Twitter Giveaways: Benefits, Rules, Ideas, and How to Run Them Successfully

Twitter Giveaways: Benefits, Rules, Ideas, and How to Run Them Successfully

Although the news in social media these days seems to be dominated by TikTok and Instagram, others have chosen Twitter as a way to generate buzz. This isn’t surprising, especially when you consider that TikTok and Instagram aren’t for everyone. Some people simply prefer to write.

The best way to generate buzz on Twitter? A Twitter giveaway! One of the great things about giveaways is that you can use just about anything as a prize, from T-shirts and free products, all the way to cold, hard cash. And this last option isn’t far-fetched. In fact, the billionaire Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa is due to announce which of his Twitter followers will receive a share of the $9 million he promised to give away as part of a social experiment. The cool thing about this one, of course, is that it’s a social experiment rather than just a commercial enterprise.

Of course, giveaways aren’t just for billionaires. In fact, Twitter Giveaways are so popular and can be so effective that Twitter themselves chose a Twitter giveaway to generate buzz: Twitter decided to give away a new kind of digital asset known as Non Fungible Tokens, or NFTs. The platform is using a third-party administrator to choose a few lucky fans. 

With that in mind, here are the whys and hows of running a Twitter giveaway.

The Benefits of Running a Twitter Giveaway

At the end of the day, there are lots of reasons why you might want to run a giveaway on Twitter, or any other social media network for that matter. Sure, people love to get free stuff. But it’s the things that they’ll do to get it that make the technique beneficial.

They build your brand community, awareness, and subscriber numbers.

With a Twitter giveaway, you’re providing people a good reason to be a part of your brand community. On Twitter, this means following your account and, in some cases, following Twitter conversations that are relevant to your brand and industry. In other words, a Twitter giveaway can make discussions around your brand the place to be.

Twitter giveaways boost sales, leads, and engagement

Besides the incentive for people to follow the discussions around your brand, a Twitter giveaway will boost engagement. This can be something simple, such as a Retweet or comment. However, it can also be more complex if you use the giveaway as a lead magnet. And of course, in many cases the giveaway will boost sales. The better designed your giveaway is, the higher your chance of getting more sales.

Understand Twitter’s Giveaway Rules

Like many other online forums, Twitter has some strict rules around what you can, and cannot, do for a Twitter contest. In particular, Twitter says you can run contests for: “Tweeting a particular update, for following a particular account, or for posting updates with a specific hashtag”, or in other words, a ReTweet, a follow, or using a hashtag. 

In addition, it’s important that you discourage behaviors that are against Twitter’s TOS. For instance, you should specify that people who enter using multiple Twitter accounts are ineligible. Other banned behaviors include spamming the platform with multiple posts of the same type. On an affirmative note, though, Twitter recommends that you require an @mention so that it’s easier for you to see all entries. Lastly, brands are encouraged to seek legal advice to ensure legal compliance in their jurisdiction.

6 Twitter Giveaway Ideas

Regardless of which kind of Twitter giveaway you choose, it’s critical that your contest is well-run. After all, few things would be as bad as having people angry due to your missteps with your giveaway. However, everyone agrees that entrants are carefully tracked to ensure fairness. Note that in order to be able to track the participants, for everything outside of ReTweet and Follow I recommend using a hashtag. Within these guidelines, there are many Twitter giveaway ideas.

As you will see from the samples included below, many mix and match elements from these 6 ideas.

ReTweet, Like the Tweet and Follow to enter.

Hint water retweet twitter giveaway

These are especially effective with product launches. You could do these separately, but why not wrap them up into one? If you’re doing this for a product launch, a free product is an excellent prize. After all, this gives people a chance to try your stuff and then tell their friends how awesome it is. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for everyone.

Reply to Win

NFL madden twitter giveaway

Have a major corporate announcement? Want to gain consumer opinion about potential decisions or options? In these cases, “reply to win” can be a great way of running a Twitter contest. You’ll gain valuable customer feedback in return for whatever prize you’re giving away. And for what it’s worth, this would be a great opportunity to give away swag rather than product, especially if you’re interested in new product ideas.

Tag a Friend

tag 3 friends twitter giveaway

The goal of this Twitter giveaway is simple: encourage your followers to help you gain even more followers. Here, you’ll have people tag their friends with a branded Tweet, just like you would if you think your buddy would want to see some great content. Your subscriber’s friends learn something, and you gain even better access to the original subscriber’s followers.

Post a Photo

post a photo contest

If your company is in an industry like travel, hospitality, or any kind of leisure activity, then the “post a photo” Twitter contest is an awesome idea. Think about it: your guests posting pictures of their favorite destination or the latest item on their “bucket list” in exchange for a chance to spend the long weekend in a luxury location. Now that people have started traveling again, that sort of contest would be hugely popular.

Twitter Caption Contest

superman caption contest

This one could be a lot of fun. To run a Twitter caption contest, provide a photo that invites discussion. Then, ask people to suggest a catchy caption in the comments. These could be informative, funny, or anything else so long as it is appropriate for your industry. You can select a winner from the caption writers.

Join Your Email List to Win

join email list to win giveaway

This one’s a killer lead generation tool. Although Twitter requires you to have entrants follow, comment or ReTweet, you can still ask for more information using a landing page and including the link in your tweet. In this case, the easiest options are to have your entrants follow you (for new people to the community) or ReTweet (anyone). This way, you can turn lurkers into followers and engagement. Then, you’d have to verify that this person has also subscribed to emails when picking a winner. In other words, a valid entry would require both actions. 

Although these are some popular Twitter contest ideas, there’s no limit to the types of Twitter giveaways you can do except for your imagination! All you have to do is select a suitable prize and decide which entry method is best for your contest. This will typically have a lot to do with your overall reasons for running the contest.

