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Why Millennials Respond to SMS Sweepstakes

Why You Should Market to Millennials with an SMS Sweepstakes

Now that Millennials are officially the largest group of consumers, you should make sure to take advantage of all of the marketing opportunities this group offers. In fact, several surveys have shown Millennial customers are highly receptive to brands that offer giveaways and rewards.

As a group, Millennials are constantly on mobile as well, making SMS sweepstakes a good way for your brand to reach them. Here is some insight on why SMS or text is a good platform for reaching this group.

Loyalty and Rewards Programs Attract Millennial Consumers

According to the Harris Poll on Millennial consumers, more than 75% of them participate in loyalty and reward programs. They’re also more likely to choose brands that offer loyalty and rewards programs (75%). In fact, loyalty and rewards programs are the top incentives they look for in exchange for sharing their personal information with marketers.

Millennials are Willing to Share Their Personal Information With Brands

Compared to Baby Boomers and the Gen X generation, Millennials are also less concerned with data privacy and security as consumers. Their willingness to share personal information also means brands can reach them more easily with personalized content, which Millennials prefer. They’re also 47% more likely to share their information in return for incentives or rewards.

Millennials Love Contests and Sweepstakes

According to a radio marketing study (PDF), 52% of Millennial respondents said they would be interested in participating in a contest or sweepstakes heard on the radio. Roughly 60% said they would be receptive to considering buying the product of a contest or sweepstakes sponsor.

Considering their affinity and high use of text, Millenials are an ideal group to target with an SMS sweepstakes. 

So if you’ve been planning to target Millennials for your business, now is the time to get started!

Build a brand-boosting SMS sweepstakes today. See features and pricing to get started.

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Sweepstakes Prizes: Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Why bigger isn't always better with sweepstakes prizes.
When it comes to sweepstakes prizes, you may be tempted to try to exceed expectations. After all, who wouldn’t want to win a crazy awesome prize?

But as it turns out, a recent study found that going all out isn’t want people really want or need from your brand.

Here are 3 reasons why bigger isn’t always better when it comes to sweepstakes prizes.

Customers Don’t Want the Burden of a Huge Prize

Before you select a sweepstakes prize, consider how it will affect your sweepstakes winners.

Will they have to pay a tax bill in order to claim it?

Will it require them to rearrange their schedules or travel in order to enjoy it?

If a prize is too expensive or too difficult to claim, your participants are more likely to decline it. Worse, they might not even enter the sweepstakes in the first place.

In fact, when consumers were asked if they were more likely to enter for a prize of $100,000 versus $10,000, the larger prize only gained 5% more responses, according to a study by Hello World.

Bigger Prizes Take More Effort

Most consumers think if there is a huge prize being offered, it’ll be harder to win as well as claim.

So while people enjoy the possibility of winning a big prize, they don’t want to expend a lot of effort to win it or to claim it.

Free products or services under $1,000 are considered more attainable. Combine this with a high odds of winning and your fans are more likely to enter with the hope of really winning.

Sweepstakes Prizes Should Be Highly Targeted 

Before you put your next sweepstakes into action, also consider whether the prize you’ve selected is the best option for your audience.

Is it relevant to your brand? Does it appeal to your audience and their demographics (income, age, etc.)? It’s not as simple as picking the biggest or trendiest product. And putting a little thought into this can really boost the outcome.

By selecting the right sweepstakes prize, you can maximize the success of your promotion and ensure your winners are truly satisfied.

Ready to set up an SMS sweepstakes? Reserve Your Sweepskey now to get started in under 10 minutes.

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Retailers Want Promotional Ideas from Distributors. Here’s One… Text-to-Win

Retailers Want Promotional Ideas from Distributors. Here’s One… Text-to-Win Sweepstakes
We all know that getting your product into a retail store doesn’t mean it’s going to sell. And with shelves full of competing products, it’s your job it to help retailers showcase your product. That’s why they’re constantly on the lookout for promotional ideas that boost sales.

We have a good idea for you… text-to-win sweepstakes.

What is it?

A text-to-win is a mobile sweepstakes in which the consumer enters by simply sending a text message on their phone. It’s one of the easiest sweepstakes to enter and to run.

