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10 tips to win more prizes on Twitter

by Di · Published 20/05/2017 · Updated 12/02/2020

I win more prizes on Twitter than by any other method – averaging a prize a week, in fact. But it’s not as easy as you think – some retweet giveaways get thousands of entries! So how can you increase your chances of winning a Twitter competition? Here are my top tips…

1. Don’t just retweet, retweet, retweet…

Retweet comps are easy to enter, which makes them incredibly hard to win. They also turn your profile page into a spammy list of adverts, and could end up with you getting filtered from Twitter search results. Instead, spend more time entering comps where the promoter asks for a reply, photograph or a comment. Send original tweets, reply to people you follow and most of all, enjoy tweeting. If you do enter retweet giveaways, enter as late as you can to ensure your entry is seen!

2. Reply to promoters

Interact with promoters by replying to their tweets – even if it’s not a requirement of entry. Make your tweets memorable. Add photos, GIFs, be funny, say something about their amazing products – try tagging a Twitter friend too. ‘Great giveaway!’ will make them yawn. It’s hard to track all entries and choose a random winner for a retweet giveaway and some promoters will choose from replies instead. Note that if you choose to Retweet with comment, it won’t count as a retweet and won’t pop up on the promoter’s Mentions tab unless you @ tag them – find out why in Are you entering Retweet Competitions correctly?

3. Use a short username

Short, simple usernames are memorable, less likely to be misspelt by a promoter, and quick to type – and you’ll type it more than you realise, especially if you do Rafflecopter giveaways. Avoid numbers and underscores. Try not to let your username give away your age or your comping hobby – some promoters will be looking for winners of a certain age (usually those lucky twenty-somethings!) or dislike compers. Got a crap username? It’s easy to change it – the difficulty is finding one that’s not taken yet! To change it, simply log in, go to your Account Settings and type a new one in. Changing your username will not affect your followers, messages, and replies – you just need to let your followers know you’ve changed names, and search on your old name for a few weeks in case you’ve won a prize.

4. Tart up your profile page

A promoter might pop to your profile before deciding if you’re a winner – so make sure it looks good. Upload a profile photo (the default ‘egg’ rarely wins) and ideally a cover photo – if you’re not camera shy, use a photo of yourself. Add an entertaining bio and pin a fun non-comping tweet to the top of your profile – tap the three dots under an existing tweet to do this.

5. Follow local companies

Find and follow all your favourite local bars, restaurants, shopping centres, theatres, magazines, radio stations and cinemas on Twitter – most of them will do regular giveaways, and local Twitter comps get very few entries! The benefit of following smaller, local businesses is that they usually follow you back – and the more followers you have, the less likely you are to be filtered by Twitter. Add the companies to a Twitter list too. Tweet using your hometown hashtag and you’ll get new followers that way too!

6. Use Twitter search to find competitions

Don’t just look at your news feed and Twitter lists for comps. Use Twitter advanced search at www.twitter.com/search-advanced. Specify hashtags, dates, tweet types, or even restrict your search near a certain location. You can search for all sorts – try combining words like win, competition, prize, then add Instagram, reply, Facebook, blog depending on the type of comp you’re after – try your wish list prizes and your local town too. When you get your results, make sure to select Latest to see all recent tweets – enter right away, or Like the ones to check out later on. Happy with the results? Save by clicking More Options > Save Search and you can choose it as an option any time you start typing in the Twitter search box.

7. Ditch the notifications

If you use a phone to tweet, turn off distracting notifications – it really doesn’t matter who’s retweeted you! Go to Settings (the cog on your profile), then Notifications and turn off retweets and likes. The only notifications worth getting are messages – but I opt to turn off Mobile Notifications entirely in my iPhone settings and check the app regularly instead. If you lose the notifications, you’ll have less distractions and be able to concentrate on the comps!

8. Download TweetDeck

Tweetdeck is amazing – but you can only use it on a computer, not on a mobile device. It shows you a set of scrolling columns, which can be your feed, mentions, messages, a Twitter list, a search, or a user. At the top of each column you can filter the content, even specifying a location or date range. It’s really useful for following a hashtag – for example, if you’re at a Twitter party, or for finding competitions that aren’t hosted on Twitter (try the words Facebook, Instagram, Blog, Pinterest in your search columns).

9. Track hashtags

A hashtag is a topic that you can follow on Twitter by clicking it – #RedNoseDay, #BlueMonday, #WorldBookDay, #Halloween etc. Searching for a relevant hashtag along with the word win or competition should give a selection of results. Twitter parties have unique hashtags – tweet with the hashtag during the party (they generally last an hour, so entry numbers are low) and you can win prizes. TopCashback, Britmums and UKMumsTV host regular parties in the UK – do a regular search on ‘win Twitter party’ to find out when the next one is, or subscribe to my Google Comping Calendar at http://bit.ly/CompingCalendar. Never been to one? Read my Twitter party tips. Another way to find competitions is to follow other compers and click on the hashtags they tweet!

10. Save fun photos on your phone

Lots of my own Twitter wins involve tweeting a photo, so I have folders saved on my iPhone with competition photos and fun selfies in – so if I spot a comp while I’m at the bus stop, I can enter there and then. For Halloween, Mothers Day and Christmas you can guess exactly what promoters will be asking for, so set up folders of pumpkins, mum selfies and Christmas jumper photos. If you don’t win, you can always go back and delete your tweet – then use the photo again for another competition!

Finally, make sure you log in to Twitter as often as you can, because it’s fast moving and some giveaways don’t hang around for long!

Did you enjoy these tips? You might enjoy these too:

And of course, you could buy my SuperLucky Secrets book for lots more tips!

Tips to help you win more competitions and prizes on Twitter

Lucky twitter

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.

Lucky twitter It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times. I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal ]]>