Lots of people have deserted Facebook and turned to Twitter to get their comping fix - although the prizes are usually small, the chances of winning are better. Twitter is a fast paced, exciting way for a promoter to give away prizes and increase brand awareness, although the lack of rules and proper closing dates can often result in confusion. Like Facebook, Twitter has Contest Guidelines which are not enforced and are rarely adhered to by promoters! I've uploaded a ten minute video introduction to Twitter comping which you can watch on my YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/TwitterComps, and here I answer some of your questions about Tweeting.
Which type of competitions should I start with? There seems loads of them out there but it's hard to know which ones you should go for.
The 'RT & Follow' competitions are the easiest to enter, but of course that means they get the most entries! Try a Search on 'RT FOLLOW WIN' to find them. If you keep an eye out for the Twitter comps that need you to reply with a unique answer or a photo, they won't get as many entries. Also go for the ones with lots of prizes or a short entry period to start with - you'll have a better chance of winning! We do have a Twitter competition section here at www.theprizefinder.com, but a lot of Twitter comps are short-lived so it's best to dive in and find them yourself.
What do all the blue bits on Twitter mean?
On the Twitter website, the blue bits represent clickable links - it might be a username, a web link or a hashtag. Hover over the Tweet and you'll see more clickable buttons appear - Reply, Retweet, Favorite or Open, which shows you more details of the Tweet.
I always enter once but see others RTing many times. Often, I can't find any T&Cs so err on the side of caution. Any thoughts?
If you're not sure, why not tweet the promoter to ask for a link to T&Cs or simply ask them outright 'Is it one tweet per person?'. Some promoters allow multiple tweeting, but to do this you will have to manually copy and paste your tweet text as Twitter only lets you send a Retweet once, as a spam prevention measure. Other promoters will only count one entry from you even if you've tweeted multiple times. If T&Cs state one tweet per person, then make sure that's all you send!
All my Tweets are competition Retweets - are my entries filtered out of Twitter search?
Twitter does tend to filter out Tweets from accounts that might be spam - so if you're ONLY retweeting or tweeting links, and have no normal tweets or interactions with other users, Twitter might consider your account to be spam and you may not appear in search results. Every so often, post an update or a reply to a friend of promoter so it's not all competitions!
What is Twitter jail?
There's a limit to the amount of Tweets you can send - 100 an hour, or 1000 in a 24 hour period. If you're put in Twitter jail you can't tweet for a certain amount of time - usually between 1-3 hours. Companies that ask you to retweet a message or hashtag are risking their fans getting put in 'jail' and Twitter advises against this type of competition - their guidelines say promoters should “discourage posting the same Tweet repeatedly”.
Can you retweet from someone else's tweet, if the name of the company is at the top, and it says 'retweeted by' underneath?
Yes, if you see 'Retweeted by….' then your retweet will appear in your timeline as if you retweeted it directly from the promoter.
For a Retweet competition, should I copy and paste the text into a new tweet, adding 'RT' and the promoter name, or simply click the Retweet button?
The problem is, we don't know how promoters choose their winners. If they only look at their '@' replies, then they will only see copied & pasted Tweets. If they choose a winner from their emailed Retweet notifications, they will only see entrants that clicked the 'Retweet' button. If they look at their 'Interactions' they will see both types! Some compers actually send two tweets, one by each method - but that could be risky if the T&Cs state one entry per person. If there are no restrictions on entries, using the copy & paste method means you can retweet multiple times – whereas Twitter only allows you to retweet once using the Retweet button. Don't copy and paste from another comper's timeline - always click through to the original Tweet on the promoter's page, as it can be easy to accidentally include a comper's username in a copied & pasted tweet (and they won't like that!).
How do you know if you have won if the promoter does not @name you?
The promoter can also send you a Direct Message - for this to happen you will need to be following each other (if you've entered their comp then you probably clicked Follow at the time). Often a clue that you've won a prize is because you get a notification to say "@examplepromoter is now following you" - it means they're usually about to send you a DM.
Where do I find the T&Cs for a Twitter comp?
More companies are starting to realise that EVERY competition, regardless of the platform it's hosted on, needs Terms and Conditions. With Twitter, most big brands will post up the rules on a Facebook Notes page or an external website, and add a link to their competition tweet. With smaller companies you may need to Tweet them and ask them to clarify the rules. Always check for T&Cs before entering a competition; it may have closed, or not even be open to UK residents.
How does the promoter choose a winner for a random prize draw?
This is the big question, and the truth is that we don't know. There are several ways a promoter can choose a winner – here are a few:
- Randomly choose from @ replies
- Search on a hashtag or the Tweet text (ideally using a website like twdocs.com, downloading a file with all the mentions)
- Use a free service such as Twitterdraw - however it's not possible to view a list of entries so we don't know if this collects ALL entries.
- Use a paid-for service such as Tweetreach
- Choose a winner at random from the Interactions page or Retweeters list (this method is likely to be influenced by the avatars!)
- Choose a winner from emailed Retweet notifications
- 'Favorite' each entry as it arrives and draw from the Favorites.
This is the main reason people get frustrated with Twitter competitions. Promoters rarely have a link to T&Cs and never explain how they pick their winners. It's presumed that if you tweet multiple times you have a better chance of winning, as with some of these methods there's no way of excluding all the duplicate entries.
How do applications like Tweetdeck help you when comping on Twitter?
Tweetdeck is a free App that you can download for use on your PC, laptop, Tablet or Smartphone. It uses an organised scrolling column format so you can see everything at one, rather than clicking various tabs and menus like you would in a browser window. The default columns are a Timeline of everyone you follow, your @ replies plus your Direct Messages. You can then create extra columns - for example a column that is searching on a competition hashtag (so you can see everyone else's entries) or one that's a Search for 'RT Follow Win'. If you click a username within Tweetdeck, it opens up a new column on the right showing that person's Tweets. From my point of view, Tweetdeck is great because I tweet from multiple accounts as @superluckydi, @theprizefinder and @compersnews and it means I can track everything in once place without any logging in or out. If I wanted to, I could send the same Tweet from several accounts at once – this is a sore point, as some Twitter compers have picked up on people cheating and using multiple accounts to enter a competition via Tweetdeck!
Check out my video for more tips - happy Tweeting!