While Facebook has had strict guidelines around competitions for a few years now, Twitter has typically been a lot more lax around the types of competitions brands can run on the site. But as these have inevitably become spam-heavy (RT every day for your chance to win, etc.), Twitter is introducing more guidelines to ensure the service doesn't become filled with retweets and irrelevant updates. While some of these are suggestions on what does/doesn't work, it's important to also be aware of the rules they do have in place so you don't get caught out.
What can go wrong
When you're running competitions on social platforms, it's important to remember that you must also adhere to standard guidelines and that the normal rules still apply. Pet Plan recently got caught out for this when they ran a retweet competition without having a clear set of terms and conditions in place.
The competition required people to retweet a competition update with the hashtag #petdentalcare in order to be entered. The ASA in the UK deemed that the competition had breached their code for failing to have terms and conditions in place which covered open/closing dates. It also ruled it was in breach as the competition mechanic meant that any terms and conditions were not present as the competition progressed, i.e., one person retweeting the competition message would therefore not be communicating ts+cs to any of their followers.
What You Can Do
In addition to following standard competition requirements, you should also be aware of Twitter's own guidelines around competitions.
While it's not mandatory to require people to include your username in competition entries, Twitter recommends this to allow you to easily follow competition entries. Instead of relying on people to use the correct hashtag, which could get lost in search results, by requiring them to reply to you in competition tweets helps ensure you can easily track entries through your @ mentions column. Competitions structured in this way also help increase the chances of gathering new followers.
Encourage Single Entries
While some companies like to encourage multiple entries from the same person, not only is this encouraging a pretty bad Twitter user experience around your brand (nobody wants to see these entries), but it could actually restrict you from properly tracking entries. If you're encouraging multiple entries through a hashtag, for example, Twitter could recognise this as spam and automatically filter tweets from appearing in search results. Don't be afraid to run competitions that restrict users to one entry per day or per competition as this will ultimately serve you better in the long-run.
What You Can't Do
No Repeat Tweets
If you create a competition that requires people to retweet the same tweet multiple times, you are likely to be in breach of Twitter's overall terms and conditions and you run the risk of your account being shut down. Try and focus on quality entries over quantity, for example, asking for the best caption or slogan instead of a simple retweet. If you're asking for repeat tweets, these are again likely to be filtered out of search results and mean that you're not going to adequately track entries.
No Fake Accounts
There are some competition pros on Twitter who know how to beat the system and create multiple accounts to enter competitions. You should structure your competition in the right way so that you can detect bot accounts, again by focusing on quality rather than quantity. This will ultimately protect your followers too as if Twitter recognises multiple accounts set up by the same person, all the accounts could be suspended.
Learn from the best
Twitter is a great platform for competitions and you will probably find there is more flexibility than Facebook competitions, which need to be run via applications. This inevitably means spending money on an app, either bespoke or with a 'plug and play' option. Below are a selection of some of the best Twitter competitions showing what you can do.
Win A SEAT Mii
AutoTrader.co.uk ran an unusual competition yesterday that involved nothing less than suspending a new SEAT Mii cars on London's South Bank. The most creative tweets sent with the hashtag #winMiiwithAT caused the car to drop a bit further until it hit the ground. The best tweet entered was then selected by a panel of judges on the day.
A nice example here of how you can run a creative Twitter competition without needing a big budget. The cartoonist Hugh Macleod, who is a heavy user of social media, ran a competition back in 2009 to give away copies of his book. Rather than simply giving away books for Twitter entries though, the competition actually required people to purchase the book first. You could then tweet your PO number, where a select number of users were picked were given a second copy of the book. Not only did the competition generate sales through initially buying the book, but also encouraged word of mouth when you gave the book to a friend. Genius!
Starbucks Photo Challenge
Making the most of photos on Twitter, Starbucks ran a nice competition to celebrate the return of their Frappucino happy hour. Each day they set a different photo challenge and asked fans to tweet their entries to win a £10 Starbucks gift card.
The hashtagged entries were then shared onto Instagram, giving the competition a nice crossover into mobile.
Tweet and Eat
Innocent ran a Twitter campaign that adds value to its brand and also generates ROI by encouraging new customers. Its promotion, which ran over four weeks, offered a discount off its products. Though it does encourage repeat tweets, the fact that this offers a discount rather than a direct prize is likely to dissuade people from setting up bot accounts.
A fun campaign from Turkish Telecoms company Turkcell. It used a variety of Twitter mechanics throughout the challenge, culminating in the final task to get retweeted by a celebrity in order to win a phone. Check out the case study video to see how it was executed:
comments powered by