Steps of a Text-to-Win sweepstakes.
1. Advertise you call to action, 2. Confirm participants entry, 3. Participants info is saved on your account.

Although text-to-win has been around for many years, it’s still fairly new to most. Large brands have realized its potential, however, and have been using it more often in recent years.

It’s increasingly a mobile-first world and text messaging is the new frontier in modern marketing.

Why text-to-win works in retail…

  • It’s convenient. Shoppers can enter a text-to-win while in the store.
  • It can build excitement and improve your positioning or display space in store.
  • It’s easy to add on to POS’s, FSI’s, store shoppers, circulars or ads (print, social, TV, etc.) by adding the call-to-action of your sweeps. “Text WIN to 65047 to enter our sweeps.”
  • The same text-to-win program can be used in multiple retailers.
  • Texts have among the highest open rates (90%+) and redemption rates (up to 15% on offers)
  • It’s not just for Millenials. Up to 92% of the 50+ crowd text weekly. (Pew Research)

The myths that keep brands from going mobile

While texting for business is more than 20 years old, there is still a bit of distrust held over from the early days. But these myths no longer hold true…

Texting is spam

Text messaging for businesses is more highly regulated than email spam, since it’s overseen by the telecomm industry and the FCC. Trust that AT&T and other phone providers will come down hard on anyone using their system for text spam. In fact, anyone sending spam texts can be charged up to $1,500 per text, per recipient.

Consumers don’t trust text

Americans are comfortable with text, now more than ever. About 97% use it once a day, according to Pew Research. And since it’s native to all mobile phones, there’s no learning curve or app to download.

Consumers don’t understand text-to-win

Tell that to Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bud Light, Publix, Pizza Hut, Wal-Mart, etc.  Consumers of all ages are now comfortable with sending a text to enter a sweepstakes. It’s more likely that a brand might not understand it or is new to using text, but we can help guide you in the right direction.

Text is a fad for Millenials only

That might have been true in the early days, but is no longer the case. As we said earlier, up to 92% of Americans aged 50 or older text at least once a week, according to Pew Research. Remember, many people are getting rid of their land lines and using mobile phones only and they are more comfortable with all smartphone featuers. Text is here to stay and it’s used more often than ever.

The bottom line…

While texting for business is regulated, it’s not complicated.

Text-to-win sweepstakes are convenient for shoppers and brand marketers and can bring high returns in store.

To get started with your own text-to-win, see features and pricing.

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What to Do When The Winner Doesn’t Accept the Sweepstakes Prize

What to Do When The Winner Doesn't Accept the Sweepstakes Prize

Who doesn’t want to win something? Surprisingly, some people don’t. Here’s what do when the winner doesn’t accept the sweepstakes prize.

Sometimes people win prizes that they simply can’t use. Perhaps the acceptance terms of the prize overlap dates for which they already have plans, the prize comes with a high tax bill or the winner entered the sweepstakes with the intention of winning a different prize. Regardless of the reason, they want to decline your offer and you’re now stuck with a dilemma.

However, this won’t be a major problem for you if you make sure that your rules incorporate provisions for such situations.

Include Provisions for Declined Prizes in the Rules

Be sure your sweepstakes rules include clauses stating that the prize “cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash or substituted by winner.” Make it very clear that if person can’t take the prize (they can’t travel on the trip, or don’t like the prize, for example), then they will have to forfeit it.

Disallow Prize Transfers

While it may seem that your company is being unfair, disallowing trades and transfers actually serves some very important purposes. Firstly, it prevents your prize from being used in a way that your company didn’t intend for it to be used.

Disallowing transfers ensures that the prize will not be given to someone who is not actually eligible to win the prize because that person did not directly enter the sweepstakes. Allowing winners to transfer their prizes to others is unfair to the other participants in your sweepstakes and could lead non-winners taking legal action against your company

A Winner Who Wants to Trade the Prize Must Forfeit

By not allowing a winner to trade the prize, you can avoid trading something of more or lesser value for the original prize. Secondly, allowing winners to trade prizes could hurt your relationships with the companies you’ve partnered with for sweepstakes prizes.

Secondly, never allow winners to trade prizes for cash. The purpose of a sweepstakes is to boost your brand. When you just give away cash, you are simply paying for engagement that won’t do anything to boost awareness of your brand or emphasize its unique positioning within the market.

