Running a Twitter competition, where you offer people the chance to win a prize, is a fabulously fun way to engage with new and existing followers. It is also, if done well, a great way to promote your book or a forthcoming event you’ll be appearing at. Below I’ve mapped out a recent campaign I ran on Twitter:
The aim: to promote an event I will be appearing at.
The prize: A bottle of Moet and a signed copy of my book Confessions of a Fashionista.
The plan: Ask people to retweet information about the forthcoming event, as their entry for a randomly selected prize draw.
How I did it:
1. I drafted a tweet that would tell everyone what they needed to know:
– I’m running a competition!
– Oooh look at the amazing prize I’m offering.
– This is how to enter.
– I’ll pick the winner at random.
– I will announce the winner on this magic chosen day. (I decided to run my competition over a number of days, including both weekdays and weekends to maximise it’s exposure.)
2. I drafted a tweet to immediately follow this, which contained information about the forthcoming event I wanted to promote.
3. I scheduled my tweets, using Tweetdeck, to display across a number of days (I find there’s high Twitter traffic at around 7.30am, 1.30pm, and 5.30pm on weekdays). Alternatively, HootSuite will autoschedule your tweets when it judges the largest amount of your followers are online. Be careful to slightly alter the content of each tweet if you’re posting a similar message repeatedly – this limits the chances of Twitter mistaking it for spam and rejecting it.
4. I kept a note of all of the times I tweeted about the competition. Scrolling back through my Twitter account, I find the original tweets. Then I expand them to see who has retweeted them.
5. I highlight, copy and paste all of those who tweeted, and therefore entered the competition. I transfer this to a Word document. I then repeat the process for each time I tweeted about the competition. So, if you retweeted me more than once, your name will enter the hat more than once (handy hint for the future there).
6. I delete the photos of everybody’s profile picture (to save ink), and then I print it.
7. I then cut out each of the names until I have a pile of entrants.
8. I fold each of them up, and place them into a hat. Or a hat substitute, like this handy box I had in my study.
9. I shake the hat/box, and select a winner at random. (Confession: once, the person I picked out the hat was my editor, who had kindly spread the message and retweeted the competition tweet. I decided that it wouldn’t be wise to award her the prize, so on that occasion I selected again.)
10. Then I notify everyone by my Twitter feed who has won the competition. And ask the competition winner to let me know their details privately. Don’t forget to recycle your strips of paper, or donate them to a nearby hamster.
This may seem like a long and laborious process, and I’m sure many of you are thinking why? Why go to all this bother, Ange, when you could just be having a nice glass of wine and some cheese over the latest book you’re reading? The answer is very simple: it’s extremely competitive in publishing right now, and you should do everything you can to stand out. Nearly 3,000 books are published every week in the UK alone (ta, Wiki). It’s a bun fight out there, kids. A competition is a great way to spread the word about your work. The wine will still be in the fridge when you’re done.
P.S. If anyone knows of an app that will randomly select a winner from specific retweets do let me know!