Written by Dan Marzullo

July 9, 2020

Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Like many of us, you have most likely been tagged in a giveaway post on social media by a friend that wants to win something. These promo giveaways are engaging and can be fun. Typically, in a promo giveaway, a business promotes its own product and also a partnering business’ product. They’ll run for about a week and then a winner will be chosen. 

Traditional businesses and eCommerce businesses alike utilize giveaways to raise brand awareness, engage current followers, and attract new ones. The efforts that go into a promo giveaway aren’t all in vain. Actually, if they’re done right, a promo giveaway can really benefit your business. The trick with any promo giveaway idea is to make sure that it doesn’t just exist to gain social media followers.

You’ll want a multi-layered strategy that channels creativity, increases engagement, results in a high click-through rate, and produces sales. Whether it’s through an Instagram contest, Facebook Messenger bot, or another platform, there are so many ways to run a giveaway campaign on social media. 

What Are The Most Popular Giveaways?

Thankfully, giveaways aren’t cookie-cutter and there are choices when it comes to hosting one. The sky’s the limit when you’re choosing your giveaway “template”, but here are the most popular types of hosting that you’ve likely seen.

“Like” to Win: It’s straightforward and simple. “Like” to win contests are the easiest promo giveaways to host. This type of giveaway will gain more traction than some of the others because you aren’t requiring people to do anything crazy—like comment with their favorite emoji or what their political stance is.

Share This Post: This type of promo giveaway asks those followers entering the contest to share the post specific to the contest. Anyone who shares and tags the post with your contest hashtag in the giveaway is entered. 

Tag a Friend: Followers are asked to leave a comment and tag a friend in your post for a chance to win in this giveaway.

Post a Picture: Followers are asked to post a picture using your promotional product, tag your business, and to use the hashtag specific to the contest. Anyone that does so is entered into the contest.

Photo Contest: Some giveaways are all about being interactive and having a bit of fun. Participants are asked to share a photo that coincides with a theme. For example, a giveaway hosted around Halloween may ask followers to tag the business in their costume photos for a chance to win.

There’s no right way to set up your promo giveaway. Ensure it’s a success by cushioning your giveaway and  building anticipation throughout the duration of the contest. Your promotion will also vary depending on the time of the year.

For example, your upcoming 4th of July ads will look vastly different than your Memorial Day email campaign or your Father’s Day promotion. Be sure you’re aware of the timing of these different social media holidays before setting up your promo giveaway. 

5 Tips To Get Your Promo Giveaway Started

There’s a great team behind every giveaway and yours needs to figure out a few variables before starting. Here are the key factors you’ll want to address head-on.

  1. Budget: Will your team utilize influencers, new products, partner with another business, etc.? All costs need to be considered.
  2. Existing Audience: How many followers do you have? What is the level of engagement? Are any of those followers also customers?
  3. Projected Audience – What do you want your audience to look like at the end of the giveaway event? How do you want numbers to grow? What percentage of followers do you want to subscribe to your email list?
  4. Platform: Will the giveaway be exclusively hosted on one social media platform? Are international followers eligible?
  5. Design: Will you be creating a branded hashtag specific to your giveaway? Is your team going to design graphics to be used across all platforms?

Yeah, it’s really that simple. Now that you have answers to these questions it’s time to head to the START line. 

What Are Creative Promotional Giveaway Ideas?

We just gave some standard promotion ideas that are easy to facilitate and will help your team engage with existing followers. There are some businesses out there that chose to go the road less traveled. Their creativity really made for impressive promo giveaway ideas. Social media can really be inundated with great ideas—so much so that they’re impressive, but also forgotten quickly. These promotional giveaway ideas were noteworthy enough to make our article. 

Influencer + Follow to win

This variation of a promo giveaway is a great way to gain followers and click-through rates. Influencers can be a helpful asset to your business because they help your brand gain exposure. Sometimes those followers represent a demographic that your business wouldn’t have otherwise had access to. Influencers do come at a price even if it’s just providing them with free products. 