When it comes for dealing with unexpected circumstances during your sweepstakes, rules are vital to avoid these types of concerns. With complete rules that are designed to address all sorts of problems, you can avoid ending up with lawsuits on your hands.

Build a brand boosting sweepstakes today!Reserve your Sweepkey and set up your campaign in 10 minutes or less.

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What Happens When You Can’t Reach Your Sweepstakes Winner?

missed call

You’ve selected a winner for your sweepstakes and now they aren’t responding to any of your attempts to get them to come forward and claim the prize. So what happens when you can’t reach the winner?

Believe it or not, this is a common problem with sweepstakes. Either the company can’t reach the winner or they leave messages and the winner doesn’t get back to them in time.

Here’s what to do to ensure that your sweepstakes isn’t derailed by a winner who has gone missing in action.

Include Guidelines for Official Winners

Your official rules should state how many days winners have to respond and what will happen if a winner doesn’t respond. At Sweeppea, we help clients build rules that say that the potential winner has a number of days to respond.

The amount of time you give winners to respond can vary, but it shouldn’t be too long. Also, the Official Rules will usually have a date by when you will publicly announce a winner, so you need to keep this in mind, as well.

If no response is received, then the rules should state that the company will select another winner. This helps companies avoid any legal problems and helps to keep things moving along for the sweepstakes so you can publicly announce a winner in time.

Steps to Follow When Winners Don’t Respond

In some cases, not all is lost when a winner doesn’t respond. In fact, steps you can take include:

  • Wording the language of your campaign so that any person who is chosen is only a “potential winner” until they are confirmed as the winner.
  • Giving winners notice by phone message or email that they have “X” number of hours to respond (whatever time frame you decide to give them per your Official Rules) from when they are first contacted or the company will have to choose another winner.
  • Once that time is up, randomly select another winner and inform them they also have “X” hours to respond.

When the potential winner responds, verify the winner to ensure they meet the Official Rules or criteria (over 18, US resident, etc.).

Add a Pre-Sweep Step

Adding a pre-sweep step ensures that your rules have a provision for this response period to protect your company.  Our Official Rules Wizard includes this provision to protect our customers.

Asking for your participants’ email addresses is another pre-sweep step is to consider. Our text-to-wins automatically collect mobile numbers, but your online form could also collect emails as well.

Mobile phone is the best method of contact, but it doesn’t hurt to have another option. 

Reserve Your Sweepkey now to get started in 10 minutes or less.

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How Consumer Products Can Get More Retail Space With a Text-to-Win Sweepstakes

Get More Floor Space with a Text-To-Win Sweepstakes

Competing for a shopper’s attention today is like trying to flag down a racer in the middle of Nascar. It’s a fast-paced world and decisions are split-second quick.

So how do you get more eyeballs on your product or more floor or shelf space for attention? Put your product center stage with a big “Text to Win” sign above it and create some excitement.

Use our text-to-win sweepstakes to get the extra space, build excitement and maximize your returns.

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

  • Get end cap space for your sweepstakes: This type of promotion is evergreen, so it’s not dependent on a holiday or season (although you can use one). Run one during a slow period or to gain sales lift in a particular store or area.
  • Choose a prize that will get shoppers to enter: Entering by text is super easy, but it’s the prize that will motivate shoppers to enter. Get them motivated and position your brand for success with a good prize.
  • Setup and promotion: Set up your text-to-win with Sweeppea. To get started, just choose a SweepKey (the word they’ll send by text for entry). We’ll walk you through the process online, while you set up to promote your sweep in store. A header for the end cap will grab attention and show how to enter (as shown above).

Grab eyeballs and make your product the star of the store. With this setup, consumers will buy your product and sign up for your text-to-win sweepstakes at the same time.

Spur Sales During & After the Sweepstakes

Research shows that 83% of shoppers have made an unplanned purchase based on a promotion or coupon. Get them to buy and enter your sweep while they’re in the store. Once the promotion is over, send additional offers by text to keep them coming back.

Remember, you will keep the list of entrants for future marketing, MULTIPLYING your sales and your customer base.

Build your own text-to-win sweepstakes. See our features to get started.


