Hey y’all! So in case you missed it, I did a giveaway on the blog Facebook page a couple nights ago (see the video here). When the page reached 100 followers on Facebook, I decided to give away a $30 gift certificate to one of my favorite makeup websites. Sounds awesome, right?? Except…
After I advertised all month long and then posted the video and everything, I found out that the site no longer sells gift certificates.
Luckily, the winner of the giveaway has been very understanding and sweet and agreed to let me gift her the $30 through either PayPal or Google Wallet. Phew!!! Thank God. Once I realized I couldn’t actually buy the thing I was promising to give away, I was soooo embarassed and upset. Looking back, there were a few things I should have done very differently, but you know, it’s hard to change the rules of the game once the game’s already being played. I decided to take this as a learning experience and share what I learned here on my blog, so that hopefully I can help other bloggers avoid the same mistakes. So here we go…
Always do your research before posting any kind of contest or giveaway. Is the contest you’re wanting to run legal? Can anyone all over the world join or are you restricted to only allowing users from certain countries join? Certain sites have their own set of guidelines for contests and promotions, and certain products may not be available in certain countries, so it’s important to make sure that you check these kinds of things out before going live with your giveaway or contest. I didn’t check to make sure all my contestants lived in countries ColourPop is sold in, so I would have been screwed if they lived in someplace the site doesn’t ship to. I didn’t even think about that til the contest was over. Oops.
Always make sure that the product you want to give away is actually available. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?? Well I assumed that since I bought a gift certificate from this site just a few months ago that I’d still be able to get one, but no; they’ve discontinued them. If the prize for your giveaway isn’t something you already have in your possession, then this is a crucial step and you really don’t need to make the same mistake I did. Some people may not be as forgiving as my winner was and get mad if you can’t deliver what you’ve been promising, you know?
Always have realistic expectations. If your page doesn’t have a big following yet, don’t expect your contest to get hundreds of contestants participating. This isn’t something I did, but I’ve had other friends complain to me about their giveaways not doing as well as they’d hoped. Going into this contest, I realized my page and blog were still brand new, and I decided that I’d be excited if even 10 people joined the contest. I actually ended up having 43 people enter, so I was really excited about that. When you’re a small fish in a big pond, you can’t expect to immediately turn out amazing results.
Don’t let the contest go on for too long. The excitement will die down and people will get bored and forget about your page if the contest runs for too long, especially if your site/page is small and doesn’t have a lot of user interaction yet. A couple of weeks to a month is long enough.
Be clear about the rules!!! I can’t stress this enough. I wasn’t clear enough about certain rules, such as that the picture my contestants had to share had to be shared publically, and it almost created drama within the contestants the night of the video stream. People don’t like when you “change” the rules in the middle of the game, which is how people may see it even if you’re not changing a rule but simply explaining the rule a little better. Make sure you are clear about all the rules from the very beginning so you can avoid this.
Use eye-catching graphics and marketing media. Make sure your graphics look professional and are user-friendly, meaning that all the text is easy to read and understand. Always make sure your logo or at least your URL is visible on the picture and that the graphic matches your brand. If your branding is sleek and modern, for instance, you want your graphics to reflect that and use the same style.
Market everywhere, not just on one site or platform. I didn’t really market much on Instagram, which is a HUGE resource, and I see now I should be utilizing it more to market my blog and other social media accounts. I lost out on a lot of potential entrants because I didn’t talk more about the giveaway on my Instagram account, even though I posted a lot on Facebook and Twitter.