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Contesting 101 – Lessons in how to contest online
Whenever I post a picture of something I have won online I get asked:
“How did you win that?”
“Why are you so lucky?”
“What are you doing to get so much free stuff?”
“How can *I* be a part of that?”
Well, today is your lucky day. I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on how to enter and win contests as well as how to avoid scams and hackers.
When I first started contesting, I was completely oblivious. I pulled all the classic mistakes I keep seeing people on my friends list doing. I was liking fake pages and entering fake contests and got hit a few times with scams and hackers. BUT, I have learned a lot in the past 3 years. Contesting has now become a part of my normal daily routine and thanks to my new friend Christine I am entering many more contests in a day then ever.
My new friend Christine and I met through contesting(Actually I think it all started when she won a giveaway from my “store page” Under The Apple Tree”) and we have become close. I cherish our chats and cannot wait to one day meet her and her family. We tag each other in any giveaways or contests that we see, that way we both have a chance at it. Some days she tags me in more and some days I tag her in more. I never feel bitter or jealous when she wins a prize and I’m sure she would say the same about me. We’re out there cheering each other on!
Christine is my contesting buddy…and everybody should have a contesting buddy…or two…or three…the more eyes out there scanning the news feed and facebook pages, websites, blog pages, the better! It’s very easy to miss contests in your newsfeed and it is also easy to miss seeing your name drawn as a winner if the contest page does not tag you in the winning post.
So, where do I start in educating newbies to contesting….that’s tough…but I think I’ll start with the things to NOT do and the pages to avoid.
Scammers – Fake Pages – Hackers
No one likes to be played a fool, nor do they like hackers and viruses on their computers. So, you HAVE to be careful when “Liking” facebook pages and apps and clicking on links.
How to tell if a Facebook page is legit:
I see many contests being shared on my friends pages that look like this:
I can tell just from looking at this that it is a fake. I don’t even have to go to their facebook page to check.
If a page or app is claiming to be giving away 25 FREE IPhones or 50 Xbox 360 and does not have an actual real business name, it is FAKE. Stop sharing and liking these pages!!
(I will admit I have done it in the past, but, I try to be extremely careful nowadays!)
If you want to know if a contest is for real or a facebook page is for real here are some things to look for:
Go to the “ABOUT” tab for their facebook page – This should have more business info on it.
Minimum it should contain a website address. If you go to the website and it does not have further contact info like a phone number then it is a FAKE website and is a scam. Close down the page and do not click on anything else.
Here are some examples of legit and scam pages so you can see the difference:
This showed up in my news feed the other day. As well as another “over the top” giveaway from the same page. Pages that post multiple amazing giveaways that “ends tonight” are usually fake and you should not be liking or clicking on them.
That being said, some pages have “flash giveaways” and sometimes they are amazing prizes…that’s why you need to do some investigating to see if a page is real or not!
There are many companies and blogs that giveaway amazing prizes like trips, cameras, tvs, cars, etc. You just need to be careful. And again, if you are not sure feel free to ask me and I am more than happy to check it out.
Anyways, back to how to see if a page is fake or not.
When I saw that giveaway shared by a friend, I went and checked it out.
The page holding the amazing giveaway is the fake one. When I searched for Tiffany and Co. both pages popped up and so I checked them out. You can see already by comparing the main page that there are big differences…but, then I went a step further and checked out their “About pages”:
Page on left is the fake one. This is your biggest clue into knowing if a page is real or not.
HOWEVER, there are exceptions to the rule! Some home based businesses do not have big “About” pages. But, if you first check out their main page they will have things to show that they are real.
Let me show you a great example using my friend Michelle’s business page:
Here are examples of fake giveaways that I have seen in my news feed:
While I know a gamer/blogger that was actually giving away a gold Iphone (I think he actually gave 2 away), pages that say Xbox Giveaways or Iphone Giveaways(like this one) are fake pages. Only go to reputable companies/blogs to enter giveaways for big prizes, this will keep you and your information safe.
PS: If there are major spelling mistakes on a page(especially on the About page) then I would definitely avoid them!
One last piece of information: Stopping accepting friend invites unless you know the person!!!!!!!!!!
I no longer accept friend requests unless I am affiliated with them through giveaways/blogging (I do some background checking/investigating first) or unless I know them in person.
Hopefully now you will better choose which pages and contests to share!
And if you are not sure, you can always send a link/page to me and I would be more than happy to check it out for you.
