Monday, February 6, 2012

Running a competition on Facebook - what you need to know

Before you decide to run a competition on your Facebook business page, it's important to understand what a contest can or cannot do for your brand.

A facebook contest can...
  1. Help boost engagement between your brand and your fans
  2. Help incentivise new users to like your facebook page
  3. Be used to promote a new product and get the word out there about your brand
  4. Build awareness of your brand and products and services.
On the other hand, a facebook competition cannot...
  1. Make up for a poor product or customer service. A contest could potentially damage your brand further through negative comments, as was the case of the Qantas Twitter competition that backfired.
  2. Create an instant, online community of fans that are loyal to your brand
Before you run a facebook competition ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Do you have the time, resources and budget to plan, manage, monitor and continue to engage with your fans when you run the competition?
  2. Do you have the budget for a prize that everyone will find value in and which will encourage participation from your fans?
  3. Do you have clear goals for this contest?
  4. What is the purpose of running this contest? Will it support the rest of your marketing strategies?
  5. Are you using a third party app provider to administer the contest? Note that this is required as per Facebook's guidelines.
Below are some points to take into consideration when running a contest on Facebook.

1. Set clear goals
  • What do you aim to achieve from running this contest?
  • What results do you want to see at the end of the contest? Eg increased engagement with fans, increased number of fans etc
2. Details of the competition
  • How will you get your online community to participate in the competition? Eg photo competition where they have to upload a photo and write a caption and the best photo wins a prize, write a story or a line to say why they deserve the prize or will they simply enter email and contact details in a form and the winner will be selected randomly?
  • It's important to keep the contest simply. If the entry forms are too long or complicated, it will deter the user from participating. Make it effortless and eliminate the chance of them becoming frustrated or having a negative experience.
3. The prize
  • Take your target audience into consideration - what prize will attract them to participate in your competition?
  • What does your budget look like? It doesn't need to break the bank as long as the prize is of value to the fan
  • Choose a prize that will match the interest of your audience. This will help with participation and encourage them to share it with their friends
4. How will your winners be selected?
  • Will your online community help to choose the winner? For example, the photos submitted with the most votes wins a prize, or will they simply enter their contact details and the winner selected randomly?
  • Make sure rules are clearly defined
5. What personal information will you gather
  • Only collect the information you need, for example, email and contact details to notify the winner
  • Too much information required may deter participation
  • Keep it simple. If it looks too long or too hard, it will only cause people to abandon your contest
6. Check that your contest is Facebook compliant
  • Check the Facebook guidelines for more details:
  • In summary, Facebook states that contests must be run through a third-party app, you cannot use Facebook features and functions as part of the contest mechanism, you can't use the Facebook 'like' button as a means of collecting votes on entries and you can't notify the winners on Facebook, such as a wall post, message or in chat.
7. Check the fine print with legal
  • If need be, get your terms & conditions reviewed or drafted by a legal representative
  • Your T & Cs should include entry regulations, selection of winners and how winners will be notified, restrictions on certain groups to participate (eg above 18 years only), how entries can be used by the company in the future (eg for marketing purposes), or alternative modes of entry
  • Check to see if you need to get a license to run a competition if the prize is over a certain value amount. This will vary from state to state.
8. Promote your contest
  • There are many ways to promote your contest on Facebook, for example, sending an email to your database advising them of the competition and encouraging them to participate, promote with facebook ads, add a competition banner on your website, make it shareable so fans can share with it their friends, send out a flyer or put an ad in a magazine etc.
9. Manage your contest
  • When you've launched your competition, make sure you regularly check it to ensure that it's running smoothly. Monitor comments, feedback and other activity. Answer questions from fans and encourage them to participate.
10. After launch
  • Monitor the results after launch - did you achieve the goals you set out to achieve? What are the topics, questions or conversations that were asked by your fans? These can be used for future marketing or to better your service
  • After the competition has ended, make sure you continue to work on engaging with your fans to grow your online community. For example, provide them with unique content, specials, news, events etc that will keep them coming back to you.
  • Keep a two-way conversation happening with your fans to ensure loyalty, brand awareness, trust in your brand and ultimately, increased sales
Facebook competitions are a beneficial way to create buzz around your brand, create fan interaction and generate long-term relationships with your customers online. It's also important that after a competition that you continue to engage with your fans by providing them with content that they will find of value, whether that is special offers, sneak peek previews, event updates or tips.

For help with facebook marketing and how you can get started, speak to one of the marketing consultants at TA Fastrack today on 07 3040 3588 or visit

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