seen while perusing Facebook in my daily life (see Tide as my example below), there is definitely a sort of DNA to the way that every giveaway works. Here are what I describe as the 7 layers of DNA to a giveaway:

1. The Idea: So you want to build a fan base, you want to thank your fans or you just want to do something fun for your community. There really is no better way to round up the masses than by giving away free stuff. It doesn’t have to be diamonds or gold...if you’re a brand that has the simplest, smallest sample to hand out for free, DO IT. You won’t break the bank since it’s coming from in house and not a $10,000 trip to Hawaii. Your fans WILL appreciate it no matter WHAT it is...after all, it's FREE.

2. The Announcement: Your brand has decided what to give out to Facebook fans...the next step is to rally the troops. Post a Facebook status to get this started. It could be a teaser or it could just start the giveaway all together. In Tide’s recent giveaway on their Facebook page, they did both:

3. The Overload: Well it was so easy to click POST on that Facebook status but the wave of what’s next will not be so easy to tame. More likely than not, wherever you're hosting the giveaway WILL crash and people WILL be angry. What did you expect? You’re giving away FREE said the magic word, people are flocking from all different directions.

So what now? Keep calm and post an apology.

4. The Damage Control: All right so no one can access the giveaway page and everyone is anxious for their FREE stuff. Until your development team or whoever can get the page/server back up and running, keep the freebie peeps at ease by posting an apology along with an explanation. A little damage control is really all you need here. In no time your giveaway will be a success.

5. The Lull: The influx has happened, your giveaway form is up and running, for the most part, people are happy. If you have enough freebies to hand out that the giveaway lasts for a few weeks, the occasional flood of posts from a pickup by a freebie site will come through. But for the most part your fans are happy and you’ve probably gained a lot of LIKES in the whole process too.

6. The Delivery: So now the fans have to get what they signed up for. If you’ve mailed out your products, the goods are at the mercy of the postal service. Anything can happen in the shipping process, take this as a warning that your products might be destroyed in the mail and fans will most likely be angry again. If you’ve emailed out codes, some might not work, people might not know where to use them, and they could get lost in the cybersphere. Moral of the story? Have a plan. Be ready for this to happen. Have back up products and a customer service team ready to assist.

Doing this will turn your fans into customers, and keep your customers happy.

7. The Satisfied Customer: If your giveaway’s DNA was put together correctly, you’ll reach this layer and achieve the ultimate goal of the whole process. Fans will be thanking you for the giveaway and telling you that they’ll keep buying whatever it is you gave away because they love it so much.

Your customer is happy, you’re happy, the DNA has worked.

Have you ever participated in or held a giveaway on Facebook? Have you seen or experienced these layers of a Facebook giveaway before? Let me know in the comments!