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Special Issues to Consider to Ensure Your Mobile Sweepstakes Is Legal


Are you good at following the rules? When running a mobile sweepstakes, it certainly helps. In fact, it’s vital to follow the rules to avoid a problem that could cost thousands. We’ve written before about the legal documents for a mobile sweepstakes and text message marketing rules, but there are still other special issues that may arise. 

Here are some special issues that will need extra consideration.

Is it Open to Entrants Outside the US?

Is your sweepstakes open to residents of Canada? Mexico? Other countries? If so, make sure your official rules comply with the laws of that region. In Canada, for example, it’s illegal to run games of pure chance with a random draw (i.e. a sweepstakes). It’s best to add a skill-testing question to make it more of a contest. In Mexico, any prize of more than US$5,000 has to be delivered in the presence of Mexican authorities. Be sure you’re aware of the legal requirements of the region.

Sending Direct Mail?

This is less common these days, but if you’re using direct mail  to promote your sweepstakes, you’ll need to make sure you have permission to send mailings to those recipients, per the Federal Trade Commission. The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and HIPAA are other legal protections that prohibit the use of mailing lists from DMV records or medical facilities for direct marketing purposes.

Will it Involve User-Generated Content?

Are you asking entrants to enter with photos, videos or other material? If you’re making use of user-generated content as an entry requirement or also for promotional purposes, put terms in place to cover their use with regard to copyright.

Are You Targeting Children or Minors?

When targeting children or minors, you’re adding another layer of rules and complexity. You must take privacy into account and other issues. If your mobile sweepstakes will target that audience, make sure you’re in compliance with federal and state laws, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and FTC rules.

Mobile sweepstakes should be carefully structured to ensure maximum participation, while minimizing the associated legal risks. Before beginning your mobile promotion, consider the legal aspect. While we assist with creating official rules for a sweepstakes, legal counsel is always best. We can help you get that professional guidance.


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5 Tips for Successful Mobile Sweepstakes & Contests

Sweeppea . Text-To-Win Sweepstakes, Mobile Marketing

The benefits of a mobile contest are clear: your customers win awesome prizes and your company gets loyal subscribers that you can market your products and services to. But how do you make sure that your mobile campaign will produce the results that you want?

Here are 5 tips for successful mobile contests to help you launch a great campaign that is guaranteed to boost your business.

1. Define Your Objectives

It may seem obvious, but understanding your objectives for running a mobile contest will help you to decide if a contest is the best way to get the results you want, and most of all, what type of contest to run. If the end goal of your mobile campaign is to build a loyal list of subscribers, then you should opt for a contest that offers a low barrier to entry.

However, if the goal of the contest is to produce high quality content that you can use to promote your business in the future, then create a contest that focuses on having your subscribers creatively describe what your brand means to them. Either way, you need to make engagement the focus of your campaign.

2. Plan It Out

If you plan to evaluate user-generated content in order to select winners for your contest, you need to plan out the selection process, as well as, the attributes of a winning submission.

3. Choose the Best Mobile Partner

Choosing the right partner means that you need to find a mobile marketing company like Sweeppea that will be able to deliver all of the features that you want for your mobile contest. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Can you customize my contest for my brand?
  • Can you handle all of the legal requirements of a contest?
  • How can I measure my success with your platform?
  • Will a dedicated representative be available to assist me with campaign setup?

4. Promote Your Campaign

You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you need to make an effort to promote your contest if you expect to get entrants. Promote it on your website and in your company marketing materials.

5. Use the Contest Results to Improve Your Business

Once the contest is over, make sure to capitalize on all of the great content and relationships that were acquired over the course of your mobile campaign. Include contest submissions in your advertising campaigns and extend the relationships you’ve acquired to social media so that you can continue the conversation about your brand.

