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I’ll give something away – people will love me and I’ll gain so many new fans!

No. And no. More often than not, giveaways are a terrible idea, and we have first-hand experience on why you probably shouldn’t waste your time and money.

Over the years, I’ve personally run numerous giveaways, and helped plan giveaways for companies I’ve worked at, including the one we ran for the Fullscreen Arcade reboot. On the surface, these giveaways may appear successful, but taking a deeper look, especially months later, a very different story is told.

Most giveaways these days focus on engagement; gaining new followers, comments, video views, retweets, and so on. Do these things happen? Absolutely. Are they beneficial in the long run? My Magic 8 Ball says “unlikely”. You’re not going to like what I say next, but it needs to be said.

MOST OF THOSE WHO ENTER GIVEAWAYS DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU. THEY CARE ONLY ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE OFFERING.

Sure, this doesn’t apply to everyone who enters, but in the automated world that we live in, a good chunk of the followers you’ll end up gaining will be faceless bots – who’s soul(less) purpose is to win anything and everything.

CASE STUDY: ARCADE REBOOT.

As mentioned, we thought it would be a fun idea to launch a giveaway around the reboot of our Arcade initiative, which we hosted through Gleam to help us spread the word around. Word definitely got around, and we almost doubled our Twitter following, but long-term engagement, which was a primary goal, hasn’t improved as a result of the giveaway.

CASE STUDY: AMAZON.

This one is fun, and very miserable. Recently I was made aware of Amazon’s new Giveaways platform which works similar to Gleam, but allows you to purchase an item directly from Amazon to offer the winner. As a test, I purchased a $25 Starbucks card and launched a campaign with the “Follow on Twitter” entry method. Big mistake!

Within minutes of the campaign going live, dozens of faceless followers hit my account, and by the following day, I had over 3,000 new followers – and quickly scanning these accounts, they were almost all bots who will never engage with my content.

SHOULD YOU DO IT?

Giveaways will yield different results for different creators, but if your primary objective is to increase your followers and long-term engagement, you’re going to be disappointed. However, if your goal is to give back to your most loyal followers, a giveaway is a great way to show your audience that you care.

TIPS TO RUNNING A MORE SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN.

• Try not to list your giveaway publicly
        • If you post it, bots will come
• Focus on rewarding your core audience
• Tweets/RTs can be a good way to attract new eyes
        • These Tweets should be about your content, not promoting the giveaway

Have you had long-term success running a giveaway? Let us know on Twitter!