Recently, there have been several articles written about holding contents and giveaways on social media. Many have recommended that businesses take their giveaways and move them from social media to their personal website. While this seems like a good idea on its face, there are many reasons why social media should still be used as a platform to hold promotions. HotelPlanner.com has recently shown that it is possible to convert social media followers into website visitors.

When social media began as a platform to run contests, the purpose was to obtain new likes, visitors, and followers. Running a giveaway on Facebook usually entailed selecting a random winner from someone who liked the company page. When it comes down to it, all a company is gaining from this is a new follower at the cost of whatever prize is being given away. This is a poor way to take advantage of social media as it does not guarantee you any business. According to QualityLogoProducts.com, “contests where fans simply have to follow or like to win free swag from your brand are not going to cut it for much longer.”

If you are keeping up with the trend of social media giveaways, you see that there are fewer and fewer as many companies are taking the advice to move their promotions to their own website. This is a good idea as you are not just bringing people to your “sister site” (your social media platform), but actually bringing people to the landing page that you want on your own website (yes, you now have a better chance of converting the visitor). However, don’t be a fool and completely forget about your social media following.

“We have a following of more than 50,000 on our Facebook page and we treat them like they are our best customers,” says Tim Hentschel, CEO of HotelPlanner.com. “We like to keep promotions running through Facebook as even if someone is not a customer today, they could be tomorrow.” HotelPlanner was founded in 2002 and specializes in group travel. They have been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as one of the best hotel booking websites in the United States. The company also recently announced that they will be expanding globally with an office recently opened in London.

HotelPlanner caught my eye with their recent “Free Rooms Giveaway.” The promotion runs on their Facebook page, yet requires people to go to their website to win. Every day they publish a new code on their Facebook page. If the 2 digit code matches the last 2 digits of your zip code, you can then win $500 in free booking. In order to do so, you must be the first person from the zip code to go to the website and book your travel. If you are the first person, up to $500 of your booking is paid for by HotelPlanner.social media giveaways

“The giveaway is a way to keep our contests running on Facebook while still being able to engage customers on our website,” added Hentschel, and he is correct. One of the main reasons to keep contents running through your Facebook page is because people are used to seeing them. Contests keep people engaged on your Facebook page and can still potentially convert people to your website. Also, someone who wins will tell their friends, family, etc. that they won (people love to brag about winning) and your company will be mentioned in the conversation. This is word of mouth advertising at its best.

Although many social media giveaways will remain the common “like us for a prize” giveaway, these businesses are going to lose out in the future. The new trend is to convert your social media followers to your website without losing them as a follower. Simply pulling your giveaways and moving them to your website could cause more negative consequences than positive. Companies who are able to find a way to bring their followers to their website while still maintaining their social media presence will be the big winners in the near future of social media.