02 April 2010 ~ 10 Comments

How to increase your Twitter followers and referrals over 50% by running a giveaway

Mellow Mushroom giving away pizzasOver the course of March 2010, we ran a daily giveaway on Twitter for two of our brands. Our goals were to increase our followers and raise engagement with the content we broadcast on Twitter.

Laura Murphy managed this initiative throughout and did a great job, providing us with real insight into what worked and what didn’t.

The results were as follows:

Increase in Followers:
Brand A: 54%, Brand B= 56%

Page Impression increase via Twitter referrals:
Brand A= 59%, Brand B= 36%

Over the course of the month, Brand A quickly overtook its closest competitor in terms of Twitter followers, while Brand B caught up substancially.

Increase in over 50% in Twitter followers after giveaway

Apart from demonstrating the value of cultivating an engaged and targeted following on Twitter, the process taught us a lot about how to go about running a giveaway successfully and maximising the effect of our efforts.

How did we go about achieving such great results? As usual, good planning, regular assessments and a flexible approach worked best.

Mobilise, organise, analyse

To run a daily giveaway or competition on Twitter or any other Social Media Network like Facebook, you need prizes. ‘But I can’t afford expensive prizes like iPods and holidays!” I hear you cry; you’d be amazed at how many entrants we had for our box of chocolates compared to some of our other seemingly more desirable prizes. Decide what what you are going to give away, aiming to have as many of these confirmed before starting to save you the panic of running out and not sourcing more later when you need them.

This leads us nicely to the second point; analyse till you are blue in the face. You will want to track the metrics that are valuable to you or you won’t be able to write a fancy blog post or internal report like mine about Social Media ROI afterwards.

The devil is in the detail

I doubt we’d been as successful if we hadn’t continually evolved our activity to make the giveaway into one that covered all the angles.

Whether it’s using the giveaway item brand’s username in the original tweet to notify them and hopefully get a retweet, to tracking which prizes were doing better than others in order to learn about our followers, we actioned learnings from the initiative as we went along.

And if one of your goals is to get people onto your site, don’t forget to link to it via a call to action, making sure the page linked to is an effective one in enticing your followers further into your site.

Remember your role as Master of Ceremony

Whether you are a Social Media Manager or a Community Manager, part of your role will be to engage followers and make the experience of taking part a fun and memorable one. You could just rely on the prizes to draw people in (and most likely lose them when the dust settles), or you can show them the value of keeping in touch with your brand.

Developing a process of engagement is vital in ensuring your success is not temporary. Look at how big competitions are run, like the State Lottery.

Advertise your prizes in advance, show people visually what they could be winning, and try to build up anticipation throughout the day. Follow up excited @replies, and save your best prizes till last.

And of course, the reason we are here

Hopefully you will have whipped your followers up into a frenzy and be gaining new ones by the digital bucket-load. In all the excitement, don’t forget to attend to the basics like a pro.

This could be checking both the new Twitter Retweets as well as the old @reply ones, or ensuring you are following your winners so they can Direct Message you, which is easily forgotten in the heat of the moment.

Every time you forget to attend to one of the fundamentals, you will lose a tiny fraction of your trust. As a one-off this is harmless, but those gargantuan people you occasionally see on TV put it best: a cake a day seems manageable until it creeps up on you one day and you need a winch just to get out of bed.

Your followers’ trust is vital to your brand’s success in Social Media. Don’t squander it on avoidable little mistakes.

Do you have any similar success stories that you can share? Do you find your Social Media activity’s ROI easy to demonstrate?

[photo by hectorir]

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  • http://www.communityorganizer20.com/ Debra Askanase

    This is invaluable – thank you so much for sharing! I have a few questions:
    - how long have the brands been around? Were they relatively well-known?
    - exactly how did you pre-seed the campaigns to create excitement or traction?
    - what tools did you use to track success? What listening system?

    Thanks so much!

  • http://blaisegv.com/ Blaise Grimes-Viort

    Hi Debra!

    One brand has been around for almost 100 years, but we were competing with other territories. The US account tends to attract more focus, but we clawed back to about a third of their numbers from a 5th. the other brand has been around for 10 years.

    To build anticipation, we showed our followers what they could win, and posted buildup tweets some time before each giveaway ran, including a wrapup tweet at the end prompting them to return the next day.

    As much as I would love to get my hands on a paid tool, we are limited to free ones only. We heavily used a custom spreadsheet mainly, but also used Twittercounter.com to track followers and our internal web stats system to track referrals and traffic originating from Twitter.

    Hope this helps!

  • http://www.emoderation.com/ Tia Fisher

    Hi Blaise

    Thanks a lot for this. As always, the great detail and the practial neature of your posts make them really valuable to community managers. As an ex-BTL marketing lass, I'd love to know what the gvmt legislation around Twitter competitions is? Indeed is there any? Since no purchase is necessary I presume, and the winner is publically announced, is there any need?

    Slightly off the subject but worth knowing – Facebook tightened up their promotion rules last year: details here – http://blog.ogilvypr.com/2009/11/5-things-brand….

  • http://blaisegv.com/ Blaise Grimes-Viort

    Hi Tia,

    We just made sure the page we linked to had our standard Comps T&Cs displayed.

    Facebook is indeed proving to be a bit of a nightmare as we are trying to run a similar initiative on there. Currently testing things out and we may have found some round-the-houses loophole which we hope to test out soon.

  • http://www.emoderation.com/ Tia Fisher

    If you find something that works, do share!

  • temperouk

    Interesting. I'm hearing, anecdotally, a lot of people feel Twitter giveaways have reached saturation point and don't really achieve much these days. I wonder if there's tips related to critical success – Darika

  • http://blaisegv.com/ Blaise Grimes-Viort

    Could well be. What we found was that there are dedicated “compers” trawling Twitter for comps – with some promotion to these spcific communities you can still achieve good results I think.

  • http://www.seoconsult.co.uk Jack

    This is really a nice post.This is very informative and useful for the beginners and the learners.
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post….!!!

  • BruceDyson

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  • BruceDyson

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