a special guest post by Ashley Spade
If your crafting hobby has become a small business, consider offering a giveaway to fans of your work. People like getting something for free, especially a one-of-a-kind good. Connect with fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and readers of your blog by understanding the importance of using social media to supplement your promotional efforts. Here are a few important guidelines.
Giveaways on your blog
Sponsoring a giveaway on your blog is a great way to promote a product that’s just arrived in your store or distribute a surplus of inventory. When it comes to mailing out items, it’s a good idea to work with a company who specializes in fulfillment services. They might be able to help you market your online promotion and address legal issues you might not be aware of, such as your state’s rules regarding giveaways.
If you’d like to support a company you like, contact them directly to gauge their interest in getting involved. Make sure the representative you work with knows that the company will benefit from the promotion (read: free publicity). Customers will be encouraged to try the product you’re promoting, especially if doing so is one of the stipulations of your contest. Promote the contest as a way to draw visitors to their website (acknowledging that one of their rules may be including a link to their site in contest posts). Be mindful about who you’re approaching and what your readers are likely to be interested in. It’s crucial to know your audience. If you’re a blogger with a large following, such as Amy Storch at Amalah, you may be contacted by a company to host a contest on its behalf.
Opening a store on Etsy is a great way to promote your handmade goods and find potential customers for the wares you sell. One way to get your product into potential customers’ hands is to join a giveaway team, which will put your item in a gift bag that site visitors can enter to win. You won’t have to coordinate a contest, which can free up your time to attend to your business while still promoting your merchandise. Should you host your own contest, make sure Etsy’s trademarked logos do not appear on your work or packaging and that you are not representing yourself as a company employee. If you need financial assistance to host a promotion, consider applying for an Etsy Team Grant. The grants are awarded monthly, allowing plenty of chances to be considered.
If you’re looking to reach a large number of contest entrants, consider using Facebook. Unfortunately, this process may be cost-prohibitive to small business owners given the thousands of advertising dollars that may have to be spent before kicking off your contest. Contacting Facebook directly is your best bet, as well as a complete review of their giveaway guidelines, including:
- Facebook must be released of all liability. Your prize is likely not dangerous or toxic, but you don’t want to do anything that results in a lawsuit.
- Make it clear that you are collecting entrants’ information on your behalf, not for Facebook’s use.
- Acknowledge that the contest is your own and neither sponsored nor endorsed by Facebook.
- Contest winners cannot be notified on Facebook that they won.
- Your advertising can’t include any trademarks that Facebook owns, like their logo.
- You have use a third-party platform to host your contest.
Be sure to read Facebook’s rules carefully so you don’t accidentally violate a rule that could result in the cancellation of your contest.
Given Twitter’s popularity and the fun you can have making hashtags to go with your tweets, it may be the ideal site to promote your contest. Here are some of their guidelines:
- Entrants cannot create multiple accounts to have a better chance at winning your contest.
- Twitter is on the lookout for duplicate posts. Set a strict rule, such as allowing only one entry per day, which will prevent entrants from deluging their feeds with contest mentions, especially those that sound similar.
- Make sure entrants include your @username so you can track entries.
- Relevance is key: tweets and hashtags associated with your contest should be something like “Check out my website [including the link] for info about a new contest! #contestname,” not “The weather is great today! #contestname.”
Additional rules include adhering to Twitter’s usage guidelines, including protecting people’s privacy (important when it comes time to announce the winner of your contest).
Although there are many rules and guidelines to follow, hosting a contest can be a lot of fun and result in new contacts and customers. Get people interested in your product or a supply/service by a company you support and drive business for everyone. Get the word out about your shop or website, making sure to adhere to each site’s rules and guidelines so that your contest doesn’t get cancelled. There’s little sense in hosting a giveaway that will only get you in trouble.
Ashley Spade is a law student currently located in Chicago. When not obsessively browsing Etsy for the latest cute handmade items, she spends her time painting, training for marathons, and blogging about fashion at http://www.beltsandbangles.com. With her furry sidekick Sir Winston Pugsalot at her side, the mountains of books and miles of pavement are easy to conquer. Follow her & Sir WP’s adventures on twitter: @ashspade