How to run online sweepstakes

Marta Roura
Marta Roura
The Internet and social media have brought about new resources for brands to plan and execute effective marketing strategies. The ease of connecting with the audience and gathering contact details presents companies with many opportunities. Online sweepstakes are a go-to solution to capture the attention of users that have already interacted with your brand. The possibility of winning a prize nudges users to register for sweepstakes and in return, the brand gathers valuable users’ data and contact details. Keep on reading to learn how to create, launch, and manage reliable, safe, and transparent sweepstakes that will provide a benefit to your brand every time.

If you’ve made it this far, it’s very likely that this is the first time you’re looking into organizing online sweepstakes. You may even feel uneasy and have more than a few questions. But worry not, we’ve got you covered. At Easypromos, we have heaps of experience as we’ve helped create and run thousands of online giveaways. In this article, we will go over, in a clear and well-structured manner, how to carry out an automated and transparent online giveaway with zero participant complaints.

Before diving into the subject, here’s a quick guide to help you navigate this article and skip sections that may not interest you.


Plan how to get the participants for your online raffles

Online sweepstakes can be grouped in three categories depending on how they attract participants:

  1. Social Media Giveaways: Participation in this type of giveaway takes place entirely on a given social network. Social media giveaways’ main goal is to generate engagement with the community and grow your follower base.
  2. List Giveaway. In this case, the giveaway organizer has a list of all participants; all that’s needed is a system to pick the winner or winners and ensure that the giveaway is fair, random, and transparent.
  3. Entry Form Giveaway. In this type of giveaway, users register with their contact information to participate. It may consist of a simple registration form or incorporate other dynamics, such as games, quizzes, or surveys. The giveaway is carried out among all participants or those who meet certain conditions. Easypromos hosts the microsite where the entire giveaway will take place.

In the following sections, we will delve into these types of online sweepstakes.

Social media giveaway

Social media provide a powerful platform to run giveaways due to their broad reach and user-friendly interfaces. Each social network has its peculiarities. However, based on experience and to avoid surprises, we strongly advise you to:

  • Strictly adhere to the regulations of each social network. When organizing a giveaway on a social network, you are playing on a field that is not your own. Therefore, it is extremely important to comply with the rules set by the social network. We are particularly adamant on this point as we have seen campaigns and accounts canceled due to improper practices in their giveaways. One of the main advantages of using Easypromos to create an online giveaway on a social network is that you ensure compliance with its regulations.
  • Err on the side of caution, don’t take risks. Projecting caution in marketing may seem old-fashioned, but if we focus on the context of social media giveaways, we make a point of following dynamics that work and do not jeopardize your account on the social network. And we want to be crystal clear on this. Yes, there will be campaigns that use social media in a very innovative way and have a significant impact. But when it comes to an online giveaway, the focus should be on following the rules of the networks, offering an attractive prize, and providing maximum transparency in the selection and announcement of winners.

Although the Easypromos website and blog have detailed information on all types of giveaways, here’s a summary of the dynamics allowed on each social network. It’s a starting point to become an expert in managing social media giveaways.


Instagram Giveaways

The kind of giveaways that you can run on Instagram are:

  • Comment-based Giveaway. Participants must comment on a brand’s post to enter the giveaway. Typically, additional requirements include following the brand and mentioning one or more friends. With Easypromos, you can retrieve all comments and apply filters and exclusions until you have the final list of participants to carry out an Instagram giveaway.
  • Mention + Hashtag giveaway on user feed. Participants must publish a post on their public feed mentioning the brand and with a specific hashtag. With Easypromos, you can create a gallery where all entries are displayed and conduct a random giveaway among the participants or include a voting dynamic.
  • Instagram Story giveaways. There are two ways to conduct an automated giveaway on Instagram Stories: a giveaway among participants who comment on a brand’s Story. Or, and we deem this option more interesting, a giveaway among participants who post their own Story mentioning your brand. Mention giveaways in Stories are gaining popularity because users become brand ambassadors, promoting your brand on their own profiles.
  • Giveaways with influencers or collaborators. Collaborating with influencers who share a target audience with the brand is also a common online sweepstakes strategy. Use Instagram’s Collabs tool to share authorship of giveaway posts, enhance reach, and create connections. To conduct a collaborative giveaway, you only need to use the Instagram giveaway tool and select the original post from the organizing account to run the giveaway.
  • Instagram and Facebook giveaways combined. This dynamic allows you to create a single giveaway among users who comment on one or more Instagram or Facebook posts. The multi-network giveaway tool allows you to combine all participating comments to randomly select winners and alternates. Use it to bolster a large community spread among these two social networks or when there is a single grand prize.
Online Sweepstakes: Instagram comment-based giveaway


Facebook Giveaways

The main kinds of Facebook giveaways are:

  • Comment-based Giveaway. Participants comment on one or more posts from the brand with a text, image, or video to enter the giveaway. With Easypromos, you can retrieve all comments and apply filters and exclusions until you have the final list of participants for the random Facebook giveaway. Opt for this option to encourage interaction on your profile.
  • Likes and Reactions Giveaway. You can conduct a giveaway among users who ‘Like’ or use Facebook reactions in one or more posts on your profile.


