Are Live Giveaways [On Twitch] Worth It?

Oprah Winfrey LOVES giving away free stuff!

This article is one of many follow-ups to our most popular article, The Honest Way To Succeed On Twitch And Social Media – if you love it, please leave comments.  We are considering doing video, eBooks, and other content to help everyday folks really figure out social media..  Give us the creative nudge we need and share this forward… Or leave some thoughtful comments to keep the discussion going (to may have mentioned this already)!

Giveaways are something everyone has dabbled with on Twitch.  They’re a fairly common practice yet few really know what they are doing.  This is not a jab at Twitch streamers, bloggers, or anyone doing business and creating online.  Social media is something you just never fully master, even if you have formal education and extensive experience.

A debate I’ve had with many Twitch streamers, including our pals Link & Lily over at Linkwall, is this:

Are giveaways even worth it?

That’s a loaded question because, if giveaways didn’t produce results, people would never do them.  So the real issues here revolve around whether giveaways are right for your brand and how you should go about doing them.

 

My Fun (And Not So Fun) Experience With Giveaways

Once upon a time, I was a partner and part owner over at Social Prize, a company that was poised to take the social media world by storm.  Me and Spathizilla turned the platform into something worth talking about.  On the surface, it was a giveaway platform like Rafflecopter, Woobox, Offerpop, and whatever else you can think of, but we were building it to be more than that.

Sadly, our vision would take time to bring to life and we came into the business after the company had pissed money away.  It’s no fun building up a company when it’s recovering from serious debt and really piss-poor missteps..  But that’s another story for another time.

Being a part of Social Prize and involved with countless giveaways as a publisher, consumer, and product manager made me realize that giveaways really do work..  But most people on social media, Twitch in particular, are doing them wrong because they don’t have that background.  There are legal risks, hidden costs, subtle strategies, and much more to consider beyond the simple tactics and tech of merely executing them.

Let’s explore some of the nuances of giveaways together…

Fat Business Man With A Cigar

Legal Poop About Giveaways, Sweepstakes, And Contests

First and foremost, it is very important to differentiate contests from giveaways because they are NOT the same thing.  People often use the terms “giveaway” and “contest” interchangeably but, the bigger your brand, the more dangerous this faux pas becomes.  Here’s why:

  • Giveaways [and sweepstakes] are supposed to be 100% random or luck-driven.  Any performance piece or “purchase” could put you in the dangerous territory of illegal gambling.  At the very least, labeling a contest as a “giveaway” would be a failure at managing expectations.
  • Contests are performance-driven so the time required to succeed in them is far greater than what you’d see in giveaways.  It’s also more easily understood that it’s not a “set it and forget it” proposition for publishers and participants alike; that is, people know there is a need to put in continued effort.  Conversely, the notion of daily entries on giveaways often eludes people.

In addition to the aforementioned distinctions, there are legal risks with giveaways, contests, or any sort of social media or marketing promotion.  Twitch continues to update their Terms Of Service but this is what they have to say about promotions (i.e. self-promotion and sales/marketing) in general as of March 26, 2015.  You are not allowed to…

make unsolicited offers, advertisements, proposals, or send junk mail or spam to other Users of the Twitch Service, including, without limitation, unsolicited advertising, promotional materials, or other solicitation material, bulk mailing of commercial advertising, chain mail, informational announcements, charity requests, petitions for signatures, or any of the foregoing related to promotional giveaways (such as raffles and contests), and other similar activities;

Yet people do giveaways on Twitch all the time.  As with any legal jargon, you have to read between the lines.  Twitch has been known to say things like “we are in the progress of updating our terms of service” and “we have discretionary power [to do whatever the hell we want]” so be wary of this.  There are always rules and laws on the books that don’t get enforced until you ruffle someone’s feathers.

The key to any sort of marketing is making sure you represent your brand properly, manage expectations effectively, and avoid misrepresenting your offerings.  In other words, don’t bait and switch people or you may find yourself in the midst of a legal battle.  With regards to Twitch, you want to make sure the brunt of your activity is gaming-related (non-gaming content can get you suspended like we did on GeekyAntics TV) and serves their best interests first and foremost; namely, you want to keep their users happy and on their platform.

No Purchase Required.  Make sure your giveaway has an easy entry method and an alternative for those that may not be able to get in via conventional means.  The bigger the prize, the more important this is.  While people are paying with their time and money, make sure they are not actually spending money to earn an entry.   There are also rules that vary by state and country regarding the prize value, tax liability, and the like but that information can be found online or via an attorney for little or no money if you’re smart about it.