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The Benefits and Parts of a Text-to-Win Sweepstakes

In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, feathered dancers prance down Duval Street in Key West, Fla. during the Fantasy Fest Parade. Attracting some 60,000 people, the procession was the highlight event of the 10-day Fantasy Fest costuming and masking festival. The annual festival originated in 1979 and has matured into the Florida Keys' largest special event, accounting for some $30 million in revenues according to local tourism officials. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman)
The Benefits of Mobile Sweepstakes and Contest Marketing:

Buzz: sweepstakes create tremendous word of mouth. The Florida Keys “Win a Florida Keys Vacation and Experience Key West BrewFest” sweepstakes generated a huge reaction in social media and on blogs, sweepstakes sites and elsewhere. In the first 3 hours alone, it received more than 1,000 visitors and nearly 400 “likes” and 600 “shares” on the Florida Keys Facebook fan page.

Increase Your Email and Mobile Database
: Sweepstakes and contests usually ask for name, email and address. Mobile sweepstakes take it a step further by gathering the mobile number as well. This increases the email and mobile marketing database tremendously and allows marketers to contact subscribers via text message and email after the sweepstakes is over.

High Return on Investment (ROI): The cost of setting up a mobile sweepstakes is far lower than the cost involved in traditional “paper entry” sweepstakes. The mobile entry component makes it very easy for the participant to enter. No forms to fill or staff needed to gather them. Mobile text-in entry increases the number of participants substantially. And the more participants you have, the lower the cost per entry. The ROI can be calculated by total entries or total qualified leads generated. ROI can be taken a step further by factoring in social media reach and new website visitors.

The Main Elements of a Mobile Sweepstakes
Goal: The objective of the sweepstakes needs to be clarified and kept top of mind in all activities. If it’s lead generation, the participants should be pre-qualified upon entry to facilitate the sales follow-up efforts. If it’s for branding, then promotion and related marketing and social networks should be leveraged as much as possible. If market research is a priority, then a survey can be included as part of the entry process. A marketer should plan beforehand what he will do with the data once it’s collected and how that data will turn into actionable analysis and a marketing asset.

Advertising: The beauty of a text-to-win promotion is that it works in every media channel, online and off. Your customers can enter from anywhere they are. They can be in front of their computer, mobile phone or in your store. You can place your a call-to-action (Text WIN to 65047 to enter…) in printed materials or any digital screen because all the participants has to do is send a text message to enter. We like to say, wherever you print your logo, be it, on your website, flyers, menus, Facebook or Twitter, you can advertise you text-to-win sweeps call to action.

Privacy: A lot of personally identifiable data is collected upon entry, especially when participants enter from their mobile phones. Marketers need to have and adhere to a solid privacy policy and a strong data management platform to protect the participant’s data. And always offer a way to opt-out and completely eliminate that participant’s personal information from the database.

Prize: Bigger isn’t always better. It’s crucial to pick the right prize– a prize that appeals to the target audience your product or service is trying to reach. Are you a college targeting high school students? A cruise trip for two to Alaska may not be the best option for high school students, but a new iPad mini will be.
Legal “Official Rules”: Because of their potential for abuse, sweepstakes are heavily regulated. In the U.S. all states have laws covering sweepstakes, sometimes resulting in exceptions, depending on where the entrant lives. Sweepstakes and contests are also regulated by U.S. Federal Trade Commission on a national level. Age requirements, date of birth, state of residency and the monetary value of the prize all affect how sweepstakes’ Official Rules are assembled. The Sweepstakes Official Rules should be reviewed by an attorney specializing in promotion marketing laws. We can help.

Mobile Partner: Whether you are an ad agency or a small business, picking the right mobile sweepstakes partner is key. The mobile partner should be able to provide you with the services of executing and running a mobile sweepstakes. The mobile partner should also have the technical know-how to put together a text-to-win program and create mobile-optimized entry pages to capture participant’s information. A mobile sweepstakes partner should have the technology platform to provide a short code (Text WIN to 65047 to enter, for example), gather a database of mobile entries and provide reports as to the status of the program.  A mobile sweepstakes partner will recommend Official Rules. And when it’s all over, a mobile partner should provide post-sweepstakes mobile engagement ideas to continue to drive the goals of the campaign and leverage the database of leads.

Fulfillment: A winner must be picked randomly and the prize awarded with the time limits that were set in the Official Rules. The winner must be contacted and a Declaration of Compliance, Liability and Publicity Release should be received before any prize is delivered. Based on the value of the winnings, a 1099 tax form needs to be sent to the winner as well. Fulfillment it’s a detailed and necessary process to avoid any future legal complications.

