Get Social with a Back to School Sweepstakes for Students
Social is the perfect platform for a back to school sweepstakes as it’s the easiest way to engage high school and college aged students. You don’t need a huge budget to run a social campaign, and as long as you run the promotion on a platform familiar to your target age group, and offer something they want they will find you! It’s a win-win for your brand and for your student audience.
So what do kids want to win?
They want cash or items they could not afford on their own. They crave experiences like concert tickets or getting to meet social media influencers. But they also want prizes that are easy to use like Uber or Lyft credit, or Amazon ecards.
What platforms should I use?
Instagram and Twitter are your best bets for a quick and easy sweepstakes. Both platforms allow you to track entries by unique program hashtag, and as long as you follow their guidelines and make the sweepstakes legal, they make it easy! Plus, most teens and university aged students are most familiar with these platforms.
Facebook is a bit more problematic as a platform. Facebook has promotion guidelines that prohibit shares and posts on an individual’s timeline as entries, so entries must be made as comments or reactions on your brand’s Facebook page. This makes it a little harder, but since most teens prefer other platforms anyway, you might want to steer clear of Facebook if you are looking for high school or university aged kids to participate.
Snapchat can be a good bet for this age group, but there is no way to track entries without an ad buy. However, you can do some creative things to make a Snapchat sweepstakes work.
YouTube is another platform preferred by teens. Influencers frequently offer Sweepstakes to give away items to viewers. YouTube allows this, but if you engage with teens or young adults on YouTube (and any of the other platforms as well) make sure you follow FTC guidelines for disclosures.
What kind of sweepstakes should I run?
Social sweepstakes work best when the call to action is clear and simple. Ask for a photo and/or a short statement in a comment or tweet. Make sure you ask to include the program hashtag and follow the brand. And don’t make the hashtag too generic – or too long. Other than that, the sky is the limit! Ask for photos of the first day of school while dressed in your brand’s clothing, or the first homework assignment completed with your brand’s school supplies, or the first day in the dorm with your brand’s decor – anything that you can associate with your brand (or not). It’s up to you.
Where do I promote my sweepstakes?
A social sweepstakes can be local, national or even international, so you should promote it accordingly. For a local event you might want to pass out flyers or posters, post to your social channels, and ask a few local brand advocates (for example, your staff and friends) to pass the word. For a national sweepstakes you can send an email to your customer list, send out a mailer, or simply post to your social channels and take out targeted online ads.
How do I collect entries?
It may seem easy just to do a hashtag search to gather entries. But it’s not always that simple. If you get a lot of entries, it will be hard to manage, and sometimes the search results don’t give you all entries. You will want to use a social tool that ties in to the platform’s API, or database, to gather entries for you.
What special legal requirements do I need to pay attention to?
If you are giving things away randomly with a drawing, you must comply with all state, federal and international laws (as applicable). There are also FTC disclosure guidelines that you must adhere to if you use social media for a sweepstakes or influencer campaign. If you aren’t familiar with these laws or guidelines, you will need a promotional marketing expert or attorney to guide you through the process.
How do I select winners?
This may be the hardest part of a social sweepstakes! Usually all you have for a winner is their username and contacting them may be a challenge. As long as you set up the sweepstakes rules correctly, though, you should be able to direct message the user through the platform to get in touch. For guidance see our tips for contacting social media winners.
Finally, when you have your idea and you are ready to execute your promo, call us to help you! We can steer you through all the legal and logistical challenges that come up and make your Back to School Sweepstakes a success!
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