Giveaways, once you get into the swing of things, probably take 2 hours total work, including daily tweets, and sometimes you can even win something really expensive from them! If you're not interested in trying this out for yourself, you probably won't be interested in the rest of this post. If you are interested, I'm going to hand out my secret recipe for success, and even some good links to get you started.
First Thing's First
You need to get a few things done before you can breeze through giveaways. When I describe this step to friends, I call it the 'initial investment,' because that's how I see it. It's going to take a little while to get stuff set up right, but when you do it'll make you almost literally breeze through giveaways. It is well worth the effort! Set up all accounts under one very unique name. When I say very unique, I mean something that you're 99.99999% sure that someone else hasn't thought up, or hasn't used. Brad_Pitt_Fan_2011 is a good example of what you don't want to do. I'd post mine, but I'm pretty private, and don't want the stalkers (as much as I love you). An example of a good name idea would be 'SuperDuperMiniMom' though I would suggest something a little shorter, I'm pretty sure nobody has picked that name before.
- Once you've picked your unique screen name, you make a gmail account with that name. I say gmail, because it's going to kill two birds with one stone later. You'll have to verify gmail with your cell phone now, though, so it'll be a bit of a pain at first.
- Make a twitter account. You don't need to know anything about twitter, just make an account with your unique screen name.
- Make another facebook account using your new email with your real first and last name. This is so that you can do things for giveaways without spamming your friends. If you want to spam them, that's ok too, but you might get some complaints.
- Go to http://www.blogger.com and log in with your gmail account. Set up a blog, but don't spend too much time on it (unless you want to). I only use my giveaway blog for giveaway purposes.
- Download another browser. If you're using Internet Explorer: download firefox or google chrome. If you're using Firefox: download google chrome, if you're using google chrome: download firefox. I know it's a pain, but it comes in handy, if you like to keep your facebook up all the time. If you don't, you can skip this step, but it'll make giveaways a little slower for you.
- Download Mozilla Thunderbird. if you have outlook, that's fine too. This step isn't crucial, but it makes you much more efficient, and helps you stay in the know about new giveaways and enter them faster than other people, which is awesome.
For this, I'm going to use a REAL giveaway, so you'll wanna pull this link up in another tab. If you don't know how to do that, right click and click the option that says to pull it up in another tab. Here's the link: http://sweeps4bloggers.com/?p=20532
Here's the first thing you should notice about this giveaway: it's not for a small prize. If you're going to spend a good amount of time on a giveaway, you should try to make it worth the time. Ask yourself how much you want it, then ask yourself if it's worth the amount of time you put into the contest. My personal rule: If the prize is worth 25 dollars or more, I'll enter. If there are multiple prizes in the prize pack, I'll enter, unless it's for 4 candy bars (waste of my time). If there are multiple winners, I'll consider it. If it's useful or something that I just really want to try, I'll consider it. That's just my personal preference, though, other people have other standards.
- Mandatory Entry: Most giveaways have a mandatory entry, and it can be just about anything. Before you enter a contest, check the mandatory entry and see if it's something you can do. ALWAYS post the mandatory entry before any other, or the blogger might get confused and delete your comments. NEVER post other entries if you haven't done the mandatory entry. This blogger always only requires you to say something nice.
- Like ________ on Facebook: A lot of bloggers use giveaways to promote the facebooks of their blog or the sponsor or BOTH. You have your other facebook open on your other window, so you can do these entries quickly. ALWAYS post your facebook name with the post, even if they don't explicitly ask for it. These bloggers like to verify, so there's no cheating. If you click the words 'posted ____ seconds/minutes/hours ago,' you can get a link at the top of your browser to give to the blogger with your comment. This blogger wants you to like her facebook and the sponsor's facebook.
- Subscribe to ________ by email: This is the thing that will allow you to know about all the coolest giveaways first. Always use your new email, and always provide an email address so the blogger can confirm that you did it. This blogger wants you to subscribe to her email.
- Subscribe to ________ by reader: This is something I never do. I don't understand it, and for that I am sorry : ( If you can figure it out, though, you're one step ahead of me with entries!
- Follow _______ on Twitter: A lot of bloggers will ask you to follow them, and sometimes their sponsors, on twitter. They almost always provide links, and when they don't, they provide a twitter name that you can type into the top bar on twitter. You can open these pages without closing the giveaway page by right clicking and clicking the option to open it in another tab. Always tell the blogger your twitter name to verify. This blogger wants you to follow herself and the sponsor (Softlips) on twitter.
