In the social media age, giveaways have become a ubiquitous part of the consumer landscape. Brands of all shapes and sizes, be it your local thrift store or a billion-dollar brand like Hilton use giveaways on a near-daily basis. While giveaways can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, raising awareness of your product lines and encouraging people to follow your channels, they do not always work as intended.

A poorly thought-out giveaway will result in your wasting resources, money, and products for little to no impact, and no better sense of what your customers actually want. Since we don’t want that to happen, we decided to compile an expert guide on running a giveaway that will boost your brand now and in the future.


Have a real goal

All too many brands will loudly launch a giveaway on their Instagram without any consideration of why they are doing it or what their concrete goals are. A giveaway is not simply a treat for your followers. It is a technical marketing campaign that requires strategy and an end goal.

You need to ask yourself some questions before you dive in. Do you want to promote a new product? Are you looking to cement your brand identity with a themed/timed promotion? Perhaps you’re just looking to bulk up your social media reach? With a concise goal in mind, you can plan your giveaway around it.

Choose your platform

The most effective giveaways tend to be focused on one platform. You might think that running your giveaway 0nline, in-store, on TikTok, and via email is a good idea to get the message out there, but this can lead to confusion for customers and implementation difficulties on your end.

This is why so many brands these days will stick solely to, say, an Instagram giveaway, or a giveaway that is exclusive to email newsletter subscribers. This helps to keep your messaging sharp and clear.

Consider a competitive giveaway

Not all giveaways have to be straightforward raffles. Instead, you could opt for a tournament or something more competitive where people have to fight for the top prize. This idea works best if you can integrate it with your existing services. For example, the video gaming giant Nintendo recently launched its own official Super Smash Bros tournament, with massive prizes available to those who play their flagship game with the most skill.

In a slightly different vein, the online casino Betway now hosts competitive poker tournaments via its live poker lounge service. Here, online players from around the world can compete for prizes including VIP vacations and flights, all while using a core Betway product. This can also be a slightly different approach compared to the standard giveaway.


Timing is everything

In all marketing, timing is everything. This is especially true with giveaways, which work best when there is an element of the festive involved. Nearly all major brands will piggyback onto a major date or event, often using a giveaway as a way to “celebrate” that event and give something back to the customers.

Sometimes, the selected event might have particular relevance to the brand (e.g. brands such as BooHoo and Sephora running International Women’s Day giveaways). However, it’s fine to be a bit broader. We loved the recent Pride Month giveaway from the tech giant Intel, which includes hundreds of dollars worth of top-tier computing hardware for one lucky winner.

Be selective with prizes

This brings us to the prizes. It can be tempted to just throw a little bit of everything into a swag bag and call it a day. However, this approach could mean a missed opportunity. Again, it is important to select your prize with the goals of your campaign in mind. If you want to promote new products, then those new products are a logical choice.

If you want to improve customer retention, you might be better off choosing your best-selling items as prizes. Conversely, if you’re looking to get as much attention as possible and boost your follower account, you might want to invest in a more eye-popping prize such as a vacation or even a straight-up cash giveaway.

Cross-promote your giveaway

While it is important to focus your giveaway on a single platform, that doesn’t mean you should neglect cross-promotion. Like any good marketing campaign, your giveaway needs a promotion strategy. Drum up interest in your giveaway in the run-up by publishing regularly.

Always include links to the giveaway in your newsletter and other content. If you’re running your giveaway in collaboration with another brand, make sure that they are doing their bit to spread the word. And, of course, do not forget to reward your followers by entering them into the giveaway every time they like, comment, and share on both Android and iPhone.


Plan for what comes next

The giveaway can be a very exciting time. However, once the initial flurry of activity is over, you need to have a post-giveaway plan in place. If you get thousands of entries, have you worked out who is going to process all of this data?

If the prize is given away at random, what tool are you using to ensure that the prize is awarded fairly (remember, rigged giveaways are can be construed as illegal and in violation of fair consumer practices). Once the lucky winner is chosen, you’ll also need a plan in place to promote their win and, ideally, get some content of them making use of their prize. Without a post-giveaway promotion plan, the impact of the campaign will be limited.

A giveaway is not solely about brand promotion. It is also a great way to show your customers you are listening and want to give something back. Follow these tips for a giveaway that your audience will remember.