Facebook has emerged as one of the most influential social networks in the world. It has also become a platform for companies to increase their reach and promote their business. However, one of the most highly interactive ways to do so on Facebook is also one of the most under-used: a contest.
Contests provide a great opportunity for businesses to generate a buzz, and increase brand recognition. Here, we will outline the process of hosting a contest on Facebook to promote your business.
Step 1. Preparation
Using a contest requires preparation, but first and foremost, you should review Facebook guidelines for organizing a promotion. Knowing the rules and guidelines set forth by Facebook will allow your contest to be completely legitimate. This is vital to your success so we recommend you read the guidelines in their entirety. To summarize, any promotion on Facebook (such as a contest or sweepstake) must contain:
- Official rules
- Terms and eligibility requirements
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant
Once you are familiar with Facebook’s rules, spend some time researching other contests that have been successful. Explore feedback, review what participants have said about previous contests and take note of which contest posts had the highest engagement. This will help you establish some best practices for organizing a Facebook contest, and be informed about current contest trends.
Expert tip: Optimize research by seeking out competitors in your niche. Targeting preparation by investigating your competition will help maximize results.
Finally, establish a method for hosting the contest. While a Facebook page may be used for this purpose, you may find a hosting app to be more suitable. Hosting apps often feature contest management tools, quantifiable insight and reporting components, branding capabilities and more. Fandom Marketing recently published a top 10 list of the Best Social Media Contest Apps, which is a great reference to get you started.
Expert Tip: Contests may be administered on Fan Pages, Business Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Profiles may not be used for sponsored promotions.
Step 2. Planning
Once you have finished preliminary research and preparation, move onto planning your specific contest. Every social media marketing strategy needs a solid plan, but not every marketer knows where to start. If this is your first Facebook contest, here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Budget – Will your contest require hosting, traffic/advertising? How much will be spent on prizes?
- Promotion – How will participants learn about your contest? Ads, Emails, Social Media Posts, Etc.
- Contest Length – What are the start & end dates? What is the length of time allowed for entries? When are winners announced?
- Entry method – How do participants join? What information is required to do so?
- Participants – Who can participate? Amount of entries allowed (total, and per person)?
- Prizes – What are they? What value do they bring?
- Winners – Number of winners? How they are determined?
- Goals – What quantifiable results do you want to achieve? What is your baseline for success?
- Tools – Does your hosting app cover the basics? Do you need other solutions to track statistics and measure goal achievement?
Each of these components will be important when it comes time to take action. Be sure you set yourself up for success and plan accordingly.
Expert tip: Planning sets the stage for your entire promotion, and can make or break your contest. Don’t skimp on time or effort with this step!
Step 3. Take Action
With a defined plan, you are ready to take action. Begin by implementing the contest strategies outlined during the planning phase.
Compile your prizes, sign up for your hosting app, and create the content needed for your contest. For example, if your advertising plan centered around using your email list to reach previous customers, design an effective series of messages that will help you reach these subscribers and urge them to participate.
Then, up your engagement! Since Facebook is a social network oriented towards user interaction and social relationships, connect with participants.
The end goal here is to promote your business, right? So, take this time to really interact with Facebook users who are interested in your contest. Use the research compiled during your preparation phase and post some targeted and highly engaging updates.
Expert tip: Engagement matters! Ask questions. Answer questions. Like. Share. Post pictures and spread the word about your contest.
Step 4. Monitor
Planning and hosting a Facebook contest is great for promotion but don’t stop there! We also recommend that you closely monitor performance metrics.
By carefully monitoring your contest, you have the opportunity to notice if an ad doesn’t convert, if a link is broken, if a follower posted an inappropriate comment or anything else that could be having a negative effect on your promotion.
Observing statistics during your contest allows you to recognize issues and, more importantly, adjust accordingly. For example, if paid advertising for the contest is not resulting in conversions – quickly pause your campaign, revamp your ad to increase the click-through-rate and encourage more Facebook users to join your contest.
Crisis (and wasted funds) averted.
Step 5: Analyze
You set out to host a contest, so once the contest is over and prizes have been awarded, you’re done, right?
Well, kudos on the follow through, but since the real goal was to promote your business your work is still not quite finished: The final stage of organizing a Facebook contest involves analyzing the results.
Analysis is important because it helps you determine:
- If you met your planned goals
- What worked and what did not
- If this type of promotion is worth repeating
The best way to analyze your results? Compare the before and after.
Use trackable links and other marketing tools to compile data and make comparisons based on standard metrics. If you chose an application for hosting, this is a great opportunity to review the data, and analyze the efficiency of your Facebook contest. The more information you gather before, during and after the contest, the better. When it comes to analysis, you want to have a well rounded set of data to reference and draw conclusions from. This information will help you set standards for future marketing efforts.
Wrapping It Up
Facebook contests can be a viable marketing strategy to generate results for your business. A successful contest goes beyond just having participants and giving away prizes; requiring preparation, planning, action, monitoring and analysis. These steps offer a guide to building a contest that will promote your business to a larger audience and with real, tangible results.
Over to you! Take a minute to post comments or share any ideas you have about Facebook contests. Have you used them before? What worked, and what didn’t?
We’d love to hear from you!
A New England native who moved to San Diego to spend winters on the beach, she spends her free time soaking up all the sun Southern California has to offer!
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