5 Tips for Running Facebook Contests

Looking for a great way to get more “Likes” for your business page on Facebook?  Want a way to keep your current fans engaged or to generate some buzz for your business?  Running a contest on Facebook can get you all these things and more.  Contests are an instant draw because they create a sense of anticipation and excitement that draws people in and convinces them to sign-up for something they might normally skip.  There is just something special about the possibility of winning.  Companies in every industry have used Facebook contests to build their brand, generate excitement, and get their message to their target markets, and so can you.  Here are five tips to help you design, create, and run a successful Facebook contest.

1. Follow the Rules

Follow the Facebook Promotion Guidelines whenever you are running a contest, sweepstakes, competition, or offering.  Facebook prohibits users from running contests that use any Facebook functionality.  This means your contest has to be run via an application like Wildfire or Shortstack.  Requesting that entries are posted to your wall, announcing winners in your stream, and asking users to upload pictures into Facebook directly are all prohibited.  Violating the guidelines can get your page removed.  Here are a few contest app providers that can help you create a contest that adheres to the Facebook Promotion Guidelines.

  • ShortStack – Offers free trial and free services for businesses up to a certain size.
  • Wildfire – Provides easy to create contests with reasonable rates.
  • North Social – Offers easy to use apps beyond just contests at several pricing levels.
  • Votigo – Targets large scale campaigns

2. Focus on the WOW Factor

In the constantly scrolling world of Facebook, grabbing people’s attention is hard to do, but keeping it takes something special.  You don’t always need a huge prize budget to find your WOW factor, just a little creative customer centric thinking.  Don’t offer a prize everyone wants; offer something that will attract your ideal customer.  Bulbstorm partnered with Titus Cycles for a creative campaign designed to double the company’s FB fan base, generate 12 tattoo designs featuring the company’s logo, and increase fan engagement.  The contest asked fans to submit their original tattoo designs for consideration and the winning design, chosen by user voting, won its creator a top of the line mountain bike in addition to the tattoo.

3. Marketing Matters

Treat your Facebook contest like any other marketing campaign and target the type of contest, the prizes offered, and your promotional efforts to your ideal customer base.  Formic Media created a sweepstakes campaign for ThinkProducts that used targeted Facebook ads to promote giveaways and drive perfect prospects to the sweepstakes entry.  These ads helped increase the page’s “Likes” by 44% in a single month and outperformed other mediums in generating awareness and acquiring new fans.

4. Get People Talking and Keep them Coming Back

One way to build your brand and generate buzz is to feature an interactive contest that inspires user participation, encourages users to invite other users to participate, and provides a reason for users to keep coming back to see what’s happening.  ShortStack, one of the contest app providers, helped one of their users, a clothing company, increase their fan base from 3,500 to 25,000 in a single campaign.  By offering to giveaway a pair of jeans to fans who were nominated by 20 other fans of the company, the campaign got users to get their friends and family to “Like” the company’s page so they could nominate them and help them win a pair of jeans.  This is a perfect example of how participation and multiple interactions through contest activities can drive fan engagement.

5. Promote Everywhere Your Fans Are

Don’t limit your FB contest promotions to your Facebook wall.  Tweet contest information throughout the life of the contest campaign.  Post it on your website and in your store.  Set-up a laptop in your shop and let people “Like” your page and enter your contest while they are waiting in line.  If you publish a newsletter or ezine, make it front page news and drive higher engagement rates across all your customer interactions.  Mia’s Pizza & Eats in Georgia has run several successful FB contests that promoted participation on Facebook and in their restaurant.    One contest asked customers to submit pictures of them eating at Mia’s and then polled the fans to pick the best customer picture.  This brought FB to the restaurant, but more importantly, it brought their restaurant to life on Facebook.

Wendy Kenney is the bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com.  She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and Newsday. She lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband and three very hungryteenage sons.  One of her goals in life is to visit all of the Major League ballparks in the US before she turns 49.  So far she has been to 13. Grab your free ebook; How to Build Buzz for Your Biz; 23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed at 23kazoos.com.

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