Not too long ago I held a giveaway on this website sponsored by F-Stop to give away a free courier bag. I’ve always loved giving things away on this website and I was very excited to be giving away such a great item. In the past, I’ve found contests or giveaways to be great ways to increase traffic and exposure for my site as well as the item that is being given away. The problem with contests or giveaways is that it can be hard to spread the word about them. In the world of social networking, it can be tough to ask others to help spread the word because after all, why would anyone want to hurt their own chances of winning a particular item by telling their friends about it?
This is the major impediment to any “comment-to-win” contests or giveaways that one might find on the web. Unless your site has a huge following, the traffic and exposure as a result from the contest is likely to be minimal because people simply won’t want to help you promote it. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to solve this problem. The solution came to me while thinking about the terms for the F-Stop contest. Why not allow people to enter the contest by Tweeting about it via Twitter?
I immediately saw the advantages a Twitter-based contest or giveaway would have over a standard “comment-to-win” giveaway. By asking a person to simply Tweet a message containing some basic text and a specific shortened URL with a link back to my contest, my contest could literally become viral. Every person who entered would send the link out to all their followers, those people would in turn visit my website and then send the link out to all their followers, and so on and so on. I could then track the entries using Search.Twitter.com. The only drawback I could see from this sort of contest was the potential irritation that it could cause from people realizing that I was asking them to essentially sign up their competitors.
To off-set this irritation I decided to allow the entrant to enter more than once. This would have a dual benefit. The more they Tweeted, the better their chance to win and the more potential entrants my contest would receive. I wasn’t exactly sure how well this contest would work but my gut was saying that it was going to do really well.
After about 2 hours, I knew I was right. I published the contest about 5 a.m., by 7 a.m. the contest already had 200 entrants and by the end of the day my contest had received nearly 1,000 entries and the contest page had received about 3,500 page views. On day 2 the contest page had received over 1,100 page views and the number of entries was still increasing. At this point I knew that this contest method was a winner.
The response I received regarding this contest was very positive although I did receive some negative feedback from some of my readers who felt that it was irresponsible to allow people to enter as many times as they wanted, that spamming their friends with the contest details was annoying, and that the potential ramifications for Twitter were very bad if this method caught on. For the most part, I do agree with some of the detractors of this method. That’s why I believe that contests run in this matter should be done using some common sense and with some responsibility. If you decide to run a contest like this on your site, here are a few suggestions:
- Limit the number of times people can enter and tell them that if they violate the rules, their entries will not be counted.
- Don’t hold contests like this very often. If you do this too much, people will catch on and stop participating.
- Only give away big ticket items. Do not try to sell your eBook this way. If you do, you’re likely to face a lot of negative feedback.
- Only run the contest for 1-3 days. After that, interest seems to run out.
Anyhow, I thought that I would share my thoughts regarding this very effective contest method with you guys and see what you think. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.