Social media contests and giveaways are a fantastic way to encourage customer engagement and build up positive connotations for your brand. A business that hosts frequent contests and giveaways not only has plenty of positive fodder to promote on their social media channels, but is able to connect with their customers on a deeper level. For relatively little cost, you can keep customers following your business, brand, and products fervently. After all, few things appeal more to the enterprising human spirit than the ability to get something for free.
Of all the social media platforms, Facebook is the most personal. That is, not all information is public. Many people have privacy settings that prevent them from being tagged, mailed, or otherwise referenced to publically on Facebook. Facebook used to have rather strict rules and regulations when it came to the hosting of contests, but, thankfully, these terms have since been updated and running a contest is simple and Facebook giveaway ideas abound.
So how should you announce Facebook contest winners? These days, making a winner announcement is similarly easy and intuitive. It is now perfectly legal to announce contest winners in a Facebook post, provided that you have emailed them first.
It’s important to send winners a winner announcement email before posting anything publicly. This is because new details about contest winners may emerge only upon direct communication with them. For example, you may host a contest that is only available to residents of the contingent U.S. states (i.e. not Hawaii and Alaska) who are eighteen or over. Upon emailing a contest winner, you may discover, for example, that they are not a resident of the contingent United States, and instead are a resident of Alaska. This detail would disqualify them from your contest.
If you ran a contest on your Facebook page, entrants will be checking your Facebook page more often than their email to see if they won. That is why a well-curated Facebook post announcing the conclusion of the contest is equally important. This will notify those who haven’t won, while serving as a great promotional vessel for your business. Few things market better than free stuff, after all.
A great Facebook post announcement has a few components. First, you should always thank all of the entrants for helping to make the contest a success. Include a link back to the contest, so that people who haven’t seen or heard of the contest before will know what’s going. If your contest asked entrants for a submission of user-generated content (for example, a photo or video), be sure to attach the winner’s winning photo or video to the post as well. Be sure to include a short explanation of how the winner was chosen (random selection, the most votes, selected by a panel of judges, etc.). This will let your audience know that your criteria for selecting the winner were fair. Of course, you should also include the most fun part: a description of the prize! If possible, include a photo of the prize as well. You want to let people know what they missed out on. Not sure what to give away? We’ve got prize ideas for your social media contests.
Wrap up by letting your audience know when your next contest will be. If you don’t have one scheduled yet, don’t worry, keep your audience on their seats by saying you’ll have another one “coming soon.’
Twitter contests can be incredibly effective, as they present a low barrier to entry and have a large reach. However, sometimes running contests on Twitter—particularly when it comes to selecting winners—can be a tad tricky. Whether you are running a hashtag contest or simply asking people to tweet at your account, keeping track of entries can get tough. To make it easier on yourself, use a contest entry tracker system like Tweetaways, Rowfeeder, or itweet2win, or make use of these other tips about how to pick a winner for a social media contest.
To announce winner on Twitter, follow a similar policy as you would with Facebook. However, when it comes to procedure, contacting the winners first is absolutely essential. Twitter is full of thousands of spam accounts, and because Twitter is so international, you may receive entries from countries that don’t qualify, or winning entries from fake or inactive accounts. Direct message all winners, obtain their contact information, and ensure that they are eligible to be winners of the contest before making a public announcement.
Then tweet out an official notice that the contest has ended and that winners have been selected. You can even tag the winners in your tweet, but you may wish to keep this information confidential to protect their privacy. Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, you’re entitled to multiple tweets per subject. Take your contest winner announcement and really run with it. Congratulate the winners, thank others for participating, tweet a feature of the prize (with photos, if you can!). Really get buzz going. A contest can provide almost endless fodder for your Twitter page.
There are many ways you can do an Instagram contest or giveaway. There are several different types of Instagram contests, the primary of which are hashtag contests, like to win contests, and email-barrier contests. Hashtag contests will sort your entries into one easy to track area. “Like to win” contests are popular among consumers in that they are very easy to enter.
For companies, however, counting out the entries and randomly picking out a winner can get cumbersome. Email contests are excellent in that they not only provide you with more email addresses for your email list, but allow you to have contact information on-hand when it comes to notifying winners. For more guidance, check out our previous article on Instagram contest ideas.
As with Facebook and Twitter contests, you should make every attempt to first contact Instagram photo contest winners directly. This is best done through an Instagram message or by tagging someone on Instagram in the comments. You can access your Instagram message inbox from Instagram’s home screen. Simply type in the username of your winner(s) to send them a message.
You can also announce winner on Instagram by directly tagging them in your winner announcement. In your direct message to them, encourage them to take a photo of themselves with or wearing your prize and have them tag your company in it. This photo can be used later on to generate hype even after the contest has ended.
Be sure to make the announcement photo attractive, colorful, and celebratory. Build up hype to the contest winner announcement by hosting a “countdown.” Post a different picture each day related to the contest with a comment like “just two days until we announce the winner of our contest!” Once the winners have been announced, be sure to post photos of the prize as well.
Regardless of where you’re hosting your contest, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you’ll need to write to your winner or winners. This social media contest letter is key in that it will give all the appropriate information and instructions to the winners on how to collect their prize, and inform them of any additional steps they must take.
What should be included in your letter? First, of course, you should congratulate them for winning (even if there was no skill involved). You want your contest winners to feel special, blessed, and lucky to have won. Your letter should be positive and celebratory; the more enthusiastic you are, the more enthusiastic your winners will be as well! Why does this ringing positivity matter? Enthusiastic winners are much more likely to sing praises to your company online, and to share details about the contest and their prize over social media. Announcement email subject lines should be excitable, but not spammy. That is, your subject line should sound legitimate.
Next, you will likely need to obtain some personal information from your recipients. For example, you may need a mailing address so that you can send them your prize. You may also need their email address, so that you have a reliable point of contact for them. Ask for any and all contact details you need. Keep in mind that you may need to communicate with the winners further, whether on a legal or practical basis. Because most people are impatient, be sure to let your winners know when they can expect their prize.
On that note, you should also institute a timeframe in your winner letter. Let your winner know that if they don’t respond by a certain date, you will pick someone else. Give them at least a few days to reply, but don’t put yourself on hold for weeks just because a contest winner or two isn’t responding. Your contest is on a timeline, after all, and other entrants will be eagerly waiting for the conclusion of the contest.
Lastly, follow up! Don’t leave your winners in the dark, or they may become suspicious and start thinking your contest is a scam. Louder folks may even take to social media to share their negative musings—something you certainly want to avoid! It’s understandable that your prize may take a few weeks to send out, but keep your winners in the loop with weekly updates, and be sure to check in on them to ensure that they received the prize and share photos of the winner with the prize!