And here it is! My 'little' guide at helping business owners (small or big) to promote themselves better with Facebook competitions. If you're on Facebook (and you probably are), you will have seen many companies using competitions to promote their products or services - and by all means it's great running competitions on a platform that millions and millions of users use on an hourly basis. The trick is, you have to do it the right way. If you don't do it correctly, you could be wasting your time, efforts, money and possibly lose your Facebook page which is a big no-no! So, without further ado, observe!
What you SHOULD do on Facebook Competitions!
Have a goal!
Having a competition is all good, but above all of that, you must first decide what you want to achieve with this competition. Awareness? Collecting e-mails? To entice people to come in to your store? Increase the 'Likes' on your Facebook page? This in turn will then drive on how the competition should be run to be effective to your goal. See the image below and observe.
So, obviously the word competition implies that there must be a winner or winners. Will the prize that they receive be useful and something that is related to your industry? It could be that if you're a coffee shop, you can decide to give away a free coffee, or voucher. If you're a beauty salon, you could provide a free pamper package or a 50% discount off the next hair treatment. Ensure your prizes are related and also depending on the intensity of the competition, you want your fans to think that it's worth their time and effort to enter this competition.
Be creative and simple!
The most common type of competition is a sweepstake / raffle type of competition, where you have a group of entrants where a winner or winners are drawn at random. There are other types of competitions you can think of - for example a submission based competition where entrants provide their most creative cake, or scariest costume, or most impressive skateboard trick video on youtube (providing youtube link). Remember that you do these competitions on a separate canvas page or app rather than Facebook itself (see the don'ts below). Don't go being too over creative that you make your competition complex - it still has to be simple enough that people who may not be so computer literate can enter. People will get put off if it's to hard or too troubling to enter.
Research and Analyze!
There is no stock standard formula! Facebook Competitions can be held in numerous ways and depending on your demography, certain competition styles may not be suitable for your industry. You will have to think about who is more likely to compete in your competition and then target them. Then once the campaign is over, check to see how successful your results were. It's all about trying and testing so do not be afraid to fail because that's part of the research!
Spread the word!
Encourage your fans to share the competition, or even the page, so you may obtain more submissions - however don't limit yourself to just rely on your current fan base. Facebook advertising is a great way to target specific locations and interests or even age groups and genders. Sure it may cost but that's part of advertising - you don't get store banners for free, or billboard signage.
What you SHOULDN'T do on Facebook Competitions!
Leave your Facebook stagnant or bombard your fans!
Facebook is social media, and a lot of things get posted up every single second. With this in mind, it is important that you remind your fans of your competition. Just gentle reminders every now and again, enough to be in the back of people's minds but not too much to annoy the crap out of them. You can be inviting but not too much that it does the exact opposite and repels your audience making them skip your posts instead (depending on your demographic).
Ignore the Facebook Terms and Conditions!
This is somewhat confusing and a very commonly overlooked mistake a lot of Facebook pages make - which sometimes results in major consequences (social media wise anyway). Just so everyone is on the same page, here is a link to that page: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php. Scroll right to the bottom and read the promotions area (Section E). *Note this was based off the terms and conditions as of *13 May, 2013*.
Tips: You may think "well, how am I going to hold a Facebook Competition if Facebook's terms are making it this hard". Check below:
Section E, i.
Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook, or a canvas page or a page app. One of such is Woobox. It's a useful app that you can put up images or even content from a separate page. You can use this to host your competition / promotion.
Section E, ii.
Pretty much have your own terms and conditions including these terms.
Section E, iii.
Don't force your participants to 'Like', 'Share', 'Comment' or 'Upload / Tag' a photo on your Facebook Timeline. In which case, ignore the use of your Timeline page apart from promoting your competition - use other methods to let them register. You can make them 'Like' or 'Check in' to your page as part of the conditions (see below).
Section E, iv.
A lot of people get this mixed up - so here it is. You CAN use the 'Like' and 'Check-in' feature on Facebook to ACCOMPANY your competition's registration method for your customers. You CANNOT use the 'Like' and 'Check-in' feature SOLELY as the only method of entry for your competition. E.g.
'Like' our page to go into a draw - NOT OK
'Like' our page, fill in your details in the form and submit for a chance to win - OK
This is where it's best to use a canvas page which could have a form that people register through, to enter the competition IN ADDITION to 'Liking' your page.
Section E, v.
Pretty much similar to Section E, iii. Don't make people vote on your Facebook Timeline - rather use an app that doesn't use the Facebook features (E.g 'Like' or 'Comments' on the wall post)
Section E, vi.
Seems strange but you cannot actually notify the winner on Facebook for the competition. Which isn't the best way to promote it anyways because it's hard to be able to communicate with a specific fan due to privacy settings they may have. Rather opt them in to obtain their e-mail address and notify the person through here. This way, they have a better chance that they see it.
Pick your friends/family as winners!
Be fair to the people who have actually done their best to enter the competition. Reward your fans and give them hope that they have a chance to win so that they may return for later competitions if they don't succeed in this one. Don't fool your customers because they will not like you for it.
If you are serious about your Facebook marketing and social media awareness, you have to know that not everyone is successful every time. There will be times where you will have maybe very little feedback or your competition isn't working. Analyze as said before why it didn't work. If you have tried again and again with little results, are you making the same mistake? Is it the right target market? Is it too complex of a competition? Is it engaging/interesting/enticing enough that people would want to enter? For all you know your industry/business might not even be well suited to have competition. If you find yourself in that situation then look for other means of marketing/promotion.
These are not the rules (except the Terms and Conditions) but more my guidelines and pretty much what I try to stick to if possible. Remember that these are only guaranteed successful based on how smartly you market and the effort you put into it. So give it a go and enjoy marketing it!
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