Everything You Need to Know to Run a Successful Facebook Contest

If you’ve ever been to Costco around lunchtime, you know that there’s nothing people love more than free stuff. As a social media marketer, you dream of these types of crowds swarming your brand as if it’s an artisanal cocktail weenie, but don’t know where to start. How can you use social media to give away incentives and attract more customers? The answer is with contests—and Facebook contests are a great place to start.

With over 1.09 billion daily active users on Facebook, there’s a huge pool from which to attract new customers and engage current ones with a Facebook contest. These promotion campaigns are also a great way to gather data from participants (which you can turn into leads), and build brand awareness and loyalty.

If you have a contest idea, chances are that there is a Facebook community out there who will jump on it—it’s just a matter of finding the right fit for your brand and target audience. We’ll help you do that by taking you through the Facebook contest rules before offering ideas, examples, and best practices for running a successful campaign.

Facebook contest rules

To make sure your contest stays lawful and doesn’t get shut down, you must follow the official contest rules outlined on the Facebook Page Terms (look for “Promotions” under the Page Management section). According to the the terms, all contests, promotions, and sweepstakes must:

  • Clearly state who is eligible to enter (are there age or residency restrictions?)
  • Comply with any regional, state, national, or international contest laws
  • Acknowledge that the promotion is in no way associated with Facebook

The official rules also make it clear that personal Timelines and friend connections cannot be used run a contest (e.g.: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not allowed).

Make sure you read and fully understand the official Facebook contest rules before launching your own campaign.

Facebook contest ideas

Now that you are clear on the rules, the fun begins: coming up with an engaging campaign. If you’re not sure where to start, you can try some of the most tried-and-true contest types.

Like or comment to win

“Like to Win,” “Comment to Win,” and “Like and Comment to Win,” are among the easiest contests to pull off and illicit fan participation. Photos, videos, links, or even a simple status post can be used to run these promotions. All you need to is set the rules, let your audience know what the prize is, and post your content with your ask.

Photo caption contest

If you have a compelling photo that would support your business’ Facebook goals (building brand awareness, for example), then a caption contest is another simple and effective option. And once the entries are in, you can pick the winner(s) yourself, or stipulate that whichever entry gets the most Likes wins.

Skill-testing question

If your business has an educational component to it—an aquarium or museum, perhaps—it might make sense for you to ask your audience to answer a relevant, skill-testing question. This kind of contest can serve to build awareness for your brand and cause.

Crowdsourcing contest

A crowdsourcing contest can at once help you to build brand awareness and produce a piece of content. For this kind of campaign you can ask your audience to submit name ideas for a new product or service, or help create a new logo or other design asset.

Facebook contest examples

Trying out Facebook contests in an effort to build their e-newsletter database, the team at Dazeinfo (an India-based business content website) saw a 400 percent boost in subscriptions after running a successful contest.

To further prove that Facebook contests can get you the results you want, Wishpond has a list of 10 contests that saw extremely positive outcomes, including:

  • Qwertee, a limited-edition T-shirt maker, ran a contest where entrants had to Like their page and submit their email addresses for a chance to win a T-shirt. Their goal was to get 100,000 Facebook likes through the contest, which they achieved (and now have a fanbase of over 297,000).
  • Diamond Candles ran weekly sweepstakes asking people to Like their page and enter their emails. In under six weeks, they gained over 30,000 new Facebook fans and saw Facebook Pages popping up from fans as well as user-generated videos showcasing the prizes.
  • London Drugs ran a weekly, targeted sweepstakes where entrants had to Like their page and enter an email address. With this, they saw a 600 percent increase in Likes, and Facebook became their No. 1 source of website traffic referral.

As those examples show, a Facebook contest can be very powerful indeed. Ready to get started on your own campaign?

Facebook contest tips and best practices

1. Set goals

What are you hoping to get out of this promotion? How will a contest help you drive business results? Think about these questions long and hard before diving into the campaign.

If you’re running a contest with no plan, chances are you won’t get the results you want. Objectives give you a way to measure success. Here are some examples of goals you could pick for your Facebook contest:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Increasing Facebook Likes
  • Generating leads
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Boosting engagement

The goals you pick will also decide what kind of contest you run. Besides the ones we highlighted earlier, there are:

  • Trivia contests specific to your brand
  • Fill in the blank contests
  • Photo or video contests

With these contest types in mind, you need to think about how you’re going to get the most participants for your contest.

2. Keep things simple and make it easy to participate

I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone to enter an online contest, only to reach page 5 of the entry process where they ask you to fill out a lengthy form and give up loads of personal information. Don’t do this. Offer value to the participants and value their time.

Create simple, easy to follow rules and ensure that they are visible on your Facebook page. Limit the effort on the part of your participants to encourage more entrants. Think about the roadblocks that would stop you from entering a contest, and keep these in mind when building your campaign.

The above-mentioned company, Dazeinfo, kept things simple with their trivia Facebook contest by:

  1. Posting 10 questions that tested participants on their knowledge of the technology industry in India. Participants were then sent to the Dazeinfo website for 30 seconds to find answers to the trivia questions.
  2. Participants who answered all the questions correctly were rewarded with a prize.

