• Sweepstakes are prize giveaways where the winners are chosen by luck and chance.
  • Legitimate promotions can never have consideration. What does this mean? It means that you will never have to pay to enter a legitimate sweepstakes. Also purchasing a product will not improve your odds.
  • The winner is not chosen by skill
  • The United States has strict, specific laws that ban private lotteries. Different states have different rules for sweepstakes.
  • A sweepstake must make certain that at least one of three major lottery elements is missing: winners that are chosen by chance, prizes, or payment for a prize
  • Non-monetary social media involvement could be Facebook likes, Pinterest pins and re-pins, tweets, Instagram shares, commenting, etc.


  • A giveaway is where something is given away for free
  • Companies use giveaways to promote their products and services and get word of mouth going. See Susan Friedman’s 10 Tips to Use Giveaways Effectively
  • A giveaway could either be a sweepstakes or a contest depending on how you set it up


  • Unlike Sweepstakes and Giveaways, contests draw a winner based on merit, talent, or skill
  • Depending on the contest, it could either be who submits the best essay, photo entry, video, recipe etc. that will win the contest
  • Contests are usually more fun and creative
  • Contests offer a way for participants to express themselves in unique ways
  • They allow the company or brand to engage with current or potential fan base more
  • Contests can legally charge a fee to enter the contest
  • For contests there needs to be a clear set of rules and regulations