8 Dos and Don’ts for Running a Giveaway that Awards Bonus Entries for Actions

Learn the dos and don'ts of running a points for actions giveaway on social media to incentivize engagement and increase sales.

By Jane Vance ・3 min read
ShortStack Tips & Tricks

Ever since Facebook removed Like-gating back in 2014, social media marketers have been looking for ways to incentivize people for engaging with their social media pages. However, there isn’t a great way to reward people for this engagement. That’s why points for actions giveaways have recently become a popular type of contest for many brands.There are a number of dos and don’ts to keep in mind when running a giveaway that awards bonus entries for actions.

Don’t: Ask people to Like your Facebook Page or share a post in exchange for entries

Yes, marketers are looking for a way to incentivize Liking pages and sharing content, but this is against Facebook’s Platform Policy. According to Facebook:Don’t incentivize people to like a Page, or give the impression that liking a Page will be rewarded.AndDon't incentivize people to post content on Facebook, or give the impression that posting to Facebook will be rewarded.We’ve seen the Like buttons temporarily deactivated for people who don’t follow these rules, so don’t think about trying to pull a fast one on Facebook. Instead, ask people to visit your Facebook Page to receive bonus entries. Although you might not see a huge bump in Likes or engagement on your Page, those that are genuinely interested in your products and services will become fans.

Do: Consider where it’s most valuable to direct your contest entrants

Sending people to Facebook might not be the best strategy for everyone. It’s important to consider where you want to increase traffic and what types of actions lead to the most sales. For some businesses, sending customers to their Instagram Page is far more likely to lead to increased engagement down the road. For others, increasing traffic on their website is the ultimate goal.

Consider which actions are best suited for your company

Do: Limit the number of actions possible to gain entries

Prioritize these actions to align with your top goals instead of listing every possible action under the sun. Sure, you could award extra points for visiting your website, following your Twitter profile, visiting your Facebook Page, visiting your YouTube channel and following your Instagram account. However, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to offer all those options if you are only active on YouTube, and your goal is to send people to your website to increase sales. If this were the case, simply offer two options in exchange for extra entries: visiting your website and visiting your YouTube channel.

Don’t: Offer extra entries in exchange for watching or commenting on a YouTube video

Much like Facebook, YouTube has a number of rules on incentivizing engagement. YouTube considers incentivizing engagement to be fake engagement. According to their Fake Engagement Policy, “YouTube doesn’t allow anything that artificially increases the number of views, likes, comments, or other metric.” This means you can’t reward people by asking them to:

  • Watch a video;
  • Comment on a video;
  • Like a video; or
  • Subscribe to a YouTube channel.

Instead, you could ask people to visit your YouTube channel in exchange for a bonus entry.

Do: Restrict how many times someone can enter your contest

Oftentimes, to give participants more chances to win, marketers allow one entry every day. However, with a points for actions contest, the optional actions are already serving the purpose of awarding additional entries. This cuts down on giving a user more chances to win by simply repeating actions they already completed during their previous entries.

Restrict the amount of times a person can enter

Do: Promote specific products or sales on your website

Consider using your contest to promote your products and services. When you choose which actions you want completed, ask entrants to visit specific product pages on your website that are targeted toward people entering the contest. Likewise, offer special sales and promotions on your site or direct entrants to landing pages with specific coupon codes created for your contest. This can help drive sales and increase your ROI for your marketing campaign.

Don’t: Expect a huge uptick in new followers

Thinking of including an action where participants can follow your Instagram profile for extra entries? Great! Just don’t expect your Instagram followers to go through the roof. Instagram doesn’t provide a way to track who follows, so ShortStack rewards points when folks click the link to visit your profile. However, don’t let this stop you. The people who are truly interested in becoming followers will still click that Follow button, and creating a quality following is more valuable than just the number of followers.

Do: Consider linking folks to a specific Instagram post

Related to the Don’t above, if you want to increase the likelihood that your entrants will click your Instagram Follow button, consider directing them to a specific post. This gives visitors a better idea of what your profile is all about. Choose a post that reflects the most popular content that you share, and those who love it will be much more likely to follow.

ShortStack's Points for Actions templateView and Create Your OwnNow that you have learned some of the biggest dos and don’ts to running a successful points for actions giveaway, it’s time to put your new knowledge to good use! Get started with our Points for Actions template. It allows you to award extra entries for performing up to five optional actions. If you have any questions about points for action giveaways, shoot us an email at or set up a call.

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About the author

By Jane Vance ・3 min read

Jane has over a decade of martech experience, with an emphasis in content marketing, UX, and customer success. Her combined skillset and years of hands-on experience make her a valuable player in the industry. In her free time, Jane loves quiet family dinners at home and a good book.

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