Facebook Contests – Your 10 Tips to a Successful Contest

Who doesn’t like to win a contest? I’m pretty sure everyone likes to be a winner.

ImageWith a user base of 955 million monthly active users (June 2012), Facebook is the social platform where your contests can be very successful and provide ROI, if executed properly. Success with contests, just like any marketing efforts, it all depends on the planning and execution (consider 3 P’s: Planning, Prize and Promotion. Plan). Better yet, if you follow these 10 tips you will be right on track to running a successful Facebook contest.

1. Decide if you need a contest

This is always the best place to start when planning any marketing campaign. Evaluate your brand and market and the impact of an online contest. If you’re a B2B company that deals in a niche market, a Facebook contest might not help you gain a meaningful number of new clients. Granted it’s all about good execution and follow through.

2. Set contest goals

What do you want to achieve by running the contest? Do you want to increase brand exposure, launch a new product line, increase the number of likes for your page, build user engagement, gather user feedback or develop brand advocates? The bottom line: have specific goals and don’t run a contest just because you can.

3. Select a contest type

There are four basic types of contests you can run on Facebook: sweepstakes, essay, photo and video. Matching the type of contest with your target audience is very important. Video, photo and essay contests will give you lots of content for your page, but they also require more effort to enter. A sweepstakes contest is easy to enter and you can set it up so that you get a few key pieces of information from your customers.

4. Know Facebook’s contest policies and rules

Facebook has a lot of rules and regulations for contests run on the site. Facebook insists that contests explicitly state that Facebook is not sponsoring the giveaway. Violating any of Facebook’s rules will result in your contest, and possibly your page, being shut down, which you do not want.  

5. Have your private policy ready

Your private policy explains the intended use of the data you collect during the contest. If you plan to use the information outside of judging the contest, you need to mention that in the policy. As a result, your link to the privacy policy should be available on your contest app. Also, according to Facebook, you need to specify your own rules, terms and conditions and contest eligibility requirements.

6. Run your contest through a third-party app

There are lots of companies that provide contest support, but you will want to make sure the one you choose offers a 3 key features: flexibility, affordability and mobility.

7. Pick an awesome prize

Most importantly make sure you pick a prize that your target audience wants. You can always do a survey before the contest to help decide what the prize should be. The prize does not have to be very expensive, but the value of your prize should reflect the effort participants need to make to enter.

8. Keep it simple 

The simpler it is to enter your contest, the more people will get in. Your contest should be easy to find and easy to enter. Ask for less information such as the entrant’s name, age and email address.

9. Promote your contest

If you’re hosting a contest on Facebook, make it social and don’t just post details to your page. Post and send scheduled reminders about the contest through tweets, email newsletters and posts on your Facebook Timeline. You can also increase your promotional reach by using Facebook ads. Ensure your contest is well-integrated into all concurrent marketing channels.

10. Post-contest follow-up and results

Be sure utilizing the information collected after the contest is over and assess the responses and feedback of customers. The easiest way to do this is to organize the data into a spreadsheet and compare the responses. Also, make sure you follow-up with your audience – listening and re-engaging is very important to your brand and marketing strategy. Let the participants know that you value their suggestions as this will motivate and increase future customer interaction. 

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