Now, on to the more important part *wink*….WINNING!
I can’t guarantee that you’ll win a contest but I can share some tips that will increase your odds of winning.
#1 Enter Often – Do not think by entering one or two contests and not winning that you have no luck. You have to enter MULTIPLE contests. I suggest starting with 10 contests a day. But, certainly enter more if you have the time!
Keep in mind some contests you can enter DAILY and doing so greatly increases your odds of winning that prize.
#2 Leave a better comment. Don’t just type in “Liked & Shared” in the comments section if you are required to comment on a post to win. I’m guilty of doing this sometimes if I am busy, and you can sometimes win simply by doing that. But, sometimes messages get deleted on blogs if they are too short because the system thinks they are just spam.
*So, to help your entries get noticed by the prize sponsor/company I suggest at least writing one or two sentences.
*Include any posted hashtags. If a contest post includes hashtags include them in your comment. Sometimes the company is looking for people who are paying attention as well as sharing the hashtags they are using.
#3 Make sure you READ. OMG, I cannot tell you how many times I have posted my own giveaways and have people ask me how to enter, or not follow the rules even when they are there in plain sight! This is extremely frustrating and can be a waste of time for the company offering the prize when they have to wade through entries that have not followed all the rules. Which leads me into the next tip……
#4 READ the rules. Again. Reading. I’m also guilty of not reading the rules sometimes and have lost out on prizes because of it. I’ve also ended up entering giveaways that I could not win even if I was chosen a winner because of failing to meet a requirement of the giveaway ie: age, where I live, etc. So…make sure you read the RULES & REGULATIONS!
#5 Make sure you are actually entering the contest. LOL. Yeah, I’ve failed at this a few times. I’ve also pointed it out to a few of you. When entering contests for facebook make sure you go to the facebook page that has the giveaway, not that you are just entering on someone’s page that shared the giveaway post.
Example: Christine shared this giveaway from GameSeek and it showed up in my newsfeed. To enter I need to actually go to GameSeek’s facebook page to enter. By clicking on the photo or GameSeek’s name I get taken to the proper place to enter.
#6 BE POSITIVE – Don’t play the “I’m not lucky”, “I’ll never win” card. Contesters and promoters don’t want to hear it. Be grateful for every win no matter how small! I try to make sure to take a photo and tag the company even when they send me free samples in the mail. Why? Because I am grateful that they have sent me something for free and it gets their attention.
#7 Find a Contest Buddy. If you would like to enter lots of contests to up your odds in winning, you really should have a contest buddy.
*You don’t have to look very far either….I’m right here! LOL. But, if you ask me to be your contest buddy, please be aware that your newsfeed/notifications will BLOW UP with contests on a daily basis. you do not have to check them all out or enter every one but I can tag you if you like…..
OR you can simply “follow” me here: https://www.facebook.com/utat2013 just make sure that you are active in “liking” the posts I share or you will not see everything I post and might miss out on a contest. Or set your notifications so that you see more of what I post.
Here’s how to set-up or adjust your notifications:
Hover or click on the “Like” button until a menu pops up. Select “Get Notifications. Then set your notifications to “See First”.
**Keep in mind that if a page posts many times a day you will receive notifications every time they post when selecting this option. This can get to be very annoying! I usually keep my notifications set to “Default” unless there is a winner notification or upcoming giveaway that I do not want to miss.
#8 Make sure you are active on facebook pages where you want to try to win contests from.
Or set your notifications to make sure that their posts show up on your newsfeed.(See image above on how to set notifications up)
#9 Make sure you check your inbox, Otherbox and emails daily!! Some contests only allow 24-48hrs for a winner to contact them in order to win their prize.
*Also, if a contest post says “Check back here” to see if you are a winner, then you might want to make sure you set a reminder to check back on the contest close date to see if you won or not. I’ve missed out on prizes because I forgot about the draw date!
#10 Don’t “Like” a page just for the giveaway. Facebook has started keeping tabs on the pages you like and unlike and how often you do it. If you like too many pages in a day you can have your account frozen. Only like pages and enter contests that you actually want to win or that you can actually use the prize that is being offered. Entering a giveaway for baby stuff when you don’t have a baby or know anyone that has a baby is just being selfish and is bad contesting etiquette.