Easy as that! In making the entry process as easy as possible, while still being highly engaging, the Dazeinfo team saw great success with their Facebook contest. This clever tactic also got participants to take a look at the Dazeinfo website, and at the end of the contest participants were given the option to sign up for the e-newsletter.   

3. Pick a prize that resonates with your audience

I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone to enter an online contest, only to reach page 5 of the entry process where they ask for your firstborn and have to give up. Don’t do this to your participants! When people are taking the time out of their busy days to engage with your content, regardless of whether you’re offering something of value to them or not, and you need to honor that.

Create simple, easy to follow rules and ensure that they are visible on your Facebook page. Limit the effort on the part of your participants in order to encourage higher numbers of entries. Think about the roadblocks that would stop you from entering a contest, and keep these in mind when building your campaign.

The above-mentioned company, Dazeinfo, kept things simple with their trivia Facebook contest by:

  1. Posting 10 questions that tested participants on their knowledge of the technology industry in India. Participants were then sent to the Dazeinfo website for 30 seconds to find answers to the trivia questions.
  2. Participants who answered all the questions correctly were rewarded with a prize

Easy as that! In making the entry process as simple as possible, while still being engaging, the Dazeinfo team saw great success.  

3. Choose a prize that your audience will want to win

Know your target audience and offer up a price that aligns with their interests. The buzz and engagement that a successful contest will generate will more than pay for the cost of any prize. If you need some inspiration, this social media contest infographic from Hubspot, shows that the average value of a contest prize is $369, with the top prize categories being:

  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Music
  • Technology
  • Fashion

Recognizing the importance of giving away relevant prizes, technology content website Dazeinfo gave away vouchers to a popular online store which sells electronics, technology gadgets, and more. Find out the most desired objects amongst your audience and cater to these wishes.

4. Leverage all your social channels to promote your contest

Cross channel promotion is an important ingredient in your contest recipe as it will give you a broader audience. You could use Twitter to give contest updates and drive would-be participants to Facebook. Or if you’re contest has a photo-sharing element, you can cross promote with Instagram.

But you want to ensure you strike the perfect balance between spamming your social media audience with contest promotion, and making sure that your audience knows about your contest. To help you master this grey area, it’s a great idea to schedule your social media content and messages so that you have an overall picture of how often, and on what channels, you are posting about your contest.

During their Facebook contest, Dazeinfo posted a contest update every 90 minutes on at least one of their social networks. Using Hootsuite, the team was able to pre-plan and schedule those updates to free up time for direct engagements with participants.

5. Ensure your contest is mobile-friendly

If you think about your daily internet and social media use, there’s a good chance that a big chunk of it takes place on your smartphone. The amount of time spent interacting with digital media on mobile (51 percent) surpassed the amount spent on desktop (42 percent) in the United States in 2015. Mobile use is growing 58 percent year over year, which emphasizes the need for your Facebook contest to work equally, if not better, on a vertical screen. Specifically, the number of mobile contest entries has grown by eight times since 2012.

Some ways to make sure your Facebook contest works for mobile include:

  • Testing your contest entry process across all mobile devices (iPhone, Android, Windows, tablets, etc.)
  • Keeping the entry form short and simple (as mobile users are usually on the go, rushed, or multi-tasking).
  • Don’t Like-gate (make a user Like your page before they can enter) as this adds an unnecessary and annoying step
  • Use an app like Contests for Facebook, which makes sure contests are uniform and optimized across devices

It’s also important to include a mobile-accessible link in any post you share around your Facebook contest. As Wishpond explains, “If you make posts that have links to the Facebook Page Tab where the contest is housed, mobile users will be taken to a “404 Page Not Found” screen because Facebook does not allow you to access Page Tabs on mobile.” Think about the factors that make mobile experiences enjoyable, and apply these to your own Facebook contest to get the results you want.

6. Measure your Facebook contest performance

When your contest has wrapped up and the prize has been sent to the lucky winner, you’ll want to reflect on how your Facebook contest went.

Remember those goals you set in step one? Compare and measure the performance of your contest to check on how well (or not) you achieved them.

As the engagement potential is so high, running a Facebook contest shouldn’t just be a one-time thing. Take a look at your Facebook contest strategy and fine-tune your tactics. To help you do this, here are some questions you should ask yourself at the end of a contest:

  • Did I choose the right type of contest?
  • Did I give my contest enough time?
  • Did I target the right audience?
  • Did the giveaway provide enough incentive?
  • Did I define a clear set of rules? Were they easy to follow?
  • What was the biggest obstacle I faced in running the contest?

If it was your first time running a contest, set new goals or performance targets for your next one and see how these stack up. You’ll quickly find your stride and discover what your audience responds to the most, and what works best for your brand.

Learn how Dazeinfo increased their email newsletter subscriptions by 400 percent using Facebook contests. 

Read the Case Study

The post Everything You Need to Know to Run a Successful Facebook Contest appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

from Hootsuite Social Media Management https://blog.hootsuite.com/6-facebook-contest-best-practices-for-businesses/

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Author: Dewey D. Guinn

Internet marketing for small businesses is not a job for the faint hearted. It requires much effort as well as adapting to newer tips and tricks to keep everything on place. The constant need to be on the on the know is a must. Nevertheless the need to keep your tools sharp, ready and be able to adapt on the ever changing ways of the trade. Though hard as it may seem to be, the success that you acquire in the end is truly rewarding.

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