Who doesn’t like to win a contest?
The advent of popular social networking sites like Facebook has increased the excitement of being declared a winner. With a colossal user base of 955 million monthly active users (June 2012), Facebook is a behemoth where your contests can make it to the top and get you that much valued ROI, if executed properly. Whether contests become a success or sink without a trace depends on your planning and execution. So, it all depends on the three P’s: Planning, Prize and Promotion. Plan your contest, offer a great prize, promote your contest as much as possible and increase your chances of a great ROI.
So, will your contest make it or break it?
Before you consider that question, take a look at some great tips for successful Facebook contests:
- Make sure you need a contest: We agree that this is pretty basic but hey, you always need to start from the basics. Take a good look and your brand’s needs. Do you really need a contest to meet those requirements? If you do, then go for it! Your next step should be setting contest goals.What is it that you aim to achieve through this contest? Do you want more exposure for your brand or do you want to launch a new product? Are you just aiming to increase the number of likes for your brand page or do you want to build on user engagement, gather user feedback or develop brand advocates?Most importantly, run contests with a specific agenda. Don’t do it just to count yourself among those who have done it.
- Choose your contest type: The next step would be to choose the type of contest you want to run: sweepstakes, photo, video or essay. Select the contest type that is best suited for your brand requirements and contest goals. For instance, it takes a lot of effort to enter a photo, video or essay contest. You need to keep in mind the effort it takes to enter contests and if your prize is worth it.
- Keep up with Facebook’s contest policies and rules: Facebook has a lot of rules and regulations for contests run on the site. Keep yourself updated with the rules and avoid landing in trouble with the site. If the Facebook rules are not followed, your contest or even your page may be shut down by the site.
- Run your contest through a third-party app: It’s best if you use a third-party app to run your contest. But first, make sure that the app has a few essential features:
- The right app: Choose the app that is right for your brand requirements, that is, make sure it has the features necessary for your brand. Apps range from being free to those that cost thousands of dollars per month. Research thoroughly and choose your third-party app.
- Flexibility: Another important feature that the app should offer is flexibility. If it cannot be customized, you may not be able to use it to get the results you want.
- Can embed the app or use it anywhere: A lot of third-party apps work on Facebook only. Pick one that you can either embed or use on other sites like your website.
- App has to be mobile: The number of people accessing social media and Facebook in particular is increasing everyday. According to Facebook’s 2012 Second Quarter Report, 543 million of most active users access the site on their mobile phones. Then why don’t you cash in by using an app that is mobile?
- Pick out a great prize: Pick out a smashing prize for the contest from your brand’s products. This serves a dual purpose. You will be giving a great gift and it’s another form of advertising. Make sure that the prize you will be giving is something that people want (if necessary, do a survey before deciding the prize). You need not give a very expensive prize. It just has to compensate the efforts the participants would have taken to enter.
- Keep it straightforward: One of the signs of a successful contest is the number of entries it gets. So, the simpler it is to enter your contest, the more people will get in. It may be that there are innovative, complex contests have got many entries. But, there is also the chance that your contest will be a total washout because of its complexity. Also, remember that the more fields you ask people to fill, the fewer entries you will have. Get the data you need from people while asking for as less information as possible. Also, your contest app should be easy to find.
- Promote your contest: Make your Facebook contest social! Don’t confine its promotions to just one place. Send out timely reminders to people about your contest through tweets, email newsletters and posts on your Timeline. Intersperse posts about the contest with posts about your brand. Make your contest promotions part of your overall marketing communications. Include subtle mentions of the contest in newsletters, radio and TV advertising and receipts. You can also increase your promotional reach by using Facebook ads. Make your contest ad crisp and catchy. Facebook ads are a great way to get in touch with people who are a part of your target demographic. You can also reach out to new customers and connect with existing customers who like your page.
- T & C’s: According to Facebook, you need to specify your own rules, terms and conditions and contest eligibility requirements. You also need to specially mention that the contest is your initiative and it is not supported or sponsored by Facebook in any way.
- Do your post-event homework: Be sure to follow up on the information collected after the contest is over. Gauge the responses and feedback of customers. Are they being positive about you? Have you been suggested to improve your brand or customer engagement in any way?
Let them know that you are working on and value their suggestions. This motivates customers to give more feedback and engage with your brand.
- Measure your contest results: The most brilliant contest in the world is of no use if you don’t measure its results. Measure the extent to which the contest has met your goals. If lead generation is your goal, include a form and CTAs on your contest page. If reach and brand awareness are your goals, make your contest entrants share your brand/contest page on their Timeline. Facebook Insights is a great tool to measure contest effectiveness. Or, you can also use other marketing software to determine the goal/s achieved.
Have you run any Facebook contests till now? What were your tactics and how effective was your contest in achieving set goals?