Three Ways to Make Sure Your Social Giveaways Fail

By Dhara Naik I recently came across a sweepstakes for a trip to Tahiti that I immediately wanted to enter. After I clicked on the link it took me to this brand’s Facebook page where I then had to dig around to find a place to enter. Out of sheer curiosity and because I had my marketer hat on, I patiently poked around to find the entry form despite the fact that my desire to go to Tahiti vanished after the second click.

I got to thinking about the sure fire ways a brand can truly make sure they won’t achieve their goals for a sweepstakes. Here are the three I thought were most compelling:

Make it really hard to enter

I often see contests that are very difficult to enter, buried among a list of tabs on Facebook or directing me from Twitter to a website where I have to dig around for an entry form. If your contest takes more than 3 clicks to enter, you’ve already lost most of your audience. When most people are on a social networking site, their main goal is to connect with people or consume pertinent information. If they are directed to enter a contest with more than 3 clicks, they’re likely not going to make the effort to step away from what they are doing at the moment to enter a contest.

Additionally, asking people to go out and take pictures or create song lyrics, while likely fun and engaging, requires a lot of effort for people to enter. If your goal is to generate great quality content from your audience, than picture submissions are great, however, if your goal is to build brand buzz, a simple sweepstakes is best.

Ask for lots of information

I also run across promotions that ask for a laundry list of information about myself before I get to the task at hand. In these cases, I either don’t feel compelled to continue filling out a long form or I tell myself I”ll come back to it later when I have more time. We often use the K.I.S.S rule when writing content, but the rule applies to promotions as well. Keeping things simple is what’s going to drive people to enter and get excited about the prospect of winning something. Simplicity also leads to better word of mouth marketing for your giveaway.

Keep your promotion tactics separate

More often than not, I see sweepstakes hosted on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest but I won’t see mention of such giveaway on the company’s website, blog, or email communications. I frequently get asked why campaigns have a low entry rate and aside from any significant barriers to entry, what I usually find is most of the time a sweepstakes is siloed. If you’ve got a great contest planned, it is imperative to include as many promotion tactics as possible. Your email audience may not be active on Facebook or perhaps your Twitter audience is not very active on Facebook. Use all of your assets for a successful campaign.

What are some other ways that social giveaways might fail? What are some of the successful tactics you’ve used to promote your contests?