Comping on Twitter

Comping on Twitter is becoming more popular – it’s 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 guidelines on running contests which are not enforced and are rarely adhered to by promoters! 

In an ideal world, all promoters would ask us to answer a question or complete a tiebreaker answer as a Twitter competition entry, encouraging brand loyalty and interaction, but usually all they want us to do is click a ‘Retweet’ button. Twitter comping isn’t for everyone – if you’re at a computer all day then it can be rewarding, but it’s tricky to just dip in and out of it as it’s so fast-moving!

If you’re interested in comping on Twitter, this short video should be a helpful introduction. I’ll also run through the basics below.

To sign up to Twitter, go to www.twitter.com and complete your name, email address and choose a password. Twitter will assign you a username automatically. Change it to anything you want – something non-memorable might actually help your cause as promoters can easily forget if you’ve won with them before!

Next, find some people to follow. You can follow me at www.twitter.com/superluckydi and www.twitter.com/theprizefinder. Jane Willis at www.twitter.com/janesgrapevine has lots of Twitter advice and tips too – she also has lots of great blog posts about Twitter that you can read here.

Get yourself a profile picture. New Twitter members are automatically given the Twitter ‘egg’ as their profile picture, but it’s better to upload one of your own photos. Promoters might see an ‘Egg’ and presume it’s a spammer or even a fake account. Click on Profile, then ‘Add photo’ and choose one from your computer. Add a small biography too – it helps if your profile looks as friendly as possible.

Do a Twitter search to find some retweet competitions. Most competition tweets will ask you to ‘RT and Follow to win’, so search for ‘RT Win Follow’ and then scroll through the results to find competitions that interest you. You can also search for ‘win competition’ if you want results that aren’t all retweet competitions – you’ll find links to competitions on websites and Facebook this way.

For the tweets in your search results, click on the promoters’ names and look on their timeline to check that the comp is still running. Find the competition tweet (sometimes there are several different ones!) and then hover over the tweet until the Retweet button appears. Click it and confirm to send your retweet. You’re now entered into the draw!

In your Timeline you will see your own tweets, tweets from people you follow and retweets from the people you follow.

To send your own original tweet, simply type into the top box and press ENTER.

To reply to a tweet, hover over it in your timeline, then click Reply and type in your text after the recipient’s name. A reply will only appear in the timeline of people who are following both you AND the recipient on twitter – but it WILL be visible to visitors on your own Twitter webpage.

Not all competitions are Retweet competitions. Often you will be required to reply rather than retweet, and sometimes you will need to answer a question or tiebreaker. Remember there’s a 140 character limit so you will need to be concise. Promoters might often ask you to include a ‘hashtag’ such as ‘#WinHamper’ in your tweet. When it comes to choosing the winner, they will do a search on that ‘hashtag’ to see all the entries; it’s more reliable than searching for retweets.

If you’ve won a competition, promoters will contact you either by sending a public ‘@’ mention, which will appear in your ‘@’ Mentions tab, or by a Direct/Private Message. To access these, click the ‘Messages’ tab at the top of the page. A Direct Message (DM) is completely private – often a promoter will refer to you as their winner in an ‘@’ mention, asking you to send them your address details by DM – for example ‘Congratulations @SuperluckyDi, you’re our Twitter RT winner. Please DM your address details.’ You will only be able to Direct Message someone who you are following and who is following you back!

If you’re not using Twitter regularly, go to your Settings, and in the Notifications ensure you have opted to receive an email if someone mentions you or DMs you, so you don’t miss out on a winning notification.

Comping on Twitter: Tips for Success

Once you’ve got the hang of Retweeting, check out my video on Twitter tips.

The best introduction to comping on Twitter is to check the timelines of successful winners. You’ll see that the ones who win the most prizes are chatting and interacting with friends as well as retweeting competitions regularly.

Very few Twitter competitions have proper rules, those that do will often state ‘one entry per person’ but many promoters don’t actually have the means to check this. Many successful Twitter compers are retweeting competition entries multiple times – even though this is discouraged in Twitter contest guidelines.

Tweeting an entry multiple times. Twitter won’t actually let you use the Retweet button more than once on a specific tweet; a way round this is to copy and paste the tweet, manually adding RT @promotersname at the beginning. With the 140 character restriction, you may need to edit the text to fit. Ensure you don’t remove a hashtag, URL or anything that the promoter might search on to find entries. Please be aware that repeat or similar tweets may be considered ‘spamming’ and your followers might get annoyed and desert you – the best thing to do is to make sure you’re sending lots of normal, chatty tweets too!

How do promoters choose a winner? Unfortunately there is no free, fair method of choosing a winner for a Twitter competition – Twitter searches can exclude some tweets, and will only show the most recent entries. Twitter search tends to filter out ‘poor quality’ accounts where most or all of the tweets are retweets – that’s why you should include original tweets too. When choosing a winner, promoters only see the most recent tweets so try to make your entry in the last few hours of a promotion or the final day of a longer promotion.

It’s presumed that rather than pay to use a service such as Rowfeeder or Offerpop to monitor a contest and choose a winner, most promoters will simply do a search and pick their winner from a list of retweets, without realising that there can be multiple entries from the same person or that some tweets don’t even show up in the search results. With this in mind, your profile photo and name may have an influence on whether you’re picked. Promoters may also check your profile before awarding you the prize – they might not like to see a timeline that’s only competition entries! I win very few Twitter competitions and I think this is probably due to my comp-related username ‘SuperluckyDi’ – in fact, the only Twitter comps I seem to win are the ‘first 10 people to reply get a prize!’ type!

Use Lists to get organised. You might feel a bit overwhelmed by all the competition Retweets in your timeline, so you can use a List to organise compers instead of following them. To do this, click on the Lists tab on your homepage, then create a list. You can keep this private – in my case I’m making it public so that you can access it too at http://twitter.com/#!/SuperluckyDi/compers! An easy way to add to your list is to use the ‘RT Follow win’ search – this will display all the competition activity that’s happening right now! You can Save this Search too, as it’s a useful one.

Twitter is also a useful tool to find other competitions. If a promoter is launching a new competition on their blog, website or Facebook page often the first thing they do is Tweet about it – so doing a search on ‘new competition’ or ‘Facebook competition’ is handy too.

My final piece of advice is to download a free copy of Tweetdeck to your computer and smartphone – it is a great tool for seeing all your Twitter activity at once, and offers the capability to schedule tweets – so you can send tweets when you’re away from your computer. I’ll be adding a tutorial on using Tweetdeck for comping very soon!

Now – go tweet!


2 Responses

  1. SuperluckyDi says:

    Pinksy, I do believe the facility already exists to send retweets in batches every few hours until the closing date, as I’ve seen compers doing so. It is frowned upon, but if it’s not against the rules then it’s certainly not cheating in any way. Sending the same/similar tweets over and over again is like entering daily text comps (sooooo dull!) – and I’m desperate for an iPhone App to schedule those for me too!

  2. pinksy says:

    Awesome stuff Di! I had an idea a while back to automate the multiple retweets – I know it’s frowned upon, but if you’re going to do it manually, I just thought “why not set something up that would let you just schedule auto-retweets, say a couple of times a day, until the closing date”. Maybe if it retweeted a couple of times in the last hour of the closing date too, to increase your chance of being spotted. never got round to it though… one day maybe!

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