by: Carol Bryant, BlogPaws' PR Manager
One of the many methods pet bloggers (bloggers, in general, frankly) employ to engage fans, draw traffic, and work with pet product and service companies is to host a giveaway or contest. It seems easy enough: You set rules, you post the contest, and you watch as entries roll in.
There are, however, some hardfast rules and legalities pet bloggers need to know before posting any sort of product or prize contest or giveaway. Here are seven must-do's every pet blogger should know:
Follow Facebook rules for contests: Did you know that all sweepstakes or contest promotions that appear on a Facebook page (company, brand, blog) must run with a third party application? According to DeClemente, “you cannot just use the Facebook wall to collect data on the person or use the page or "Like" button as a means to determine winners. So when you use a Facebook application the user must "Allow" the application access to the user's personal profile and other data.”
Have official rules: A sweepstakes, contest, or giveaway must have official rules that are easy to locate. I generally link to them at the end of every contest I host on my blog. One of my favorite bloggers, All Things Dog Blog, has a set of clearly outlined rules that are worth showcasing as a stellar example. According to a post from Social Media Examiner, there are certain elements that “official rules” must include and they are:
- “No purchase necessary.”
- The alternative method of free participation.
- Geographic area of the sweepstakes and/or who is eligible to participate in the sweepstakes.
- Opening date and scheduled termination date of the sweepstakes.
- Complete name and address of the sponsor and promoter of the contest.
- Number of prizes, the accurate description of each prize, the retail value of each prize and the odds of winning each type of prize.
- Whether all prizes offered will be awarded and how the prizes will be awarded.
- Manner of selection of winners and when a determination of winners will be made.
- Where and when a list of winners can be obtained.
Determine if your giveaway is legal: “Consideration” is something to keep in mind. If you give something away from a sponsor, prize or money, tread cautiously about how you proceed. If you require participants to like or follow you, the law may deem this “consideration.” Have you ever sent participants to a third-party and then instruct them to come back to your blog? You might be treading into “illegal lottery” status. This is not to say you can’t run a giveaway, but understanding what is legal and illegal is imperative. Sara of SavingforSomeday.com shares important blog law posts worth a peek.
Group Bloggers Be Aware: Are you a blogger who has co-hosted contests or giveaways with other bloggers in a group-type event? Once again, consideration needs to be given in terms of the worth of the prizes.
Using a Widget or App Helps Immensely: Rafflecopter is a customizable widget bloggers can place in their HTML to promote their contest and gain entries. According to the official Rafflecopter website, “Rafflecopter was created as an easy way to run giveaways or sweepstakes. Sweepstakes are defined as prize giveaways where the winners are chosen at random where no skill is involved (unlike an essay contest, photo/video contest, etc.)”
Be Transparent and Research What You Don’t Know: Prior to launching any type of blog post that involves winning something, be ready for any questions that might arise. One of my blogging buddies, Liz of Woof Woof Mama, is a stellar example of how to do a proper contest or giveaway.
“I see so many that break all the rules, and besides being unfair to those of us who follow them, it also gives bloggers and giveaways a bad name,” Liz shares.
BlogPaws conferences are an excellent resource for learning this information and being able to ask questions, get advice, and network with others who share your concerns.
Where: The Sheraton Premier; Tysons Corner, VA
When: May 16 – 18, 2013
Do you run contests or giveaways on your blog?