Facebook Contests: Be Prepared!

Everyone loves contests. We’ve been entering them for as long as we can remember, through the mail, over the phone, by fax (remember the fax machine?), and now we enter via social media for our chance to win.

People enter contests because they love to win free stuff. But why do brands run contests?

The brands we work with put contests on to bring awareness to products, to increase the size of their brand community, and to give back to the brand community that has supported them and engaged online in the past.

If your brand thinks that a Facebook contest is a great way to do these things, here are a few points to keep in mind when you’re preparing:

Stay “In Voice”
We’ve talked about brand voice before when it comes to blogs and social media posts. The same rules apply when your brand is putting together a contest. If you have a young, hip, edgy brand, use those qualities in your contest and make it fun. If you have an older brand community and a serious product and strategy, keep that in mind and make sure your contest reflects those qualities.

Your contest is an extension of the branding work that you do all year long, it should fit with your overall strategy, not be an outlier that makes no sense to anyone when they look at your website or daily social media posts.

Facebook MobileMake it mobile friendly.
The statistics continuously show more and more web traffic taking place on mobile devices, with social media sites ranking among the highest of all. This means that it is imperative that your contest works completely and smoothly in a mobile format. As a rule people will not make a point to come back to your Facebook page when they get home to enter your contest. There is too much other content online to distract them and take their attention somewhere that offers the instant gratification that your contest doesn’t.

Be prepared for contesters
Contesters are a fact of life. No matter how targeted your contest is, how many “gates” you put on it, or where you promote it, they will find you. And when they do, they will enter to win your prize no matter what it is.

Be prepared for a number drop after the contest
Because of the contesters we mentioned above, you should be prepared for a slight drop in your Likes or Followers after your contest has ended. There will be people who choose to leave your brand community after their chance to win has ended. And while it never looks good to see numbers drop, remember that you haven’t lost anything in this case because these people were never truly a part of your brand community.

Twitter Pinterest YouTubeUse your network to promote
If you are putting on a Facebook contest be sure to promote it through your other social media networks. There’s a strong chance that some of the people that follow your brand on Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. don’t yet Like your Facebook page and haven’t heard about the contest yet.

You can also use your email list to promote your contest for the same reason. A well put together e-newsletter can give you a boost in entries and new Likes from your current brand community and entice them to share with their friends and family.

Be ready to use your community manager
Contests increase the size of your brand community at a rate much higher than your regular campaigns do, which means you need your community manager to be ready for a few things…
A) More engagement on posts, and the need to create posts that invite engagement while your traffic is at its peak.
B) More questions from existing and new community members who want to know details of the contest, are having problems with entry or rules, and general FAQS about your brand.
C) Trolls who want to do nothing more than cause trouble. These trolls aren’t from a fairytale land of make-believe. They live online every day and will probably pop up on your page in some fashion at least once.

Contests are a great way to get results, but remember that a lot of work goes into finding success with these giveaways. Don’t start rushing and skipping steps, you will only find yourself wasting time and money.


Joshua Murray

Fuelled by ideas, opportunity and coffee, Joshua attacks the social media landscape every day with a purpose. His experience in retail, customer service and public relations have combined to give him a 360 degree view of social media for brands and he is committed to helping all of his clients leverage their voice in the social sphere.

Joshua Murray has 80 posts and counting. See all posts by Joshua Murray