*Entering to win a trip? Make sure you check the dates in which you have to cash in that prize and make sure you can get your passports in time/save up enough money to pay for taxes, etc. It’s not fair to someone who could have had everything ready for the trip to lose out because you “just wanted to win a trip”.
#11 Congratulate those who win. Yeah, sometimes it sucks when you don’t win something that you really wanted to win. But congratulating those that win shows good sportsmanship and sometimes gets you noticed by the company involved as well. Don’t say “I never win anything” “this contest is a fake”, etc etc which the trolls like to do in the comment section.
#12 Follow contest/giveaway blog pages. BUT, be ware! There have been a few scammy ones out there. One which I followed for quite sometime before they were outted. They were getting prizes from companies and never sending them to the winners!! It happens unfortunately. I try to make sure that I screen the pages I follow but, sometimes you don’t know until you win a prize from them and actually receive it. I will be sharing some pages on my blog page on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChaosandSilence . The ones I share will be SAFE as far as I have researched….either myself or someone I know has won from them and received their prize.
*If you are following me at : https://www.facebook.com/utat2013 you can go to my “Likes” on the left hand side of the page and see the pages and companies I follow. This will get updated from time to time. This would be a good place to start in “Liking” some contesting/giveaway/blog pages.
#13 If you want to keep it simple: Stick to facebook contests or RT to win on Twitter. Many of the company pages I follow have daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal giveaways. They are usually “Like, Comment and Share to win” and sometimes they require you to use woobox on facebook (I have not yet to date had any safety issues from using woobox!)
- Some contests require many different steps to gain entries(Rafflecopters, GiveawayTools, etc), which can be extremely time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Avoid these ones if you do not want to put in the time!
Follow me on twitter @chaosnsilence if you would like to enter contests simply by liking the companies page and retweeting the post.
#14 Don’t give up! Do not think you are going to win the first contest you enter. Do not think that you are going to win just because you entered 100 giveaways last month. Winning takes time. You will eventually win and if you are grateful for it, more winning will follow!
I think that is about it as far as tips to get you started in contesting. I do wish you all the very best! And please if you win something let me know what you won and from where! I love sharing positive wins on my page!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me. If you have any additional tips that you think would be helpful please share them with me and I will add them in!
Here are a list of links to the good business pages that I used in my example photos in this blog post.
The ones that have * by their names often have giveaways.
Michelle’s Sweets And Treats (Local meals and desserts)- https://www.facebook.com/Michellestastytteats
*Sally Hansen Canada – https://www.facebook.com/SallyHansenCanada
*GameSeek – https://www.facebook.com/gameseek
*Kernel’s Popcorn – https://www.facebook.com/kernelspopcorn
Tiffany & Co. – https://www.facebook.com/Tiffany
I am looking for crafters and home based business owners to participate in a HUGE Christmas Giveaway.
The purpose is to not only increase your traffic/ “likes” on facebook but, it is also to make connections with other crafters and show support to those trying to get their home based business started.
Each vendor/business is required to donate a prize to this event. It can be a physical prize, gift card for your business, PayPal/Amazon credit, etc. Minimum value of $10.
* If donating a gift card to your store/business there must be at least 1 item that can be purchased for that price.
**A photo must be submitted of the prize being offered.
There is no cost to participate like some other big blog giveaways require. It is free to participate other than the item you wish to donate and postage costs if applicable.
No, I do not have a large following so I cannot say how much extra traffic you will get….. but, I have some contacts who do that will be more than willing to share this giveaway. 🙂
People talk, and if someone is new to your business, wins your prize, likes it…they are more than likely to buy more and tell others about it. Word of mouth…and word of blog can be a great resource in getting more business!
Vendors are required to ship physical items to the verified winner’s address within 2 weeks(posted date of 2 weeks post giveaway) of the giveaway ending. (More info in vendor application)
All vendors will be required to share the giveaway at least once daily during the event.
This event will be shared on multiple contest sites, blogs and Facebook pages. I do not have a list as of yet, as I would like to make sure I have vendors/crafters lined up before asking a site to promote the giveaway…can’t really promote a giveaway if there are no prizes! 😉
I will be sharing each business page at least once as a highlighted post on my own pages to give everyone an extra boost in recognition.
More information(vendor applications) will be available in the upcoming weeks. My hope is to have this giveaway begin November 1st.
If you are still interested in participating please send an email to : fightingpoverty@hotmail.CA
with the subject line:
A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY
More information will be available soon, but, if you are interested please send me an email!