Facebook is a battleground. Companies, celebrities, friends, and families all compete for your valuable time. Facebook offers a plethora of distractions. From videos of cats getting stuck in boxes to constant coverage of breaking world events. Holding your audience’s interest on Facebook is harder than ever.
That said, Facebook is the best platform to reach new fans. Your job is to capture the attention of fans, and, above all, engage them.
Facebook contests are the easiest way to master social media engagement. Without engagement, your Facebook page is a sad place where hilarious content dies. A carefully planned, and executed Facebook contest is more effective than dozens of content driven posts.
Know Your Tools – Know Your Goals
The goal of your Facebook contest will determine what kind of contest you create. The underlying goal of any Facebook contest in our business is to fill venues. If you are familiar with our work, you know we value email addresses and social media followers.
Email addresses allow us to reach our current fans. Social media is not effective at marketing to our current fans. Algorithms limit the reach of our posts to a small percentage of fans. Yet, social media is a powerhouse for reaching new fans. If we give our current fans something worth sharing then they reward us with an almost exponential reach to precious new fans.
So let’s capture both emails and likes. The contests discussed in this article involve using third party platforms. These platforms install applications on your Facebook page that create great contests. These platforms also organize and automate the collection process that is too laborious to do manually.
More sophisticated contests invite entrants to submit user-generated content in the form of photos or videos. This content is then either judged or randomly selected to determine the winner.
Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner
The best prize you can offer is something that remains on brand. Don’t give something away that has nothing to do with what you. Restaurants, bars, and pubs can either do food promotions or make a part of the space available as the prize. Giving away liquor is illegal in most jurisdictions, but you may advertise a complimentary drink. Gift cards are a smart prize choice. Only people who are interested in what you offer will pursue gift cards.
If you give away an iPad, accept the fact that you’re going to have a whole lot of people who enter just for the loot. You’re not going to have “qualified” entrants, but you will have enough entrants to choke a horse.
The Best Facebook Contest Platforms
There are dozens of platforms that you can use to run your Facebook contest. Look for a platform that is well reviewed and offers fantastic reports. Here is a list of the best. Note there is no affiliate relationships involved, just hard-earned experience.
Wishpond: a Facebook marketing platform that offers 12 different kinds of marketing contests. Use the simple “Fill-in-the-Blank” creator to set up your Facebook contest. A key advantage of Wishpond is reporting. This is a must to improve your craft. You can track your conversion rate, and see what demographic you attracted.
WooBox: Like Wishpond, WooBox is all about usability. You can decide what kind of promotion you’re going to run and then set it up quickly. WooBox features the ability to closely track and monitor reach, clicks, engagement, and demographics. Instead of creating a custom contest page, WooBox keeps everything on your Facebook profile. This means that your audience never leaves your Facebook page.
Shortstack: Once again focused on usability, Shortstack will make sure that your awesome contest reaches as many existing and potential fans as possible. Specializing in photo contests, Shortstack makes it easy to encourage user generated content through an easy to create Facebook app. Shortstack works hard to prevent voting fraud and enforcing age restrictions. This makes it the clear choice for adult content and club promotion.
The Step by Step Guide to Creating a Facebook Contest
Choose a Prize
Unless you’re already incredibly famous – like American Apparel famous – you’re going to need a pretty fantastic prize. Like we mentioned above, keep it brand focused. Your prize should reinforce your brand while also being something worth working for.
Decide How to Enter
What do you want your entrants to have to do to qualify? Make sure that whatever platform you choose to use, your entrants have to at the least “like” your page. Bonus points if they have to enter their email address or refer a friend. Keep in mind, if the prize is worth it, they’ll make their entire friend circle enter the contest.
Create Your Contest Page/Facebook App
A contest page or Facebook app is vital to your contests success. This is where all the contest and prize details can be found. Make sure to use snazzy graphics. And if it is an external contest page, provide links back to your website, and social media platforms. Most contest pages invite entry by using a submission form that takes your name and email address.
Promote Your Contest
Start by emailing everyone already on your email list, and tell them about your awesome contest. Monitor progress and tweak as necessary. If your prize doesn’t depend on you being in one place, open it up to a wider geographic area. You’ll have more people enter and increase your fan base!
Feature the Winners
As soon as your contest is over, announce the winner! Whether you do this with a short video or awesome picture, just make sure you do it. Featuring the winner will foster confidence in your brand, and show off your human side. Always seek ways to reach out to your fans with value.
Successful Facebook Contests
Successful Facebook contests happen in any industry. The key is capturing the attention of your desired audience. The ones you hope will continue to support you long after the contest is over.
Take for example Qwertee – a limited edition T-shirt company. They ran a run of the mill sweepstakes contest. To enter, you had to submit your email and “like” their page. Their goal was to reach 100,000 Facebook followers. They offered a variety of prizes including a month (30) of free shirts.
To date, Qwertee has over 306,000 followers and they continue to make use of Facebook contests. This is a process that reaps rewards.