X Giveaways

The main kinds of X giveaways are:

  • Reply Giveaway. Participants reply to a brand’s post to enter the giveaway. With Easypromos, you can retrieve all comments and manage participants using different tools for user management and exclusion: black-listed users, previous winners, exclusion of specific users, etc.
  • Repost (Retweets) Giveaway. With this option, you can run a random giveaway among users who retweet (RT) one of your posts. If you want to include multiple posts in your giveaway, you can do so if they all have the same hashtag. This achieves organic virality.
  • Mention and Hashtag Giveaway. Participants have to make a post mentioning the brand and a specific hashtag to enter the giveaway. With Easypromos, you can group all entries to choose winners and substitutes (up to 10 in total).


Online Sweepstakes on other social networks

As for the rest of the social media networks, it is not possible to conduct automated giveaways among those who comment or react to brand posts. Regulations of these networks often do not allow it, as in the case of YouTube. In other networks, the tools to automatically retrieve information for a random giveaway are not available.
However, in most networks, you can share links to direct users to a giveaway with an external URL. This allows you to share online sweepstakes, surveys or tests, games, and skill challenges to lure participants in exchange for a reward. Easypromos offers a variety of microsite-type applications that you can share on social networks. For example, let’s look at the most used types of giveaways on the most well-known social networks:

  • LinkedIn Giveaway. Giveaways can target professionals or businesses. Share the giveaway link in a post, and users click on it to log in with their LinkedIn account and access the giveaway registration form.
  • YouTube Giveaway. YouTube’s policy does not allow giveaways among comments on a video. The most transparent way to do it is to run an entry form giveaway with a YouTube login and share it in the channel’s video feed.
  • TikTok Giveaway. TikTok does not allow the automatic collection of comments on a video via API. Scraping, which is using a computer program to read and copy all the information from a website, is also not allowed. Therefore, the option is to share links on the social network that direct to an external microsite that hosts the giveaway.
  • Twitch Giveaway. You can conduct giveaways among participants in the chat of a Twitch channel or only among paying subscribers. You can also share a link to a microsite-type promotion where users log in with their Twitch account to participate.
  • Threads Giveaway. Although it is a newly created social network, you can share any type of dynamic with a URL to attract traffic to this network and grow your community.
Online Sweepstakes: Linkedin Sign in Giveaway

Running an online sweepstakes from an already available list of participants

This form of giveaway is common at offline events and conferences. Or among users of an app, customers of an e-commerce platform, or subscribers to a newsletter. The giveaway is carried out from a predefined list of participants uploaded to the Easypromos platform.

Flujo sorteo listado

Here’s an overview of how to run this kind of giveaway:

  • Collect participants: This can be done through prior registration forms, event registrations, or any other method that allows the creation of a list of interested participants.
  • Choose a winner selection method: The Easypromos List Giveaway app features a proprietary, transparent, and reliable random winner selection tool.
  • Announce the winners: It is crucial to communicate the results clearly. Easypromos generates a certificate of validity for each draw and provides tools to contact the winner directly. It automatically generates a page with the prize draw results, as well as a video featuring a countdown and the winners’ names to share on social media and online channels.

Take a look at this case study of Too Good To Go to better understand how a list giveaway works and its benefits.

Online sweepstakes with an entry form

Giveaways that require prior registration are an excellent way to collect valuable data. To encourage audience participation, offer an attractive prize relevant to the target audience. In this type of online sweepstakes, users must provide personal information to enter, which may include: name, email address, city, phone number, and sometimes additional information depending on the giveaway’s goal or the data you wish to gather from your target audience.

When conducting an entry form giveaway, keep in mind the following considerations:

  • Creation of a Registration Form: Make sure the form is simple yet collects the necessary information. A long registration form can become a participation barrier in an online sweepstakes. Clarity and ease of use are essential to maximizing participation.
  • Legal Compliance: You must respect data privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Make sure participants understand what information you are collecting and how it will be used.
  • Data Management: At the end of the giveaway, you will have a valuable database. If used correctly, it can be a powerful tool for future marketing campaigns.

Entry form giveaways can be of two types: simple ones and those that require prior engagement.


Simple giveaways

In this case, the users access a registration form, fill out all the fields with their data, and automatically enter the giveaway. Once the participation period for the giveaway is over, the winners are automatically selected.

Online Sweepstakes: Entry Form Giveaway

Giveaways that require previous engagement

In this type of entry form giveaway, participants are required to perform an action before entering the draw. For example:

  • Enter a code or password to access the registration form. This is a good option if you want to limit access to the giveaway to a specific group.
  • Validate a purchase receipt for a minimum amount to be able to register for the giveaway. This is useful if you wish to run an exclusive promotion among customers.
  • Watch a video before accessing the giveaway to educate or persuade users.
  • Play a game to be able to register for the giveaway.
  • Answer a quiz to enter the giveaway.

