It’s Springtime! Let’s Boost Up Your Social Audience

By Brittany Monk

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and your vineyard is blooming with bud break and spring flowers. Springtime is full of photo opportunities around your property and it’s the perfect time to boost your social engagement and following in preparation for the season. A fun way to get your audience involved and growing is with a social media giveaway, but before you hit “post,” let’s review best practices (and laws) regarding promotions and alcohol.

Let’s do some required reading…

Here at WineGlass Marketing we (almost) do it all: branding, communications planning, marketing tactics, world-class integrations, data analytics, and more. However, we do not have decades of law education (unless a “Legally Blonde” marathon with Kimchi counts). The following information is for general reference only and is not to be considered legal advice or opinion.

Social Media giveaways are a fun way to get your audience engaged with commenting, liking, and tagging their friends to increase your brand awareness. However, your state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board more than likely has strict laws around what can be given away in a contest or sweepstakes. In California, for example, the act of awarding alcoholic beverages as the prize in a contest or sweepstakes is prohibited. This extends to anything redeemable for alcoholic beverages, excluding cash and cash equivalents (read the fun legal details here). For our client’s giveaways we’ve stuck closely to merchandise, gift cards, or a combination of the two.

So you have your prizes picked out, how should you conduct your contest?

First things first, you need to sit down and make some goals. Asking for direct sales is out of the question as all contests must be “no purchase necessary” (per ABC). Knowing your goals is integral before defining what an “entry” is to your contest.

Your goals can overlap, such as having your audience like the post, tag a friend, and repost to their feed for an extra entry. However, once again, make sure you look at the contest rules for the platform you’re conducting it on. Facebook strictly prohibits you asking entrants to “share, repost, tag others, or publicize your promotion” (Facebook’s fun legal details are here), and both Facebook and Instagram want you to specify that the platform is not sponsoring the contest, give official rules, and specify that entrants have to be 21+ because you’re an alcohol brand (Instagram’s fun legal details are here).

With more than 95 million photos and videos posted to Instagram per day, and the average user spending 53 minutes per day on the platform (source: Zippia), holding your audience’s attention is something you want to keep in mind when setting your goals and contest rules. It may be more appealing to direct people to your website to fill out a form for an entry, but your Instagram audience now has to:

  1. Click on your main profile.
  2. Click on the link in your bio.
  3. Fill out your form.
  4. Submit it.
  5. Navigate back to Instagram.
  6. Swipe back to their main feed.

Your entries (and contest reach) may decrease compared to a promotion where it’s as simple as:

  1. Click comment.
  2. Type a username.
  3. Click share.

A Social Giveaway in Action

Oz Winery is a Kansas-based brand that makes wines inspired by L. Frank Baum’s book series beginning with “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” When we began discussing the idea of a social giveaway, our client wanted to include a few pieces of tasting room merchandise that they hoped to clear out by the end of the season. With a goal of social awareness and engagement in mind, we set a prize of a branded BBQ tools set, an apron, and tiered gift cards for first, second and third place.

The client’s email database was about 440% larger than their Instagram following, so an email was sent to the entire database with the goal of increasing social following. The email featured a header gif with revolving examples of previous posts to the platforms to get consumers excited about the behind-the-curtain peeks they’d get on Instagram and Facebook. This email linked directly to their Instagram page, but the added exposure to the brand’s social media led to around 1 in 4 of the new social followers liking the Oz Winery on Facebook.

The giveaway was posted on Instagram with entries earned by liking the post, tagging their friends (each comment was a new entry), and an extra entry if they share the post to their story and tag the brand. There was a small budget to boost the post on Instagram; $18 was spent by the end of the campaign. Other than the boost, Meta ads overall stayed focused on their unrelated goals for the time period. To align with Facebook’s terms of service, we did not accept entries through Facebook despite the larger audience. Our team did post the giveaway to direct traffic to Oz Winery’s Instagram profile and garner more exposure.

The results? A 755% increase to Instagram followers and an 82.9% increase to Facebook page likes. Engagement for this brand’s Instagram is usually higher than our benchmarks, but this contest more than doubled their average, ending at 24.4% engagement. Looking at sales during the contest period, revenue increased 739% compared to the previous month’s period.

At the end of the day all goals were exceeded, revenue generated was more than 6x the gift card value given away, and the tasting room was able to move out some product before the season ended. The campaign was made a greater success by integrating with the emails to Oz Winery’s database. For more information on integrated campaigns (and why you should be doing them), visit our recent blog “An Argument for Integrated Campaign Planning”.