During the summer, if I’m not at work, I am somewhere in the mountains. In Utah we are blessed with some of the greatest mountains in the world; as well as some of the best fishing. While I’m at work, I spend much of my time writing, researching and doing social media. We recently ran a Facebook giveaway campaign to build out one of our client’s social media platforms and raise brand awareness for them. Here are some insights we learned along the way.

Know Your Audience

When you’re fly fishing you can fish all day and not catch anything. You can walk miles upon miles and have fish swim between your feet but never get a bite. If you’re not using the right fly to attract the fish then they won’t bite. Just like when you’re doing a social media giveaway, if you don’t know what your audience wants, you won’t get engagement from them.

Even if you’re using the right fly it does no good until you put it where the fish are. You can have the most amazing giveaway but you won’t have any entries if no one knows about it. So how do you get your target audience to know about giveaway? There are a few ways.

  • Ads: Boosting your post through Facebook advertising is a cheap, easy way to spread the reach of your posts. A warning though, buying likes will actually harm your engagement with people that actually want to hear about your brand. Veritasium has a detailed study on their experience with buying likes.
  • Groups: No matter what your audience likes you can probably find a group for it. A quick search of “donuts” came up with results for a ton of different groups to join. Know where your audience is going to be and what they like, then give it to them. Join groups where your audience is and let them know about your brand. Be sure to follow the rules and etiquette of any groups you join.

Embrace the Unusual Outcomes

Sometimes we turn over certain aspects of our business to our public to increase engagement from our fans. Usually it’s for things like choosing a name, whether or not to bring back a product, or what their biggest concerns are. Most of the time, we have our preconceived notions about what our audience wants. However, sometimes we’re surprised with the outcome, and that’s okay.

Have you ever heard of Mr. Splashy Pants? Mr. Splashy Pants became an internet phenomenon for Greenpeace. Greenpeace held a contest for what to name the whale in their logo. All the names were well-thought-out and distinguished, except for Mr. Splashy Pants. Voters banded together and Mr. Splashy Pants won the contest by a landslide. Greenpeace didn’t “love” the name, but took what could have been a devastating turn of events for their campaign and turned it into a positive by deciding to embrace the audience participation.

When running your social media giveaway, try to leverage popular opinion or recent events to increase engagement and exposure. Just like Greenpeace embraced Mr. Splashy Pants, you can embrace your quirks too. You can read more about Mr. Splashy Pants and what Greenpeace did here.

Free Stuff = Everyone Enters

During our recent client giveaway, one of the entry options was to vote on the client’s favorite product. We wanted to use those numbers to report back to our client which products their customers liked best. What we found was that each week that we held a contest, the product that was given away was voted as the favorite product that week.

For example, in Week 1 we gave away Product A with a selection from Products A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. During Week 1, Product A was the favorite. In Week 2 we gave away Product B with the same selection to choose from. That week the favorite was Product B. That pattern held true for each week of the contest.

What did we discover from that research? Some people will enter just to enter. They don’t really care what they’re getting, they just want to win.

Giveaway data

Giveaway Products by Week:
Week 1 = Product A
Week 2 = Product B
Week 3 = Product G
Week 4 = Product F

Social Media Boost

When we started working with one of our clients, they had no social media presence. We wanted to build out their social media platforms and increase their followers. The three social media platforms that we focused on were Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Here are our results:

Fans before the giveaway: 88
Fans after the giveaway: 404
Interactions: 2500+

Followers before the giveaway: 0
Followers after the giveaway: 80
Tweets mentioning the client: 15+

Followers before the giveaway: 0
Followers after the giveaway: 145
Several repins of client products

Overall we were pleased with the results of the campaign. We had over 1200 entries during the giveaway campaign and were able to build out the social media platforms for our client. We also saw a significant increase in sales and traffic to our client’s website.

Creating the perfect social media contest is a lot like fly fishing. There are some basics that you need to have to make it run smoothly (a pole, bait, prizes, a way to track it), and you need to go where the fish are. Sometimes though, it takes a little bit of luck. You have to be at the right place at the right time and hope that the fish are biting.

Eric Serdar