Facebook Contests – Read this before you run one!

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Holding contests on facebook can absolutely help your page attract new likes, fans, etc.   However, you need to be certain of the reasoning of your contest and what your final idea is behind holding one. If it’s just for new likes – I would advise against it. There is no reason why your new likes won’t unlike you after the contest is done.  So, you should be prepared for drop off. Having said that, it can be really rewarding, depending on the type of contest you run. Does it work for branding? Yes, absolutely and if sponsored/boosted properly to the right audience it will get your name out there within the local area. There are a few important points you need to know before you get started. I have initially learned the hard way, hosting various contests over time for many business owners. You will learn over time what works and what doesn’t. You will also learn how your fans react. Every contest is different, just be prepared! 

  1. Figure out your true purpose & be sure to put some advertising money behind the post.  If your pages has less than a thousand followers, just holding a contest with no advertising money behind it won’t have much of an impact.
  2. The contest type or what you are giving away, will ultimately decide the fate of the contest. Seriously, it will. So instead of thinking as a business owner ask a few friends on facebook, or even friends you don’t communicate as much with, we all have those, this will give you an idea if what you are about to give away is meaningful.
  3. What is the action they perform?  What do you want your contest entries to do? Share? Like? Comment? If there is something specific you are giving away with fine print make sure you specify a website link that explains it more.
    Very Important: Make sure you check this at the end of the contest to ensure if there is a tie, they did what you requested.
  4. Set Clear Guidelines – A quick terms right on the post is far more productive than fine print.  Spell out the rules upfront. Never be surprised if your contestants don’t read the rules. It happens all the time.
  5. Length of Contest – Short contests are best. Lots of companies do 1, 3, or 5 day contests.  If you need to give your contestants time to do some sort of action like a colouring contest, go with a 2 week maximum.

What to expect? Probably the most useful piece of advice you need to read.
If done properly, it will get your business name out there and more likes and shares for your page. You can run the math: 200 friends per person X shares. You can see why contests work and why businesses should do them.

With all the good, however there is always the bad! 

Expect that people will be / can become nasty. If you offer an amazing prize (like a cash prize) people can, and probably will, fight over it. I’ve experienced this running contests on multiple company pages and when we mean nasty, we mean nasty. For example we’ve had: private messages of “but that was my submission,” “make sure someone else didn’t put it in,” and mine was first”, to “I won it, not the other person,” and accusations of a rigged contest poll. Yes, people will get nasty it’s just the nature of it, unfortunately. However, there is always the good guys – and people have come to the rescue to defend companies. Don’t go into it expecting the worst, just don’t go into it thinking it won’t happen.

Types of facebook contests that work:

  • Colouring contests for kids/dental practices
  • Sports tickets – AVOID Them altogether
  • For cash – give a visa gift card instead
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Picture this contest
  • Photo Contests
  • Naming Contests (Mascots)
  • Product Giveaways – but make it fun

Polls on Facebook – What you need to know:

If you are doing a contest with polls you need to be very aware that on a company page you are limited to 2 poll options. If you are running a contest on a group page – you don’t have these limitations. We are hoping Facebook eventually changes this on company pages, but for right now, you only get 2 options. The best work around for this is WooBox. Although you do have to pay for it, it’s the best option for any contests where you need polls with more than two options, along with being very easy to set up.

If you need more information about setting up a contest or help with Facebook audiences, feel free to get in touch or schedule a consult with our team!


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Alisa Makowski

Alisa Makowski

Alisa lives and breathes marketing, it runs in her blood, that and coffee. Alisa is the top peeler here in our village of monkeys. Falling in love with marketing at a young age, Alisa has worked with various corporations while obtaining her B.Sc in Marketing. Over the course of only a few years, she was able to dominate her craft in the areas of: Web, Social, and Traditional Marketing. In that time period, she was able to work with companies such as The Furnace Company, Costco and with loyalty programs such as Aeroplan and Air Miles.

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