How to Run a Twitter Giveaway

We are all for giveaways. We love the joy and excitement it brings to readers and we love the attention it brings to authors. Giveaways reinvigorate sales after a lull, they bring new readers and followers to your brand and they give you more opportunities to get reviews on marketplaces and Goodreads.

Not sure where to even start with a giveaway? Here are a few bits of info on how to run a giveaway on Twitter.

We are most fond of the bird when it comes to interacting and sharing. Twitter allows for quick responses and we love the brevity of it all. No need for long-winded tirades. It is also a very effective place to gain "followers" and give your brand some "distance" on the internet. One good retweet could get your name, books, and media seen by thousands of eyes.
The best article we found about Twitter Giveaways is Here, but to sum up:

There are many types of Twitter giveaways including:

Retweet: Enter by retweeting, simple. This needs to be included in your giveaway entry rules. We will get to that.
Reply: People would have to comment on your tweet to enter.
Mention + Hashtag:  Here, entrants would have to mention your brand and hashtag to enter.
Landing page: Fans would click a link to enter.
Followers: Follow to win, simple.
Tag a friend: Entrants would tag a specific number of friends to enter.

Any combination of these strategies has been effective as well. A popular option is Retweet, Like, and Follow. Retweeting is very important, but we will get to that. However, don't get carried away. Too many requirements can be a hindrance to the contest.

Don't get wordy.

"According to data from Buddy Media, Tweets with 100 characters get 17% higher engagement rates than longer ones."

Keep your tweet short and sweet and use "buzz" or "power words" as well as relevant hashtags. Here is an example.

And to be quite honest, this might be too wordy. lol. The additional line on tagging a friend is a bonus and a great way to get the tweet to spread a little further. If someone who sees your tweet doesn't want to enter but knows someone who would, they may tag them!

Here, the word "win" is hashtagged as well as "paperbacks" which readers are often looking for. Just for fun, we created a hashtag for the series. Being a small brand, the hashtag isn't as effective as some heavy hitters (#justdoit for instance) but it's fun and a good way to track the tweet. Then the relevant readers' hashtags are used at the end.

Use Images!

Of course. Using GIFs and Images should 100% be part of your strategy. Book covers are great, but a full graphic with a few details on the contest would be better. Here is an example:

People are more likely to enter when they can see the prize!

This image was done with a mockup template and Photoshop, but you don't have to get that fancy at all.

Include important info!

Including but not limited to the date the contest ends, how to enter, what the prize is, any location restrictions (US only, etc). 

Reply and Remind about the contest!

We would recommend Pinning your giveaway tweet to your profile. If you have a great tweet already pinned and don't want to lose it, you can copy the URL of that tweet and save it for easy recovery later. Every tweet has a website link. Gather this info by clicking on the tweet which brings it to full view and grab the link from the address bar.

If someone tags or retweets with comment, you should reply to them. Not only is it kind to do so, but it gives you visibility. Something as simple as "Thanks for Sharing" is always effective.

Share your original tweet with a comment to remind followers (or tell for the first time) about the event. Remember, all your followers don't see your tweet the first time, so have no shame about reminding them. 

As a reminder, the contest or giveaway has to run form ONE TWEET so make sure you retweet with comment or...

Additionally, you can share and remind with a new tweet by sharing the link from your giveaway tweet in a new tweet. Capture the link for your giveaway tweet the same way suggested to grab your old pinned tweet.

As you can see here, the link from the pinned tweet shows up as the tweet with the giveaway details and image. This gives people a chance to interact with your giveaway tweet directly.

Another way to share your contest widely is with the #ShamelessSelfPromo tag. This tag is used by authors a lot to share their books. 

The ShamelessSelfPromo tag is intended to "lift" writers and get their books and links shared. The tweets are often retweeted by many other authors who are also sharing their links. Interested readers will go to your pinned tweet and enter following your rules.

Pick a Winner!

You can manually pick a winner but sometimes that's not seen as fair by those who enter the giveaway. Retweet Draw is a Twitter contest winner picker (! We think it's a good idea to use a service like this because they offer proof that your drawing was indeed random and a winner was fairly selected.

A note on announcing winners: There has been some debate on making a social media announcement on who won a contest or giveaway. Some people think it invades privacy to announce, others don't believe there was a winner unless there is an announcement.

The fact is, no matter what you do, someone may not like it. Think about it, and decide for yourself how you want to do it. This is what we did.

Now time to celebrate! You just gave away some books!

Make sure you FOLLOW UP with your winners and send their books! Don't be unreliable with this. If they are eBooks, let's cross our fingers that those reviews will start coming in quickly!

Any more tips? Leave a comment!