Hosting a giveaway is a fun and effective way to increase your social following and website views, and hopefully you’ll gain lots of interaction and new readers. But it’s not as easy as it seems – prize promotions need careful planning to ensure success. Every competition and prize draw in the UK – whether it’s a lipstick or £100,000 cash – must comply with the CAP Code, and if you collect data from your entrants you will also need to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act.
Below are five common mistakes people make when hosting a giveaway, and how you can avoid them.
DON’T change the terms and conditions
First of all, make sure you’ve actually written some terms and conditions, and that these are easily accessible to entrants. You should not change the T&Cs after someone has participated. If a PR contacts you and asks you to move the closing date, direct them to the CAP Code 8.17.4e and explain you can’t do it unless in ‘unavoidable’ circumstances – technical problems with an entry form for example. It’s the same for any of your T&Cs – if somebody has entered your competition or prize draw, they are agreeing to your terms and you shouldn’t change them. Before you launch your giveaway, ensure your prize sponsor has seen and approved the T&Cs and closing date. Also remember that YOU are the promoter of a giveaway on your blog or social media accounts, and are ultimately responsible for ensuring your winner receives the prize – it’s NOT the responsibility of the sponsor or the PR agency!
DON’T presume people know how to enter
If you struggle to find a valid entry when choosing a winner, it’s usually because your instructions weren’t clear enough or you gave entrants too many mandatory tasks to do. Not everybody has encountered Rafflecopter or Gleam before, and they can be bewildering for a first timer. Include a step-by-step guide to entry, add clear instructions in the widget and try to keep things as simple as you can. Asking an entrant to ‘Follow on Instagram but if you’re already a follower, heart a post and paste the link of the post here’ as a task is confusing for anyone but the most experienced comper! Including clickable links is a must – simply leaving a name means someone has to copy it, open Instagram and search for your name. Gleam offers a much simpler interface for the entrant, with one-click Twitter follows and tweets validated automatically at the point of entry rather than time-consuming checks for the blogger when the giveaway has ended.
DON’T pass on entrant’s email addresses without permission
Your giveaway has finished and the client has requested a list of entrants’ email addresses. The problem is, they didn’t inform you up front that this was required. If this is the case, do NOT pass on a list! If you’re intending to capture email addresses and add to a mailing list, this should be stated clearly in the blog post with text such as ‘all entrants will be added to a mailing list and can opt out at any time’. I prefer to offer an optional task in the widget for entrants to join a mailing list, rather than automatically adding all entrants – and incentivise it with bonus entries. Getting email subscribers is valuable to brands, and an easy way to do it is simply to add an entry task to your widget that directs them to the brand’s sign up page – then simply ask them to confirm the email they signed up with. Note that if you collect email addresses via your blog – whether that’s for a prize promotion or for your mailing list, you’re a data processor and should register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at www.ico.org.uk. If you don’t register, it’s a breach of the Data Protection Act and you risk being fined. Currently, this costs £35 a year and your name and address will feature online in their register of data controllers, along with the type of data you process.
DON’T run a Like & Share on Facebook
DON’T run a RT giveaway
A Follow & RT prize draw is an easy way to increase your Twitter followers quickly – but it’s impossible to track every single entry unless you pay for special software. There’s also the problem of hundreds of ‘bots’ running RT accounts, programmed to search for ‘RT win’ and retweet it – and also users who have set up multiple accounts and retweet from all of them simultaneously. If you want a better chance of a human winning your giveaway, ask entrants to Follow and Reply (ideally with a response which requires a little thought!) including your unique hashtag – then input the hashtag at http://competitionagency.com/tweetdraw/ to choose a winner. Most entrants will retweet for you anyway!
Ultimately, your aim should be to ensure your giveaway is ‘demonstrably fair’, as required by the CAP Code. Following these tips should help ensure you’re doing the right thing!
If you’d like to find out more about running stress-free giveaways, Di’s e-book ‘Blog Giveaways: How to run successful competitions, contests, and prize draws’ is available for £1.99, and you can also find advice in the Promoters category of her blog, SuperLucky.