Why Contests and Giveaways Are a Win for Your Site

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Running a contest or giveaway related to your website can be a terrific way to gain valuable insight about your audience and bring attention to other revenue development programs like custom job boards. Contests require work up front, but the results can be well worth it. The two big benefits of running contests and giveaways are heightened brand awareness and the potential for more lucrative advertisers and partners.

Winning even a small prize can inspire loyalty, and most winners share the fact they've won on their social media accounts.
Winning even a small prize can inspire loyalty, and most winners share the fact they’ve won on their social media accounts.

Here are some things you should know before launching online contests, including Pinterest and Facebook contests.

Legal Considerations

Any giveaway may be perceived as a game of chance and can result in scrutiny from your state government. If lotteries are illegal in your state, you could be in trouble for holding an ”illegal lottery” even if you’re only giving away an iPod. Gambling laws sometimes apply to contests of skill, so be careful in these cases too. If you’re giving away a product, check to see if you have to get explicit permission from the manufacturer to do so, or you could face trademark or licensing hassles.

By working with third-party contest providers and discussing your contest with a business lawyer well-versed in applicable state and federal laws, you can avoid legal hassles that could derail your contest.

Contests on Pinterest: Dos

Pinterest has stringent guidelines for ”Pin It To Win It” contests. But social media can be a great tool for bringing people to your website. With that in mind, here are some ”Dos” for holding a Pinterest contest.

  • Do be creative with choosing winners. Pinterest doesn’t want to become a hub for ”spam” pinnings.
  • Do keep your contest as simple as possible and make instructions for participating clear.
  • Do read up on Pinterest’s anti-spam policy beforehand.
  • Do be careful to follow all Pinterest branding guidelines if you want to use the Pinterest logo in any way.

Pinterest winners cannot be chosen randomly, so you will have to create judging guidelines, and you cannot have others vote with pins, repins, etc. Make sure contest and judging rules are crystal clear.

Contests on Pinterest: Don’ts

Make sure you know what not to do if you choose to run a contest using Pinterest:

  • Don’t indicate in any way that Pinterest sponsors or endorses the contest or your brand.
  • Don’t require people to pin things from a collection. Rather, allow them to pin what they choose. This is a relatively new requirement in the Pinterest contest guidelines.
  • Don’t require people to pin or repin your rules. Pinterest will crack down if you do because they want pins that are creative and interesting.
  • Don’t allow each pin, repin, like, board, or follow to represent an entry. This is no longer allowed by Pinterest.

Contests on Facebook: Dos

You cannot require a Like, Share, or Comment to enter a contest on Facebook.
You cannot require a Like, Share, or Comment to enter a contest on Facebook.

When you do a contest on Facebook right, your audience development and engagement can skyrocket and your site can gain more exposure in News Feeds. Here are the ”Dos” for holding Facebook contests to promote your site and brand.

  • Do use a third-party app for running your contest. This is a requirement now. But it’s good because it makes things a lot easier. This article by Cara Pring gives you an overview of some of these third-party contest providers.
  • Do make it clear how to enter your contest and how winners are chosen and notified. You must also include wording releasing Facebook from liability in the contest.
  • Do choose prizes relevant to your audience. If you run a newspaper site, you could give away a tablet pre-loaded with your newspaper’s tablet app, for example.
  • Do promote your contest with Facebook ads and on other social media channels, your blog, and through your email list.

Facebook Contests: Don’ts:

If your contest doesn’t follow Facebook’s rules and guidelines, they can punish your page up to and including removal. Don’t let that happen to you. Here are some more ”Don’ts” for Facebook contests.

  • Don’t require a ”Like” to enter the contest. You can require people to Like a page to access contest information, however, but Likes, Shares, Comments, etc. cannot be counted as entries.
  • Don’t notify winners by posting it on your page and asking the winner to message you. This is against guidelines and there are better ways to notify people.
  • Don’t try to game Facebook’s system by breaking Facebook’s contest rules. Any traction your brand gains could be wiped out immediately if Facebook deletes your page as a result.

Online contests can boost your revenue development plan and raise your brand’s profile. Following social media site rules carefully, making contest entry as simple and straightforward as possible, and ensuring your contest doesn’t violate any applicable state or federal laws are the keys to making your contest a success. A great contest can develop your audience and improve audience engagement, and revenue development strategies like recruitment advertising solutions for digital publishers and media companies can work wonderfully in conjunction with well-planned, well-executed contests.

Photo Credits: stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net, Master isolated images/freedigitalphotos.net

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