9 Tips for How to Run a Twitter Giveaway

Naturally, there’s more to running a Twitter giveaway than just saying “hey everyone come get free stuff.” Rather, you need to ensure that the giveaway is run in a way that’s both compliant and fair. In addition, you want to make sure that your contest is fair.

Keep your tweet short

In most cases, your Twitter contest will be announced by sending out a well-written Tweet. This should make people want to enter, but at the same time, you don’t want it to be too long. That’s because studies show that Tweets with 100 characters get 17% higher engagement rates than longer ones. And in this case, engagement is an integral part of your contest, both for spreading the word and producing valid entries.

Use images, GIFs or videos

Once again, it’s important to maximize your engagement. However, making your announcement with a multimedia Tweet will also help get the word out about your awesome contest. This has been seen over and over again. After all, Tweets with images receive 18% more click-throughs, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets. Using GIFs and videos are other eye-catching ways to boost your engagement and increase the number of contest entries. Remember, the more people enter, the greater your ROI is likely to be.

Make sure you have a clear call to action and simple instructions

As the saying goes, it’s always important to “keep it simple.” If you want a lot of people to enter your contest, then it’s important to make the entry process as simple as possible. However, whether you have one step to enter or many, people need to know what they are required to do. A lot of folks won’t look around your website to find entry instructions: instead, they’ll just pass it up.

Include a link to the terms and conditions of your giveaway

Another thing to remember is that you need to tell people what the terms and conditions are. For a lot of jurisdictions, these are required on some level. And even if they aren’t, letting people know what to expect is always a good idea. On Twitter, your best bet is to include a link to the landing page because the T&Cs probably won’t fit in a tweet! When drafting this document, make sure they are compliant with Twitter’s own rules so that nobody gets kicked off the platform. Finally, you could ask entrants to enter here as well in the case of a join your email list to win the contest.

Utilize the concept of scarcity to encourage people to join by setting a deadline. 

Nobody likes contests that don’t end. And they also hate to try and enter a contest, only to find out that it’s already over. To fix this, include the deadline in your Tweet. This also gives you the ability to send out constant tweets reminding people again of the deadline (“Only 24 hours left!” etc.) and these can be very effective. Don’t forget to mention the start time, too! 

Use a branded hashtag for your giveaway. 

If you aren’t using a branded hashtag in general, why not? These are a great way to generate buzz about your brand. You can even make hashtags for individual products. Plus, hashtags in general increase engagement. In fact, tweets that include hashtags are 33% more likely to be retweeted than those without hashtags. An added bonus for your Twitter giveaway? The contest becomes part of the brand discussion when it requires the use of hashtags.

Don’t limit yourself to Twitter in your promotions

Most people are on several different social media channels. These include both networks and other spaces such as YouTube. To that end, you should leverage ALL of your digital and social channels for maximum effect. This technique in turn can convince your followers on other channels to join you on Twitter.

Broadcast your contest winner

Announce your winner when it is done not only by contacting the winners but by letting all of your followers know! This way, other contestants can congratulate the winner. Plus, if you’re giving away free products then you’ve given that winner an opportunity to be “verified” as someone who has tried the product. People may ask for that person’s opinion.

Look for influencers

Finally, after the contest is over, examine all of your contestants to see if there are any influencers that you can leverage to further develop relationships with. Influencer discovery is the most important part of influencer marketing generally because you want the right people pushing your products. And when you use things like a Twitter giveaway to find these people, it means you’re identifying people that already have a level of interest in your products.

How to Pick a Random Winner for Your Twitter Giveaway

You’ve gathered a lot of interest in your Twitter contest, and now you have a ton of entries. Now, your task is to pick a winner in the fairest way possible: randomly. Since there are 3 basic types of giveaways, there are different methods of choosing random winners.

ReTweet entry method

For ReTweets, use a random ReTweet tool – doing a search for “random retweet picker” will help you discover one. Make sure that you specify in your Terms and Conditions or Contest Rules that this is a random winner selection. Once you’ve selected the random winner, you’ll need to notify that person. If you’re using a landing page, then you might already have their contact info. Otherwise, send a private message on Twitter.

Follows and hashtags

For Follows and Hashtag Use, put the entrants in a list where each entry has a number and then use the Google Random Number Generator to select a number. Once the number is selected, the entrant who has that number will be the winner. Just make sure to set the maximum number selection as the number of valid entries. Otherwise, you might have to run the selector again.

Don’t want to use either of those methods? You can also use a 3rd party social media contest tool that has its own ways of managing entrants and helping you choose a random winner. This may be the way to go if you have more complex terms, such as the requirement that a member lives in the United States. Third-party tools may be able to help you determine who is eligible in these situations.

Running a Twitter giveaway can be a lot of fun. After all, it’s more than people getting free stuff in exchange for helping you promote your product. Especially with entry styles like pictures or caption contests, some of the results can be humorous. Plus, they build community regardless of type. Finally, if you follow my recommendations, it’s easy to do.

Hero photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. This post is not useful in anyway.

    One basic issue I expect it to solve is, which tools can be used to do the job.

    You said some tools can be used, but couldn’t mention one single tool, not even a link to another of your post where you list few tools for the job.

    I came here looking for tools but found nothing meaningful.

    • Thank you for the feedback. I do not mention tools in the title, so if you came looking for tools, perhaps you should have searched for a different topic. I did a search for “twitter giveaway tools” and found TONS of info. I also indicated in the post: “For ReTweets, use a random ReTweet tool – doing a search for “random retweet picker” will help you discover one.” This post was not meant to teach you specifically about tools but all about Twitter giveaways as the title indicates. Also, with Twitter, you don’t necessarily have to use a tool like you do on other platforms. Wishing you the best of luck in your search my friend!

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