 

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The HONEST Way To Succeed With Twitch.. And Social Media

YouTube + Twitch = YouTwith

The #1 article on Google Search for “succeeding on Twitch” is now here at http://geekyantics.net/blog – thank you all for your wonderful support and encouragement! We’re glad we can help non-partnered streamers level the playing field and find advice that isn’t your typical canned messaging and tech talk. There’s far more to streaming on Twitch than overlays, technology, and your games of choice, friends.  Stay tuned for more articles regarding Twitch, online businesses, and social media marketing!

UPDATE!  We’ve been featured on Gods Of Mayhem, The Angry Joe Show, IGN, and many popular Twitch channels.  Thank you for supporting our growing network and empowering us to help others and put out unique, useful, and fun content!  We are also one of the Top 10 results for “geeky network” on search engines.  Thank you all!

If you love what we have to say, please support our Twitch channels and other projects:

  • Geeky Antics Stream Team – Support these folks because they are awesome, friendly, and engaging.. Yes, even that salty dog ObioneX2 is lovable and fun to hang out with, once you get to know him. #TheGANG
  • ShinyPrints.com – One of our biggest sponsors and clients.  They help me, Yomar a.k.a. Yogizilla, work from home so I can be with my family and run the GeekyAntics network.  Check out their wedding photo frames and design templates.  Artists and photographers will be surprised just how much better and cost-effective metal prints and wall art can be – PLUS they are built to last and you don’t need a mount!
  • GeekyAntics – One of the FIRST channels to establish a podcasting stream team and do gaming talk shows..  WAY before there was even a category for it!
  • TheWorstRadioShow – Literally THE worst radio show out there.. And we love them for it!  Part of our beloved stream team and podcast network, affectionately called #TheGANG.  Check out other great WRS Media projects like Podcast Infinity and Dark Zone Podcast, too!
  • GamingDeath – One of the oldest REAL podcasts on Twitch.  Be sure to check them out as they are well-connected in the gaming industry and a hoot to listen to! #TheGANG
  • Yogizilla – People say I’m like Man Vs. Game but more engaging and better at the newb/scrub plays. I’ve also been told I am one of the friendliest, most authentic streamers around.. That means A LOT to me! #TheGANG #ThePodFather

SHOUT-OUTS to some more of my favorite streamers out there and the folks who have supported GeekyAntics wholeheartedly. The people that care about other people and do things the right way. Mnalicious, Linkwall, Cupcakeeenvy, xelyz, cannibalqueen2107, Yantzi, Maquannas, Poopybuttz, Obezianka, ShannaNina, and everyone else I can’t fit in one blog post (for the sake of brevity). Keep on keeping on – you guys ROCK! Tons of love for the collaborative souls out there!

With the impending doom that’s sure to come with the inevitable Google (or other mega-corporation) acquisition of Twitch, a lot of us in the GeekyAntics and AllGames communities are looking to step up our game on Twitch or at least keep our options open. After all, if we can cement ourselves as Twitch partners (certainly not the best or only growth path) and featured channels, why NOT do it on the “ground level”?  Unfortunately, Twitch streamers, like many social media enthusiasts, are looking for the magic bullet.

The magic bullet does not exist.

DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions based upon my experience as a NISM-certified social media strategist (I sit on their board of advisors too) and personal observations. I do not pretend to have all the answers nor is this guide the end-all on your quest for social media success.. but it’s a darn good start! It’s also worth noting that I am not partnered on Twitch because it has not been the focus on my network BUT having the #1 Twitch marketing/growth article out there should lend some credibility. *smirk*

Sure, there are some shortcuts and tips but it all comes down to the basics. We’ll get into that but here’s what one streamer recommends after becoming a Twitch partner in about a month’s time (this is very rare, by the way):

This is solid advice. Obezianka, like many of us in #TheGANG, really believes in the value of authenticity and engagement. Sadly, there is more to this puzzle than what is mentioned here because tons of people have high production value and consistency, yet they struggle to break 100 concurrent viewers; heck, some days 10 viewers is a blessing, amirite?

Even worse, people only see value in followers and views but there’s more to success than that.  Heck, there are tons of unremarkable channels that hit high numbers consistently yet have nothing special to offer.  It all comes down to this: What is success to YOU?  What REALLY drives you?

Let’s dig deep here. We’ll go through the best practices and the tried-and-true strategies we have uncovered from analyzing top streamers and first-hand experiences alike. Let’s do this!

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