There’s something that’s been frustrating me for a long time now, and I just have to get it out. Brands are making a huge mistake when it comes to giveaways and contests on social media. From a strategic perspective, this is a huge miss. I just came across an example of it and thus felt the need to share this with you.

The BIG Mistake Brands Are Making on Social MediaI was on Instagram and saw a post from Red Earth about a giveaway for a beautiful jewelry line. I decided to enter. After doing so, Red Earth told me I had 1 entry, and to get more, I would need to share the giveaway with my friends. WHY ON EARTH WOULD I DO THAT? If I want to win the collection, why would I want MORE people to enter and lessen my chances of winning it? Yes, I know that I could get more entries by sharing with my friends, but to me, that doesn’t matter, because now there are more people involved doing the same thing, which means my chances of winning that collection are diminishing by the minute. Now, I’m no longer interested in their giveaway or their brand.

To give full credit, my former supervisor, Stephanie Gaspary, first pointed this out to me, and it now bothers me every time I see campaigns based on getting other people to sign up. Who would want more competition for the grand prize? Not me! While I was the social media manager at CareerBuilder, we never ran any campaigns this way, and yet we were still able to think of unique ways to increase our social media communities.

I get it. Brands want as much awareness as possible. They want more followers, more likes, more subscribers, more fans. But have they ever determined WHY they want these things? (That’s a subject for a longer blog post.) Did they ever put themselves in the shoes of their consumer to figure out what he/she wants in order to participate in a campaign like this? I would bet that he/she wants the best chances of winning, and entries or no entries, that won’t happen with thousands of other people signing up for the same campaign.

Here are some ways that Red Earth, and other brands, could collect entries without the “share with your network” element:

  • Comment on a specific blog post, leaving feedback or asking a question.
  • Follow Red Earth on <insert social network name here>.
  • Link to a Red Earth product from your blog or web site.
  • Get people talking around a specific hashtag. Require them to answer a question or provide feedback on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag. (I didn’t include Facebook because people tend to have strict privacy settings on Facebook, which would make it impossible to see all the posts that use the hashtag.)
  • Hold a scavenger hunt and direct contestants to your various digital sites (web site, social media, etc). Have them do various tasks on each site or “report back” through a form or survey.

I would be much more interested in a giveaway with these types of entries. As for Red Earth’s campaign, if I win it with my one entry, that would be awesome. If I see them doing any other campaigns on Instagram though, I’ll think twice before clicking.