At the recent Annual Fine Jewelry Preview hosted by Jewelers of America, a social media sweepstakes encouraged attendees to Instagram, Tweet, and Facebook their experiences with special-event hashtags for a chance to win one of several wonderful prizes.
I loved the idea and reached out to Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations and special events for Jewelers of America (JA), to talk about its execution. It turns out that this sweepstakes was one of many that JA has done.
“Everyone is looking for ways to harness the power of social media to encourage people to follow or engage with their businesses,” says Gizzi. “Social media sweepstakes are one great way to do that.”
Jewelers of America has done a variety of different sweepstakes in the past, but one particularly successful one is A Little Bit of Bling, which is run through the Jewelry Information Center, JA’s consumer-education arm.
“The goal is to gain loyal followers (likes) on Facebook by getting people to enter the sweepstakes,” says Gizzi. Entering the sweepstakes is as easy as liking the Jewelry Information Center’s Facebook page and filling out a simple entry form.
Facebook used to require that all sweepstakes be run through an outside app, but they’ve recently changed their guidelines to make it easier than ever for businesses to run promotions through the site. Businesses can now collect entries through likes, comments, posts, and messages on their page timelines (promotions through personal timelines are still forbidden).
But there are some advantages to running promotions through an outside app, including the ability to design and brand the posts, track analytics, and have clear legal rules.
That’s the route JA chose. “We create rules and then run the sweepstakes through an online sweepstakes provider,” says Gizzi. JA has used the service Strutta, but there are many options. “We then use an auto-generating spreadsheet that will randomly pick a winner. We capture that information and notify the winner and have them officially claim their prize.”
The program has been so successful that JA has run it three times, in November 2012, September 2013, and in March of this year.
For other sweepstakes, JA has solicited donations for prizes, but with A Little Bit of Bling, the organization gives away a $500 gift card to a store of the winner’s choice (the winner is a JA member). “It was a benefit to our members and also to the winner, since they were able to pick their prize,” she explains.
A Little Bit of Bling generally runs from one to two weeks.
Gizzi thinks that other businesses absolutely can do successful social media sweepstakes, if they do it right. “Take the time to develop a legal set of rules,” she says. “If you do similar sweepstakes, the rules can then be easily updated, and having a set of rules will ensure everything runs smoothly.”
If you’re interested in running a sweepstakes or contest through your business’ Facebook page, see Facebook’s rules and FAQs here.