By January 19, 2012on
Last week on Twitter we stumbled upon the perfect example of how to attract criticism, lose followers, and ruin your business reputation all because of a poorly executed prize draw.
An online travel agency launched a follow and retweet draw offering a decent prize. Said company’s announcement of the winner was followed by outcry – other entrants could see that the winner had only ever tweeted a handful of times and had never once retweeted the actual prize draw message – it wasn’t difficult to discover, they merely had to check the winner’s timeline. If this wasn’t bad enough, the winner was located very close to the agency’s HQ. A deluge of complaints were tweeted and the agency blocked anyone on twitter who enquired about the outcome, whilst also deleting posts on its Facebook page. Allegedly they have also subsequently deleted previous tweets with any mentions of an external agency conducting the draw. Within hours, followers had decided this company were totally untrustworthy and the message was spread quickly amongst their followers, too.
What a mess.
We asked the twitterverse to feedback details of other suspect prize draws and the response was staggering. For every prize draw that is conducted to code and within industry guidelines, clearly there are at least another five which are not. We heard more stories of companies awarding prizes to fictional users, to users who hadn’t followed the instructions and other unacceptable behaviour.
We’re not the Twitter Prize Police but we are an agency that advocates good promotional behaviour. Compliance is essential. Run your prize promotion properly and everyone is happy. Run it badly and you will be found out. Your followers will tell their followers and rather than building a solid foundation for your business, you are essentially destroying your reputation. Prize draws that are conducted badly always attract more publicity than those which are carried out well.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what prize you are giving away or the size of your company, terms and conditions are not only essential they are a CAP code requirement. They protect both the promoter and the consumer and leave no room for ambiguity. Recently we conducted a twitter draw for a prize which had to be sent in costly refrigerated units – one of the winners was in the USA. Because our terms were robust and because they excluded non-UK residents we were able to politely explain to the winner why a redraw had to take place. The winner understood and there were no hard feelings.
Decide on the route of entry and communicate this well. Do people simply have to follow, follow and retweet once or retweet a number of times? Make it clear and ensure only qualifying entrants are put into the draw.
The draw itself must be conducted by an independent person. That is someone who doesn’t work in your office or for your company, and isn’t a relative or fictional character.
Be aware that the Advertising Standard Authority’s digital remit includes Twitter. If a consumer makes a complaint and this is upheld, you might find yourself at the receiving end of a fine, having to fork out for extra prizes, redirection of any Google search for your company to the ASA complaint rather than your homepage or even a trade embargo.
If there’s any doubt of the point we are trying to make, we’ll spell it out again. Run your prize promotion properly. No one is above industry regulations and twitter users are not fools.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
If you’d like some help compiling robust terms and conditions, or need an independent person to conduct a prize draw please contact us at email@example.com
- competition terms and conditions, compliance, prize draw rules, prize draw terms and conditions, prize promotion, Twitter
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