All microsite-type applications of Easypromos allow you to use giveaway tool to select winners from among all registered participants.

Online sweepstakes have become one of the most common marketing actions for any brand, as they allow them to gain visibility, dynamize their online community, and promote products or services.

There are several legal, tax, and ethical aspects that the organizer of the giveaway must consider before conducting the action so that it can be managed with ease. The online sweepstakes organizer is responsible for:

  • Complying with the legislation of the geographical area where it applies.
  • Adhering to the regulations of the social media platform where it applies.
  • Complying with the legal terms and conditions defined by the organizer for the giveaway.
  • Using the data obtained through the giveaway responsibly.


Hosting Terms & Conditions for online sweepstakes

As previously mentioned, online sweepstakes’ legal terms and conditions must be accessible to users at all times. Therefore, it is important to disseminate them through different means and channels.

The Easypromos tools provide a unique URL to host terms and conditions, as well as a shortened version for easy inclusion in your communications. Clicking on the link opens a page with a detailed description of the giveaway’s legal terms.

Where should your giveaway’s terms and conditions be shared? There are several options:

  • Include the link to the terms and conditions at the end of the giveaway post text.
  • Share the legal terms and conditions in the BIO section of your social media profile.
  • Integrate the terms on your website or giveaway section.
  • Share them via messaging or email along with the giveaway.


Tools to pick giveaway winners

All Easypromos giveaway applications include a notary-validated, proprietary system that enables 100% random drawings to select winners. This tool allows for a transparent and automated distribution of prizes and rewards, avoiding manipulation of any kind. For added security, the platform includes a system to run a test giveaway before conducting the final drawing.
Furthermore, this system has several functionalities to manage users so that the drawing result is as impartial and fair as possible. Let’s delve into some of these features in more detail:


Exclusions

To prevent improper behaviors from affecting the result of a giveaway, the tool provides a system to exclude participants. Let’s explore the most common cases that grant the exclusion of participants:

  • Exclude specific users and maintain a list of unauthorized users. The system allows you to exclude users individually and to keep a list of unauthorized users so they cannot participate in future giveaways.
  • Exclude previous winners. If you conduct periodic giveaways, this is a useful filter to automatically exclude users who have already won previous giveaways organized by the same brand.
  • Exclude comments by date. In the case social media giveaways, you can specify a date from which comments will be excluded from the giveaway. This option is ideal if your legal terms and conditions have defined a specific time for the end of participation.
  • Manage a blacklist of participants. You can have a blacklist of users who have engaged in improper practices or have not met the participation requirements for the giveaway. This way, you can prevent them from entering the random drawing.


Certificate of validity

All Easypromos giveaways are random, ensuring the giveaway’s reliability and transparency. A validity certificate is generated for every giveaway, which the brand can share to justify and explain the chosen method to pick the winners. 

The validity certificate is a web page with the following characteristics:

  1. It is a unique URL with the format: https://sweeps.easypromosapp.com/sweepstakes_identifier
  2. The certificate’s URL can be shared on any social network or website to verify the validity of the giveaway result.
  3. This URL cannot be modified or deleted.
  4. The certificate displays the giveaway’s characteristics (organizer identification, drawing time, total number of finalists) and its results (winners and substitute identifiers).
  5. The certificate is permanently published on this page. It is public and accessible to any giveaway participant.
  6. The giveaway organizer does not have any tool to modify or delete the giveaway result.
  7. In the case of winners substitutions by alternates, the certificate is automatically updated with this information.


Communicating the winners of your online sweepstakes

Once the winners of your online sweepstakes have been picked, the following step is to announce the winners and contact them.

Easypromos provides several tools for this:

  • Winners page: When the giveaway is completed, a page with the results is automatically generated, listing the winners and substitutes. It is a web page with its own URL that you can use to share the giveaway results. The texts and images on the page are 100% customizable.
  • Message to winners: The platform features a tool that allows you to send a direct message to the winners.
  • Claim your prize tool: To obtain additional information from the winners and make prize delivery easier, you can activate the ‘Claim Your Prize’ functionality. This allows you to set up a registration form that the winners must fill out to accept the prize, streamlining the prize management process.
  • Use the Show Mode to announce the winners: Get a video presentation of the winners to share on your social networks and generate more excitement.

Online sweepstakes conclusions

Online giveaways are an exceptionally flexible and powerful tool in the world of digital marketing. From boosting visibility on social media to building a robust database for future campaigns, giveaways can adapt to a wide variety of objectives and platforms.

When planning a giveaway, carefully consider which method aligns best with your goals, ensure compliance with all relevant legal regulations, and prepare a solid strategy to promote and execute the giveaway. With careful planning, giveaways can not only increase engagement and visibility for your brand but also strengthen the relationship with your audience and gather valuable data to drive your marketing strategy.

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