If you want to reach your mobile consumer, a text-to-win sweepstakes is absolutely one of the best way to do so. It allows the marketer to gather a detailed, permission-based profile of your mobile customer. Above all, it can create a fun, buzz-worthy event to energize current customers and reach new ones.

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Sweepstakes and Contests: Do I Need Official Rules?

Contest and sweepstakes rules are important!

(This is a guest post by Donna DeClemente, a colleague and experienced marketer of sweepstakes and contests.)

We get asked quite often whether or not “Official Rules” are needed for a specific promotion. Some clients and prospects think that it’s only a small “giveaway” and it doesn’t include a major prize, so why not?

Recently I was asked this question from a long-time client and when I reviewed what they wanted to do, it was quite complicated. It didn’t offer a major prize, but it did include two different ways to enter, on Facebook and Instagram, along with photo upload.

So the answer is always yes. Whether you are planning to run a sweepstakes (giveaway) or a contest, there are rules and regulations that you must follow in order to be compliant. Therefore, you need to have a set of Official Rules that outlines the promotion and is your contract with the public.

Back in June I wrote this post that reviewed the differences between sweepstakes and contests and what the major objectives are for running either of them. To summarize, sweepstakes are a game of chance where the winners are normally randomly chosen. Contests on the other hand are a game of skill and participants usually are invited to submit some content (photo, video, essay, etc.). A panel of judges then chooses the winners based on criteria that are defined in the official rules.

Also, you need to know that any promotion that contains all of these three elements: Prize, Chance and Consideration (Purchase, Payment or Time) is an “Illegal Lottery” in the U.S. The Time element is the grayest area of all these. If you are planing to run a promotion that does include Consideration, then you must allow an alternate means of entry (AMOE).  Most social media promotions do not usually require consideration. However, writing about a product or taking a photo or video of the product in order to enter may be consideration.

For example, if the participant can take a photo of themselves with a product in a store, then a purchase would not be required. Or for example, if you’re asking them to take a photo of themselves with a pair of shoes “out and about the town” that would most likely require purchasing the shoes and therefore, Consideration. There is a fine line between the two. Another example is asking participants to take a photo while taking a bite of a doughnut or sipping a drink. They can’t return the doughnut or the drink then, so wouldn’t that require purchase? You need to ask if the participant can effectively compete without actually making a purchase.

Also a very popular trend on social media is inviting participants to earn extra entries by performing different tasks and challenges on various platforms. Not only do you need to follow the guidelines of each social media platform, you also need to keep in mind  the degree of effort that you are asking participants to perform to gain an entry. So how much time is too much and what can you really require? The Supreme Court did rule that watching a 30 minute TV show wasn’t too much time, so that’s a guideline to follow. But keep in mind that while awarding bonus entries for sharing/referring may not likely fall under consideration, it may be against Federal CAN/SPAM regulations.

Another thing to keep in mind is the FTC’s Endorsement and Testimonial Guidelines. They recently published a list of Q&A’s that state that when it comes to sweepstakes and contests, any incentive, no matter how minimal, such as an entry for making a post on social media sites, may be an endorsement. Thus it requires a disclosure. The use of the promotion title alone is not adequate, and they are encouraging including #Contest or #Sweepstakes or #Entry or a similar designation in a hashtag. The recent updated Q&A’s now states that using #sweeps as the hashtag is not enough and instead it should be #sweepstakes.

Another rising trend today on social media is running a sweepstakes or contest utilizing only a hashtag with no entry form. Entrants may be invited to post a tweet on Twitter or upload a photo on Twitter or Instagram utilizing a promotional hashtag. Many marketers like these types of promotions since it creates buzz and makes it easy for entrants. However, hashtag entries do not collect data on the entrants since there is no entry form to fill out. Data collection is the number one reason why marketers run sweepstakes and contests. Without collecting data this also can make it more difficult to contact winners. There are however, applications that you can utilize that include both such as what was discussed in this post.

So it all comes back to what your main objectives are for running a promotion. You need to consider what the risks may be and also be realistic in what you are asking participants to do. Most of all, be sure to cover yourself and your company by running a successful and legally compliant promotion that includes a set of Official Rules.

Donna DeClemente blogs on