How to run a winning Facebook contest

A recent study by Exact Target showed that the main reason people “Like” a business’s Facebook Page is to get special offers and promotions.

Facebook contests offer many benefits. They can increase Likes and fan engagement on your page; secure relevant and targeted fans; add to your e-mail list; increase traffic on your website; and more. Is it time you held a Facebook contest? Here are some tips:

1. Plan ahead
Running an online contest takes planning. What are your social media goals? Do you want more fans or more engagement? Are you running a contest or a sweepstakes? Who will fulfill the prizes? Be sure to have a detailed plan before beginning any promotion.

2. Consider your target demographics
Do you want to microtarget your fans or not? If you’re strictly B2B, how can you ensure that you get businesspeople rather than stay-at-home moms to enter? (Offering an iPad is great, but everyone wants one.) Think ahead and target only the entrants you want.

3. Follow Facebook’s rules
We see promotions daily that are being run in violation of Facebook’s terms. Be sure to read and understand the rules here before beginning any type of promotion. Note that votes and entries can’t be made on the wall without a third-party app like the one we made for our client Hotel Amarano.

4. Promote, promote, promote
Just holding a contest doesn’t mean that droves of people will enter. You need to promote your contest via advertising and online posting as your budget permits. Unless you plan to give away loads of cash, you need to continue to spread the word throughout the contest.

5. Make it easy to enter
Scavenger hunts, point-accruing games, essay contests and other multistep contests are too hard and turn people away. Make it easy to enter and even easier to win, and you’ll get more participants. Of course, collecting emails must be part of the process.

6. Reward participation
Keep in mind that people are taking the time from their busy lives to help promote your company. Respond to all questions and comments and continue to engage with your community. Thank each entrant and perhaps even give a token gift for every entry. We saw bumper stickers (cost: under a buck) fly out the door for a contest we ran recently; for another, we gave every entrant a surprise discount code.

7. Follow up
Make sure prizes are awarded and sent in a timely manner. Ask the winner to send photos with the prize to share with your Page, and send out press or social media posts. Participants want to see that a real person won. Be sure to use the emails you collect from participants to send follow-up messaging.

If you want to get more qualified leads easily, and want to run a contest on Facebook to help, call us at 818-848-1700. We’ll help you do it right.

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