What is a Flash Giveaway?
I define a “flash giveaway” as a fairly brief giveaway that is held directly on a business, brand or blogger’s Facebook page. The format is usually an image post which entrants “like” and comment on in order to enter. Here’s an example of a recent giveaway on my page:
A flash giveaway is used to increase interaction on your Facebook page, increase Facebook fans and generally get your product in front of as many eyes as possible. As people comment on and like your giveaway image, it is shown to more and more Facebook users. As a blogger, I typically run these giveaways for a particular sponsor who would like to reach my 20,000+ fans. A business or brand will host a flash giveaway on its page to increase its own social following.
How do I create a flash giveaway?
You need an eye-catching image that showcases your prize and provides clear instructions on how to enter. I make my images using Canva or PicMonkey. I recommend including the giveaway dates and the entry restrictions (if any) directly on the image as well as in the giveaway instructions. I always make square images, as these show up nicely on both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook.
Sample giveaway instructions:
To win this super awesome prize ($50 rv):
1- Like this post
2- Like My Page (Be sure to tag your page here to make it easy for people!)
3- Leave a comment telling me your favourite thing about my page.
Think of the structure of a flash giveaway as a bunch of names going into a hat. If you ask people to comment with the answer to a simple question, doing so puts their name into the proverbial hat. It’s that easy. You can even give your followers more than one chance to win: for example, you can ask them to leave a second comment telling you their favourite item in your online shop, which gets their name put into the hat again. I often offer bonus entries for following me on Instagram and ask people to leave a second comment with their Instagram handle in it. At the end of the giveaway, you draw your winner from among all the comments (a process which I describe below).
What rules govern giveaways on Facebook pages?
According to Facebook’s Page Guidelines—which I strive to respect since Facebook is the primary way I interact with my readers and drive traffic to my blog—there are certain things you can and cannot do in a giveaway hosted on your page.
You must indicate that your promotion is not associated with Facebook in any way; disgruntled winners can’t complain to Facebook about not receiving their prize. (And even if they wanted to, actually communicating with Facebook is nearly impossible.) You also need to provide participants with clear rules. Even if this weren’t part of Facebook’s guidelines, it’s simply good business practice to make your giveaway transparent.
If your contest is only open to Canadian residents, make that nice and clear. Just because you are based in Canada doesn’t mean that users from all over the world won’t see your promotion. I have drawn winners in Australia before, and at least I was able to buffer their disappointment and frustration by pointing out that it was clearly stated in my giveaway that the contest was only open to the US and Canada.
My standard disclaimer looks like this:
This giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Facebook. The winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 8 PM MST. The winner will be notified by private message and has 48 hours to respond. Open to US & Canada.
Many flash giveaways ask or require entrants to share the giveaway post or tag a friend. This is prohibited by Facebook’s Page Guidelines:
I find it slightly obnoxious to be asked to share or tag friends in contests. If the requirement is simply “share this post,” I don’t know how the contest administrator can verify that a given person has shared the post due to Facebook’s privacy settings. If the contest states that users can “share this post for an extra entry,” there is no way I can think of to actually count a share as an entry unless you are also telling people to leave a comment saying they’ve completed the “share.” (Refer to my “name in the hat” analogy above.) If users get an additional entry for every person they tag, those who really want to win are going to be tagging a whole lot of people who may not be interested in your products or services. These uninterested Facebook users might interact negatively with your post by clicking to hide or may even go so far as reporting it.
What about asking people to “like” your page? Well, I do it because I cannot find anywhere in Facebook’s promotional guidelines that prohibit it. A few years ago, external giveaway apps such as Giveaway Tools and Rafflecopter had to remove the “like this page” entry option from their widgets and replace it with “visit this page.” One caveat is that you cannot confirm with absolute certainty if a winner whose name you have drawn is in fact a fan of your page. Depending on their privacy settings, you may not have access to any of the pages they like. While I do include “liking” my page as part of entering my contest, I can only really draw my winner based on whether they liked and commented on my giveaway image.
How do you draw a random winner?
There’s a free website for that! You do not need to write down the names of every commenter and literally put them in a hat. You do not need to count your comments and use Random.org to pick a random number and then find that comment. You just need to get the direct URL of your giveaway post, copy it and then paste it into the Good Luck Fairy.
Find the URL by right-clicking on the time/date stamp of your post and then select “Copy link address”:
Visit The Good Luck Fairy and paste the URL:
Click “Identify Winners”:
You’ll notice that The Good Lucky Fairy picks four winners. It considers each “like” of your post as an entry, and draws a random liker. It considers each comment on your post as an entry and draws a random commenter. It then looks for those who liked and commented, and picks a random name from those people. If ever you were doing a contest where the comment with the most likes was the winner, it draws that too.
Because my giveaways always require participants to “like” the giveaway post and leave a comment, I disregard the other “winners” and use the name drawn amongst those who did both. I highly recommend you at least require a comment to enter your giveaway because this makes it much easier to notify your winner.
How do I notify my winner?
Since you’ve followed my advice and made leaving at least one comment a requirement of entering … it’s pretty easy! Find the person’s comment and you can click to message them directly from your business page.
Sometimes you can also tag the person in a new comment, but this seems to depend on the person’s own privacy settings. I always create a new comment that announces the winner, and I message the winner. Take advantage of that “announcing the winner” comment to direct people to your website or newsletter sign up or anything else you’re promoting: lots of people will click over to that comment to see if they’ve won!
In order to find your winner’s comment, you’ll need to open up all the comments on your post. This is a huge pain because Facebook only reveals 50 comments at a time. I have yet to find a workaround for this, and it takes forever when I have a giveaway with 500+ comments. I use my browser’s “find” feature (CTRL+F on a PC) to search for the winner’s name until I find her comment. I have run a few giveaways that have thousands of comments. On these rare occasions, I will announce the winner’s name in a comment and ask them to message me.
How do I get entries?
Since you’re a Type A rule-follower like me and you don’t require shares or tags of your giveaway, how do you promote your giveaway to get entries?
- Suggest (but don’t require) shares. You can always say “Sharing is not required but it’s appreciated!” Some fans will share your giveaway because they feel like it or because they know certain friends will want to enter.
- Add your giveaway to giveaway link ups. There are many websites that allow you to list your giveaway for free. You can add your giveaway to MY giveaway linky at the bottom of this page. This post by Maple Leaf Mommy provides a comprehensive list of spots to promote your giveaway at no cost.
- Offer an enticing prize. Know your audience. My fans love cloth diapers and baby carriers, so those giveaways do the best for me.
- Work with a blogger in your niche. If your Facebook page doesn’t have a large following, hire a blogger whose audience is your target market to host or promote your giveaway. (Feel free to hire me, of course!)
- Join or create a Round Robin. In a Round Robin, multiple pages each run their own giveaway at the same time, and each giveaway links to another until the participant has visited everyone’s page. You might want to organize this and ask a handful of other pages to participate with you.
- Use your other social media accounts. Don’t forget to share your giveaway on Instagram or Twitter and in Facebook groups (when permitted).
- Maintain engagement. Hopefully, you will see an influx of new fans and increased interaction from existing fans during your giveaway. You want to keep the interest of any new fans and make sure they continue to interact with your page and therefore continue to see your posts. If the only thing you post for a week is your giveaway, you’ve lost your chance to retain those new fans.