Running competitions and giveaways is something that many bloggers do. It’s a great way to build a relationship with a brand, and to gain some new visitors and followers for your blog. I love entering blog giveaways – sometimes the entries are lower than other web competitions, and the daily entry options on many give you a higher chance of winning.
From a bloggers point of view, it seems quite simple – set up a Rafflecopter (I’ll only talk about Rafflecopter as I don’t like or use Gleam), whack it on the bottom of a blog post and away you go. However, to make sure you are following all the rules, and to protect yourself there are things that you must do. Failing to do so can land you in hot water with ASA (Advertising Standards Agency).
Important Points to Remember
- Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are not allowed!! A lot of companies attempt to get around this and ask people to like and share when running competitions and giveaways on Facebook, and it is completely against Facebook rules. Some may get away with it, but is it worth potentially having your page (and all those lovely likes) shut down for a few extra likes? Rafflecopter has taken this option off their widget, but I still see some blogger’s add it in the ‘invent your own’ option. It’s not allowed so that people’s Facebook timelines, and their friends timelines, aren’t swamped. You can ask people, via Rafflecopter, to VISIT a Facebook page, and most of the time people will like your page from doing that, but if they don’t, you cannot disqualify them. You can, however, ask them to comment on a Facebook post.
- Bloggers, you are responsible for the prize. If it doesn’t turn up and the winner chases it up, you are the one who will need to provide the prize. Many think that by putting something in their terms and conditions covers that and stops them being liable – but it doesn’t work like that. If you offer a prize that is worth £100, and the company fails to send it, you may well find yourself forking out £100 to cover it.
- You can’t disqualify someone for entering just because you deem them a ‘comper’. It’s a crap term anyway, because anyone who enters the giveaway is technically a comper, but you cannot disqualify someone because of their hobby. Remember they are readers and customers as well – yes, many may only enter that giveaway and never come back again, but I have discovered many fantastic new blogs through comping, and have gained some pretty loyal followers and readers from hosting competitions.
Terms and conditions
This deserves a section all to itself. Terms and conditions need to be completely transparent, to make it fair for the entrants and to cover your own backs. I’ve just looked through my terms and conditions for the giveaways I have running at the moment, and they’re definitely not as clear and thorough as they should be – I can’t start changing them mid-giveaway, but I have a set saved and ready to adapt as necessary for any future ones.
They need to include:
- What the prize is – how many there are to be won and what it is. It’s also a good idea to state the estimated value of a prize.
- Whether the prize can be transferred or swapped, and state there is no cash alternative (if there isn’t one!)
- Closing date – the date, year and time.
- Who can enter – age and geographical restrictions may apply. If you don’t want anyone associated with the sponsor or promoter to enter, this needs to be included as well.
- How do people enter – e.g. is it through Rafflecopter. You also need to expand on which entry requirements (if any) are mandatory.
- How the winner is chosen. Rafflecopter chooses winners at random, but if you are using other entry methods, you need to specify exactly how they are chosen.
- When the winner will be informed, and how long they have to choose the prize. Be careful on this one. I used to state that winner would be informed within 24 hours of the competition closing. Then I had a baby the night a competition ended (how inconvenient!) and it took me a bit longer to choose and inform a winner. I had several rather rude emails and comments demanding to know who won! I now state within 48 hours, and I may extend that to within five days, just to cover my own back. When it comes to the winner being able to claim a prize, give them a fair amount of time. 24 hours or 48 hours isn’t long enough. There are no official guidelines from ASA on this – but remember people have children, have jobs, may be in hospital or on holiday and not see the message straight away. 14- 28 days is a fair amount of time, unless it is a time sensitive prize, such as tickets to an event.
- How you will contact the winner. I always email the winner, but I also send them a tweet if possible. Facebook messages can be one way of getting in touch but often messages go into ‘other’ folders, and aren’t always seen straight away.
Don’t make it too complicated
Time and time again I have seen compers say that some bloggers make it incredibly difficult to enter giveaways on their blogs. I have to agree with this – if it is too complicated or time consuming, I click away and don’t bother entering.
- Think about what entry options you make mandatory, if any. I usually make leaving a comment mandatory, and the rest optional. I’ve seen some where following on Twitter or Bloglovin’ is mandatory – many of your readers or people entering may not have a Twitter or Bloglovin’, so you immediately exclude a lot of entrants. Having too many mandatory entries can be rather offputting as well.
- Make links clickable – I cannot stress this one enough. It infuriates me where I have to copy and paste an instagram, Pinterest, or Bloglovin’ link across, or even worse, manually search a username. I don’t even bother half the time. It is so easy to create a clickable link, even on the free Rafflecopter. Just click on the little chain icon…
It then gives you a space to leave the anchor text and the link.
Compers are fantastic at sharing competitions and giveaways with one another, and there are hundreds of competition groups on Facebook where you could add your link. However, looking at my stats, the vast majority of traffic to competition posts come from forums. Some places to think about adding your link to include:
- The Prize Finder
- Competition Database
- Money Saving Expert (you can’t add your own link to this, but a friend might be kind enough to do it for you!)
- Superlucky (monthly blog linky)
- Comper Friendly Blog Competitions – this is group I set up and run on Facebook