- Tweets: This is the fun part. Some bloggers allow you to tweet once a day, some allow you to tweet just once, others allow once an hour! Read these instructions carefully in every giveaway you enter. Some bloggers allow you to click a tweet button on their blog, and others just tell you to tweet about it and leave it to your choice. To get a link for a tweet, you click where it says 'posted ______ seconds/minutes/hours/days ago' and you'll get the link at the top of your browser. This blogger lets you write your own tweets. When I encounter this, I use a form tweet that goes like this: '(blogger twitter:@valerie2350) is hosting a #giveaway for (sponsor twitter or product name:@softlips)! Ends (end date), enter today! (shortened link)'
- Post on your blog: This is where that blogger comes in handy. All you need to do is write a big post with the new giveaways you're entered in, with direct links to the giveaways, and you can claim this. However, this is something I do only when I'm very very bored. Always provide the blogger with the link to your post. This blogger allows 5 entries for this, but other bloggers give as little as one. Always read carefully.
- Check out ______ website and do ______: This is usually the mandatory entry, but in some cases it's an extra entry. Read what it says to do very carefully, or the blogger might delete your comment. This blogger asks you to go to her giveaway linky site and quote back something on it or add something.
- Enter another giveaway: Most blogs will allow you just one extra entry for entering another one of their giveaways. Always look for that extra entry. This blogger both asks you to enter a specific giveaway and any other giveaway. This is actually more than most bloggers allow.
- Follow via GFC: GFC is short for Google Friend Connect. The thing you're looking for here is a box with lots of pictures in it either on the right or left side of a blog. It has the google logo on it and a button that says either 'Follow' or 'Join this Site,' but it will be obvious once you find it. I'm not sure what it does, but I know it's safe and fast. Don't forget to tell the blogger your GFC name in the post. This blogger does not require GFC entries, but most bloggers do.
As I said before, always read the instructions carefully. Some bloggers are very very specific about how they want something done, and if you do it wrong it could, in some cases, negate all the rest of the work you did! Be as transparent as possible when you do these things, and make sure there is proof of everything or some way the blogger can verify.
I find it very useful to find a way to organize giveaways in a way that you can come back to and check daily. It's kind of like a 'to do' list, without the pressure. I use microsoft word and make two different documents. The first is called 'giveaways,' in which I keep log of what giveaways I'm entered in and what prizes are on their way to me. The second I call 'to enter,' and it makes entering giveaways that much easier, because I can put it off until I have enough time to do them. I have a very specific way that I put these documents together, and you don't have to steal it, but I would suggest that you borrow a couple of concepts. Here, I'll outline my daily giveaway routine, so you can get an idea of how helpful being organized is.
I list the giveaways in order of the date they end, so that every morning I can delete the ones that have ended the day before, and I know my chances of winning one of the prizes. If there's more than 3, chances are good I've won something that day. I also don't list giveaways that don't require daily tweets, because it takes up space and makes me feel like there's too much giveaway stuff to do. I set up my 'to enter' document in order of date, too, so that I know which ones I need to enter soon and which I can put off. Of course, the more you put a giveaway off, the less entries you'll get if it allows daily tweets, so I try not to put them off too much if I really want the prize.
Each giveaway in my document is set up like this:
Link (Date it ends in numbers to save space) (The amount of tweets left for that day '0/1 tweets left' if it's more than 1, I put it in bold so it's obvious when I skim through the document later) (Whatever the tweet is so I can copy/paste it to twitter, with a space at the end for easy copying )
When I start with my giveaway tweets, I start at the end and copy/paste each tweet into twitter one by one. This sounds tedious, but i don't find it to be that way at all. It's definitely faster that way. After I've tweeted all the tweets, I go through the document and take away one from each (?/? tweets left), so I can keep track of what I've done for the day. The reason I don't always leave it one lower is because sometimes sites go down or blogger messes up, and it's important to know what I still need to tweet, so I can check later if it's available.
I open up about 10 tabs at a time from the giveaway document, starting from the top, and on each blog I scroll down to the comment form or where it says 'Post a Comment.' Then I go through my tweets on my twitter profile and right click on the seconds (where you would click to get the link) and click 'copy link address,' or something similar. This allows me to have the correct link without having to spend the time going between pages and catching up to where I need to be on my twitter profile.
The way I write my tweets is: 'Daily tweet (two enters) link (two enters) my email address'
I think I've covered almost everything. Anything I haven't covered, feel free to ask me here. I'm going to post links to where you can find some awesome giveaways pretty much daily. Feel free to try your hand at them!
That's all I have to teach right now. Tomorrow I am taking a long train trip, and I'm not even packed yet, so I better get rolling. Good luck!