Twitter Sweepstakes Drive Engagement and Buzz about Your Store

By Brian McNeil-Smith

TwitterIf you are like many small businesses, you have considered marketing through social media, but do not know where to begin, and cannot afford to lose time learning.  Twitter is a fast, easy and free platform that can be a great place to start. More and more small business’ are using Twitter to do promotions due to its simplicity, ability to increase followers quickly, and generate brand loyalty virally at little to no cost, in just minutes.

Think of Twitter as online word-of-mouth, only faster because your information can be shared at the speed of a single click.  With 33% of consumers buying a product because of a promotion on a brand’s social media page, according to customer insights firm Jirafe, social promotions like those done on Twitter can really impact purchase behavior, particularly as they initiate interaction with your audience. 

So where to start? Engagement is your main goal with Twitter. In order to have engagement you need followers who are excited to share or “retweet” a short 140-character post, or a “tweet,” that you write.   Retweets are critical as they act as endorsements of your company, product or service to others who may not know about you, who can then also retweet to their followers, and so on.  This not only can significantly grow your followers, but awareness and a community of excited advocates for your business.

Which is why Twitter sweepstakes or “Enter to Win” promotions are a particularly effective strategy.  Plus, doing Retweet Sweepstakes offer a chance for followers to win something just by clicking the “retweet” button when they see your tweet. 

Here’s how a Twitter “Retweet” Sweepstakes works.

Keep in mind you can manage a twitter sweepstakes manually, or use an app after your sweepstakes is complete for helping with the winner selection which can help save time, ensure you stay compliant with twitter rules and winner selection.  Most Twitter Sweepstakes apps are free or almost free for small businesses.

Step One:  Create Your Tweet – and Tweet It

• Consider the prize:  Choose a prize that is significant enough to inspire sharing. 

• Keep the tweet short.  While Twitter allows 140 characters, we have found that people are more inclined to “retweet” on 120-130 characters.  

• Use abbreviations:  To conserve space, use standard worldwide Twitter abbreviations including RT (retweet) or FW (Follow).  

• Determine the length of your sweepstakes.  It should not be longer than 7 days.  Include the date and time when the winner will be chosen so followers will know if they still have time to participate, such as “Winner selected on 09/15.”

• Create your terms and conditions and provide a link to them in your tweet.  Often overlooked by many small businesses, Terms and Conditions are critical, as they educate on rules such as whether a purchase is necessary, eligibility, how to enter, period of the contest, winner selection and notification, etc., and importantly protect your business.  You can host your terms and conditions as a new post in your blog, or upload them as a PDF in your web server or even as a note in your Facebook page. You can also use a Twitter Sweepstakes App for this. 

• Include the call to action. Use phrases like “Must Retweet,” “RT to Enter” or “Participate w/RT” or “RT+Follow” to ensure clarity.

• Be visual.  Using an image can double your visibility as it takes up more space on a follower’s timeline, and result in a higher rate of retweets.  An image of the prize can heighten excitement and shares as well. 

• Use Hashtags.  Putting a # sign, or “Hashtag,” in front of key words will enable a broader pool of users to find your sweepstakes when doing a search. If, for example, you are giving away tickets to a New York Yankee game at Yankee Stadium, the tweet would be similar to:

• ”#Tickets to the #Yankee home game at #YankeeStadium – RT and FW for chance to win! You have two days!”

• Decide When to Send the Tweet:  We have found the best time to be retweeted is Friday afternoon.

• Combine with traditional marketing:  Announce the sweepstakes to all of your friends, family, and customers via email and in-store communications to drive more followers to your Twitter page.

• Reminders:  The first Tweet is the most effective. Keep reminders to a minimum, and be sure to take extra caution to capture those who retweet the reminders. 

Step Two:  Picking a Winner/Managing Participant List 

• While winner selection can be done manually, with Twitter sweepstakes apps, you can:

• Impartially select winners and backups, should first choices not be available, with the push of a button

• Publish the winners on Twitter through a link that takes followers to a notification page, which can also be customized

• Build Terms and Conditions (to be completed at time of constructing your tweet)

• Create a “blacklist” of people who should not win (such as past winners, or “sweepstakes lovers” that do not have any connection to your brand)

• Offer a Certificate of Validity to prove your selected winner has been chosen in a legal, transparent way, minimizing any questions.

To see how simple apps like these can help with Twitter sweepstakes winner selection, you can test Easypromos Twitter Promotions App once you have completed your Twitter sweepstakes and have gathered your list of participants. Go to, create an account using Start Now and log in using your Facebook account.  Select Sweepstakes and then Twitter Sweepstakes and follow these fast and simple steps:

1) Log in with your business Twitter account
2) Select the type of sweepstakes – for this select RTs
3) Select your Tweets and Retweets
4) Define participant exclusion rules
5) Select the number of winners and alternates