1. Know the Rules
We've all seen Facebook contests online. They are exciting, fun, and entertaining. Best yet, they can be wildly successful. All are reasons why running your own contest is a great idea. But, be careful. It is NOT as simple as posting a comment that says "upload your favorite picture to win."
Facebook currently has 8 rules that you must adhear to when creating a contest. If you don't, you risk losing your fan page. Ek! All of that hard work building followers, creating pages and adding content…gone.
Fortunately, the rules aren't complicated. They simply need to be followed. To view all eight rules, visit: https://www.Facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php
4 key rules to remember are:
1. Promotions on Facebook must be administered through Apps on Facebook.com, on a Canvas Page or App Tab.
**This means that you cannot host a contest on your wall or using your cover photo. Your contest must reside in a tab on your page.
2. You cannot NOT require that a contestant "like" your fan page, commenting on your wall, or uploading a photo as a means of registering.
3. You cannot not use Facebook features such as the "like" button to have people vote in your contest.
4. You are NOT allowed to notify the winner through Facebook. This includes Facebook messaging, chats, or posts.
**NOTE: This means you must get all entrants email addresses or telephone numbers so that you can notify the winner another way.
2. Don't Rush!
Remember, your contest is a marketing campaign. You want to allow time for your followers to get on board. Also, it is good to factor in extra time for yourself. This way you can thwart any unexpected learning opportunities that may arise in the set up.
To help prevent problems and better market your contest, do your homework. Answer the following questions so that you are prepared.
1. What is the goal or end result that you are looking for in doing this contest?
2. What kind of contest do you want to have? For example a scavenger hunt, sweepstakes, photo contest, video contest, quote contest, etc.
3. Who is your ideal participant?
4. Do you have a marketing budget? Can you pay to have your contest advertised on Facebook? If not, how can you best utilize your resources to spread the word, quickly?
3. Set up Your Facebook Contest with a Well Recommended App
As mentioned in secret #1, Facebook mandates that you host your contest on a tab, instead of on your main wall. Fortunately, there are several companies who specialize in running Facebook contests for you. Better yet, it is their job to know and follow the Facebook guidelines, meaning less worry for you.
A few different companies to try include:
· ShortStack – http://www.shortstack.com/ – They provide a free trial as well as free services for small businesses (you can look at their website for the cut-off info)
· Woobox – http://www.woobox.com/ – Also provides both a free service and paid one that is very reasonably priced
· Offerpop – http://offerpop.com/ – This is great for businesses with new fan pages! They have a sweepstakes contest app that you can use for FREE if you have less than 500 likes on your page. (Hopefully at the end of your sweepstakes you will be swimming in fanpage likes!)
· Strutta – http://www.strutta.com/ – Is good for a photo, video or essay contest. They are a bit pricey, but the quality is exceptional.
· North Social – http://northsocial.com/ – Is another popular contest app site and has various pricing levels.
4. Give Away Something Good
In order to generate huge attention AND to get people to take action, your prize needs to be irresistible. It needs to be so good that anyone who stumbles upon it has a moment of realization…"If I click away from this opportunity, I will lose out on something big."
When considering your irresistible prize, make sure that it is something that will attract your ideal customer. There is no point in building your fan base with a crowd of people that don't truly need your business services.
If you need help generating a great prize, consider partnering with another company. For example, Bublstrom partnered with Titus Cycles for a Facebook contest, and Titus Cycles supplied a top-of-the-line mountain bike for the grand prize winner.
5. Go Beyond ‘Enter to Win’ and Create an Experience
If you do your research and look at other successful Facebook contests, you will find that each one goes beyond the simple "enter to win" format and creates a full experience for the participant.
For example, Maybelline created a "Show Us Your Red Lips" contest. They allow contestants to choose their lipstick, take a picture, submit it, and then get friends to vote for their picture. The whole contest was set up to create a fun, entertaining experience.
As a result, 183 people entered the competition, 9,000 people voted in the competition and the number of page fans increased by 10,000 people.
6. Make it Two Parts: People Entering and People Voting
To cause your Facebook contest to "go viral" you need to make it a two part process. First, you want people to decide to enter your contest (whatever that may be), and then you need them to get all of their friends to vote for their entry.
The addition of the vote is crucial. Not everyone will have the gumption, time, or desire to enter a contest, but most people will enjoy having a few laughs, procrastinating at their work, and voting on a contest. Moreover, the contestants will promote your contest for you because they are looking for votes! If they want to get to number 1, they will spread the word.
7. Apply the "5 Second Rule"
Now that you've brushed up on the Facebook rules, developed your ideal contestant, set goals, decided on an App program, and designed an experience evoking contest, it is time to apply the "5 second rule."
Have you ever heard of the 5-second rule as it relates to food? The basic idea is that you have 5 seconds to pick up any dropped food before it becomes too "dirty" to eat.
This same concept applies to your contest. You have 5 seconds to hook your audience. This means that they can CLEARLY understand the contest in 5 seconds or less. Don't make the promotion of your contest clever, complex or witty. A clever slogan is not usually the best route. Rather, a great phrase to use is, "easy to enter".
8. Have a Launch Day Blast Off!
It is important to start the marketing early! Before you launch your contest, let your fans and customers know that it's coming. Make them feel special and let them know they are the first to learn of the contest. You may even decide to give them a sneak peak of the contest details.
Likewise, in your pre-launch marketing efforts, set up a bigger reason for people to come and enter the contest on the first day, LAUNCH DAY!
For example, anyone who enters on the first day will receive a sample product, email gift, coupon, gift card etc. Or, as a launch day incentive, all single votes could count as 10 votes.
Don't forget to spread the word through additional marketing platforms. Just because the contest is on Facebook, doesn't mean you can't tweet about it; send an email newsletter, send snail mail, or text, etc.
9. Post Frequent Updates
While this may seem obvious, many campaigns lose steam after the first week.
One way to make sure you stay on top of this is to set up posts ahead of time on a program like Hootsuite or Socialoomph. At the end of each week, you can remind them of how much time they have left to enter and get votes.
Then, be sure to pop in occasionally to give voting updates. For example, you can post the top 3 contestants to date.
Lastly, be sure to announce the winner using all of your marketing platforms. Too often, the winner is never announced or announced months later. Have a quick turn around and offer congratulations!
10. Have Follow Through
Congratulations! You've just hosted a successful Facebook contest.
It's over, right? Wrong!
Now, it is time to reflect and analyze the date you've collected.
To do this, start by going back to the questions you answered in secret #2 and look at your results. How did you do? Did you meet your goals? Why or why not?
Next, put your contestant’s data into a spreadsheet and see if there are any commonalities between them. Does an ideal client immerge? Can you learn anything about your business, or the direction it should be heading from this information?
Lastly, take a closer look at the winner or the top 3 contestants. What about their entry caused them to get the most votes? Is their entry something you can use in your future marketing champagnes or as a company slogan?
Facebook has really changed the way contests are run and makes it far easier for businesses to go global with their message.
I'd love to hear from you. Tell us about a Facebook contest you ran, or are thinking of running. Which of the 10 secrets above would you like to focus on next? Drop by my fan page and let me know…I want to hear from you!