10 Frustrations of Blog Giveaways: Why DO We Do it That Way?
March 24, 2015
The other day, I ran across a really educational thread on Giveaway Promote’s Facebook page. It was eye opening to see what people think about blog giveaways and how they really work. The following question was posed:
When I started reading the replies I soon learned that there are many misconceptions readers and followers have about blog giveaways. There really is a method to the madness. As bloggers we know this, but sometimes forget that non-bloggers aren’t privy to all of the behind-the-scenes work that leads to the “whys and hows” of our giveaways, so I have decided to address some of the frustrations. Here are the top ten I saw in the thread and my thoughts on each. Let me know what YOU think in the comments!
Blog Giveaways – Dispelling misinformation
#1 – We get all of the stuff we give-away for free
When you work, do you do it for free? Highly unlikely. That would be called volunteering. And while I am a huge believer in volunteering, in order to live there needs to be a balance“ between earnings and giving your services away. An employee accomplishes tasks for an employer and bloggers provide a service to brands. We put a lot of time and effort into legal agreements, promoting giveaways, helping brands grow their social media reaches and even creating reports among a multitude of other things. Often times, we pay for our own giveaways which brings me to another point: there have been mentions of not enough gift cards in giveaways. Most times, gift cards are paid for by the blogger (or group of bloggers) giving them away. More often than not, brands want their actual product to be promoted. If ‘Brand A’ gives away a gift card it shifts attention away from their product (unless they are the actual store sponsoring the post). For them, it makes no sense to ask a blogger to promote an item then give you a gift card to spend money at an entirely different business. So this is why you usually see more product, less gift cards.
#2- Why do I need to follow you and/or your sponsor’s social media accounts? I cannot enter because I don’t have particular social media accounts required in the giveaway. Yes, yes. We know not all of you have Instagram, Twitter or insert social media site of your choice, BUT when a brand is giving us a valuable giveaway prize they are asking for something in return. Sometimes that “something”includes helping them grow a particular social media account in order to reach more valuable customers and consumers – namely, YOU. This rise in their following is a tangible result. In order for us to keep bringing you great prizes, we also need to show brands that our numbers are not stagnant, we can attract new followers and engage with them. I try very hard to make most follows optional. It doesn’t always happen, but I think most other bloggers I know try to do the same. Another glimpse: If a brand has two bloggers applying for the same assignment and one has 100 followers, but the other has 10,000 followers the person with 10,000 followers will most likely get the assignment because they will reach more people through their posts and social media shares. Bloggers work hard on their numbers and it affects us when we both gain and lose followers, but I’ll get to that…
#3- Why do social media shares matter? The more you share a message, the greater the reach. If I share with ten people, that is a great start. When those ten people tell ten more and then those people tell another ten…well, you get the point. There is a lot of power in sharing on social media and brands like this! I also think it is the least I can do when they are providing a valuable item for me to give to my winner.
#4- Why do I have to follow SO MANY people in a giveaway loop on Instagram? This goes back to bloggers investing their own money for prizes. Those high dollar items you see in giveaway loops have almost always been paid for by the bloggers you are requested to follow. A LOT of time and coordination goes into the loops and each blogger should get a follow since they contributed the funds to help purchase the giveaway prize.
#5- I don’t think there is really even a prize I cringed when I read this. Unfortunately, there are bad apples in every bunch. I’ve never personally run across this situation, but I can only guarantee that my giveaways are real. If you have any doubts about whether a blog giveaway is legitimate or not, move on. There are thousands of other giveaways out there just waiting for you to enter!
#6- No one ever wins blog giveaways/I don’t see photos of the winners with their stuff Each blogger has his or her own policies. Every single one of my winners has received their prizes and I require a tracking number from the sponsor once the item has shipped. The item must be sent within 30 days of receiving the winner’s address unless we have made other arrangements in advance. Often times bloggers do not even receive an acknowledgement that the winner has received their items. I have given away close to one-hundred items and of all of my winners, there have been three people took the time to email me a note of thanks.
Some people aren’t comfortable posting their photos on the internet. Some people don’t answer requests and bloggers, by law, cannot require this from their winners. I for one would be tickled if any of my winners sent me a photograph with their item after I’ve concluded a blog giveaway!
#7 – Why aren’t more US-based giveaways open to Canadian and other international winners? This is a great question! International shipping can become very expensive, even from the US to Canada. I once shipped a 4-ounce package to Quebec and it was $50US. Frankly, those funds could be used to continue running my blog or toward a gift card purchase for another giveaway. Bloggers also have to deal with sometimes very time-consuming Customs forms and in some countries it is required that packaging MUST be in a certain language. There are also tax laws involved. If my brand requires a form because a giveaway item value is over a certain dollar amount, the winner must be a US-Resident so the brand can abide by IRS laws.
On that note, I do make all of my gift card giveaways open to most countries since e-gift cards can be emailed.
#8 – Bloggers don’t contact the winners If you enter a giveaway via a blog page, I am in full agreement it is the blogger’s responsibility to contact the winner. Now, if you enter a Facebook flash giveaway, most times bloggers do tag you in the original thread. We cannot private message you first, however, so we have no way to contact you unless you leave an email address in the thread. Unfortunately, it happens where an alternative winner is selected. Believe me, we hate it just as much – if not MORE than you do. Ultimately, if you want to claim a prize, it is your responsibility to check to see if you have won it. This is usually stated in the Terms and Conditions listed in the entry form of the blog giveaway.
#9 – I don’t believe I truly get the entries for the tasks I have done If you are recording those tasks in a giveaway form, you are being given credit. It is why in my forms I ask for the specific URL to your shares or tasks so I may verify them. And yes, most of us DO verify!
#10 – Now here is MY frustration and that of some of the bloggers who chimed in on the thread. I know when you create fake accounts for entries for blog giveaways and it hurts bloggers when you do. Bloggers put in a lot of work to secure quality items and take the time to review them and provide you with our honest feedback. When you make up fake accounts for more entries we know you are doing this and most of us can catch it very easily. It hurts us to reward someone who has made up fake multiple accounts and then un-follows us once a giveaway is over just to do it again in the next blog giveaway. This is why I use a form. If you already follow me, just enter your screen-name and you are all set!
Numbers do matter to many brands and you potentially damage a blogger’s credibility by affecting our follower counts. For instance, when I apply for a giveaway and write that I have so many followers on Instagram, only to lose 100 of them because they were fake accounts and/or only trying to get something from me it potentially looks bad to a brand. Just don’t enter. We truly value your visits, clicks and entries and we could not do this without you, but we want our engagement to be a two-way and meaningful street. EVERYONE benefits this way and that’s a wonderful thing!
So what do you think? If you don’t see something on the list, let me know what it is. I appreciate every single entry in my blog giveaways and hope this has given you more insight. As always, I welcome your thoughts.