Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Giveaway 101: Hosting Your Own Facebook Giveaway

Having hosted my first Facebook giveaway in late May, I've recently been contacted by a number of others interested in hosting their own giveaway but unsure of where to begin. So I thought I would take some time to share what I learned both as a recent giveaway host and as a giveaway sponsor. That said, I am not an expert nor a lawyer. Instead, I'm sharing what I learned from my personal experiences. And here's what I learned...

First, read and follow Facebook guidelines. Here's a good breakdown of the guidelines and what you can and cannot do:
bloggingbasics101 on

Basics to Keep in Mind:
  • You cannot require participants to "like" a sponsor's page if you are giving away other's items. However, you can "Like-Gate." Like fan-gating, like-gating makes it so that the participant has to "like" the host's Facebook page in order to access the giveaway application or form.

  • Use a third party app to host your giveaway on Facebook. There are a number of them available through developers like Wildfire or ShortStack. But the easiest way I found to do it (and free!) was to create an entry form for each prize using Google Forms. It made it easy to keep track of who entered to win each item and easy to use to select a winner.

  • You also cannot post winners via Facebook. You need to notify winners through your blog or through email. It is important to think about how you will notify winners prior to posting your giveaway. You likely will need to ask participants to share their email addresses. Using a Google Form, like I suggested above, insures that participants don't have to publicly share their email.

  • Use Bitly to share a link to your giveaway. Bitly not only allows you to shorten your giveaway link, but signing up for a free account also allows you to track who clicked on your link with its built in analytics.

  • PROMOTE! Promote to your current Facebook fans before your giveaway begins. Research giveaway sites and blogs. Use other social media sites - blogs, sweepstakes sites, Twitter, Pinterest (my new favorite) - to share your giveaway information. Some great places to share your giveaway are the Blog Giveaway Directory, Etsy Giveaways (great for Etsy shop owners), and this Squidoo list.
I jumped almost 150 fans in 1 week during my giveaway and had a few more sales than usual in my Etsy shop. Not sure if the sales were a result of the giveaway, but I'm sure it didn't hurt.

Good Luck!

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