Find an influencer that aligns best with your brand and then come to an agreement on the number of posts, price, design, terms of the giveaway, etc. The influencer will then take pictures of or with your product. Some influencers will also advertise a unique discount code for your promotional product during the giveaway. You may find this tactic to be successful with an Instagram contest, as they can help reach your desired target audience. 

‘Thank You’ Giveaway

If your business has hit a milestone then this type of giveaway offers followers the chance to celebrate with you and enter for the chance to win. Whether it’s being in business for a year, gaining so many followers, or introducing the release of a new product—this giveaway helps gain some new traffic. 

We cheer Hydro Flask on in their giveaway they hosted as part of their 200k followers’ celebration. The colors are bright, their product is the fun backdrop, and they use their one primary hashtag. 

hydro flask giveaway example

Like, Follow, and Tag + Bonus Entry!

It can be risky to add too many rules to a giveaway. A lot of people guard their privacy and their time (as they should). Asking followers to like, follow, and tag friends for a bonus entry just sounds overwhelming. So, if you’re going to require those parameters then make sure that your branding is on point just like Fabletics did in this promo. 

What makes it great? It’s cheerful and the photo highlights everything being given away by Fabletics and its partnering business. Followers will be forgiving on contests with a laundry list if they deliver in aesthetic. 

Fabletics giveaway example

Themed Giveaway

The application for this giveaway truly has no limits! Take a minute to think about what you’re planning for a future giveaway. Let’s say you’re an e-commerce book shop. A children’s book about dinosaurs and tacos is releasing soon. So, your planned giveaway is to feature a swag bag with the book, a matching taco tote, taco-themed pens, and some bubbles with a taco-shaped wand just for good measure. You get the idea. There are no limitations.

The great thing about themed giveaways is that they’re entirely reliant on you and your marketing team. Try thinking of your best-themed ideas that are on-brand. Perhaps a giveaway that features all “self-care” items or a box that has all locally sourced goods would work for your business.

How Do You Promote A Giveaway?

Once you have chosen the type of giveaway you will host, the duration of the giveaway, and picked out prizes then it’s time to promote. Your business wants to create excitement for the giveaway by advertising each prize and partnering with another business and/or influencer (if applicable). 

Promoting a giveaway is the most important aspect of the giveaway. Your team needs to strategize on how to optimize the efforts invested in the promo. There are a few fail-proof approaches to promoting your giveaway. 

  • Get in sync with the algorithms by posting at peak times
  • Put your best SEO forward
  • Keep your hashtag short, simple, and relevant to the giveaway
  • Utilize your website for promotion
  • Mention the giveaway on other platforms like podcasts when applicable
  • Hype up the giveaway and boast about how great the prizes are

Of course, after all of that your business will always have the option to elect for the paid promotion route. Those paid promotions may lead to some conversions that would make the giveaway event worth the financial investment. Think of some eye-catching giveaways you have seen in the past. What did they do well? Keep this example in mind as you move forward. You can also search for #giveaway to find examples that are relevant to your goals and brand.

Final Thoughts On Promo Giveaways

Think of giveaways as a little spark for your business. It can ignite a flame that brings light to new business strategies and partnerships. The followers that you gain from the giveaway may just convert into loyal customers! Before your giveaway goes live be sure to read and agree to the giveaway guidelines for each social media platform. 

Choosing to work with an influencer may propel your giveaway to the next level. It’s a mutually beneficial agreement so make sure that both parties agree to the parameters of the contest. Brand voice, design, and giveaway type are all important. However, the most vital litmus test for if your giveaway will be a success is the planning behind it. 

One giveaway won’t make your numbers––both in followers and in sales––skyrocket. Making giveaways a regular part of your social media strategy will help your customers associate your brand with giving. They’ll check in regularly with excitement to see how you’re generously giving back.