You know what’s fun? Designing a sweepstakes in 140 characters or less, including your entry link. No, really—no sarcasm intended. The best part of running Twitter sweepstakes is that it forces you to be clear, creative, and concise. Plus, Twitter is great for promoting your business.

While this may seem daunting, it’s actually a fun challenge and easy to pull off once you know the basics. If you want to run a Twitter sweepstakes or contest, just check out these tips below to get started.

Twitter Sweepstakes

How To Run a Twitter Sweepstakes

Define your Goals

As with any sweepstakes, you need to define your goals. However, it’s a little bit trickier with Twitter because if you have more than one goal, you’re going to have to find a creative way to hit two or more birds with one tweet.

Typical goals include gaining new followers, capturing leads, increasing brand awareness, creating engagement, and increasing sales. It’s best to pick a couple of these and make them work together than trying to cram them all in at once. Remember, you can always follow up afterwards if you want to achieve more goals. For example, if you focused on capturing leads, you can then email those contacts coupons or links to your products.

Hosting the Sweepstakes

You’ve basically got three options here. You can host the sweepstakes on your website, via an app (like Easypromos, Heyo, or Wishpond), or on Twitter itself. The advantage of the first two is that you can include a sign up form and capture leads, as well as enable social share buttons so that people will post the sweepstakes to Twitter and other social media sites. Another advantage is that an app or website page will provide space for you to go into more detail about the sweepstakes and include rules and regulations. Some apps, like the recently launched Easypromo app, will go above and beyond for your sweepstakes by choosing winners and managing your entry list.

If you opt for hosting on Twitter, it is very important to make sure you are in compliance with Twitter’s rules and guidelines, which you can view here. Another option for hosting on Twitter is using Twitter’s lead capture campaign tool as a contest entry form, but you’ll have to factor in a budget for this since it is a paid Twitter feature.

What to Include in the Tweet

This is where the fun kicks in! The main point of running a sweepstakes on Twitter is the hashtags. I love hashtags because you can be really creative with them. There are two types that you want to include in your contest. One is a sweepstakes hashtag, such as #EnterToWin, #sweepstakes, or #contest. Just choose one, or change them up each time you tweet your sweepstakes.

The other type of hashtag you’ll want to include is one that is about the sweepstakes itself. A little tip is to choose a trending hashtag or one that people tend to follow. For example, if your sweepstakes is food-related, #foodie is a popular hashtag that people follow, and anyone who uses that hashtag in relation to your sweepstakes will show up in that hashtag list.

Before you run your sweepstakes, make sure you create a hashtag strategy.

The other components you should include are your Twitter handle, the link (either to where the sweepstakes is hosted, or a link you want promoted), sweepstakes title, and some quick info. This is how Twitter forces you to be creative: your title needs to be short and snappy, your hashtags well-chosen, and your info clear and eye-catching. A special note regarding images: Use images to your advantage, sizing them properly, and including all relevant information as a text overlay.

Twitter Sweepstakes or Twitter Contest

A sweepstakes is a little different than a contest because people don’t need to compete in order to enter. Typically, for a Twitter sweepstakes, people will either tweet information you request, or enter their contact details in a submit form, and that’s it.

For a Twitter contest, you can ask people to come up with content, tweet photos, or perform an action in order to enter for a chance to win. For either option, always request that people include your Twitter handle and the hashtag that showcases the content (such as the #foodie example).

Spreading the Word

Your Twitter sweepstakes doesn’t need to be confined to Twitter. There are many promotion options (and they won’t confine you to 140 characters or less). Some ideas include a blog post, your website homepage or contest section, in your newsletter or an email to your contacts, and on other social media channels. Especially take advantage of social media channels like Instagram that also utilize hashtags.

You’re all set! If you follow these basic guidelines, you should be well on your way to creating a fun and engaging Twitter sweepstakes. Once you’ve got a sweepstakes rolling, feel free to tweet it to us. We’d love to see! And we’re happy to retweet it, too.

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