By now you probably have an idea or two as to what you can offer your audience, and what you can ask for in return, when it comes to your Facebook contest. Here are some best practices to keep in mind as you iron out the details.
1. Target your goals
If you’re going to devote several days—or weeks!—to planning, promoting, administrating and customer-caring this contest, it should directly support the objectives of your Facebook marketing strategy.
Here are some examples of objectives and goals to choose from before you get started:
- Increase brand awareness by increasing impressions
- Increase customer affinity by increasing engagement (i.e., likes, shares, comments, reactions)
- Drive traffic to your website by increasing click-throughs to a landing page
- Collect user-generated content for future marketing use
- Gather audience feedback on products or services
- Identify leads by collecting email addresses
Once you’ve narrowed down your specific goals, it’s a lot easier to figure out what kind of contest you’re going to run, and how you’re going to run it.
And because Facebook contests are very quantifiable, you’ll be able to prove your ROI after, too.
2. Know your audience
You want your contest to attract people who will like your brand, not people who like large cash prizes (a.k.a. everyone).
This is also known as the Don’t Give Away iPads Rule.
Choose a prize that would appeal to your perfect customer.
Your very own flagship product or service is often a great choice: contest participants will self-identify as people who are interested in what you have to offer. Yes, they might prefer your product when it’s free, but once they’ve imagined winning it they’ll have a better appreciation of its value.
At the same time, the prize has to be intrinsically valuable enough that people will pause their eternal scroll and take the time to enter your contest.
If you want to expand your contest’s reach by offering a more exciting prize, don’t select one randomly. Look at why people care about your brand. What values are they identifying with? What lifestyle are they aspiring to?
This matters especially if you’re asking people to provide user-generated content: when we’re talking about their brand, things get personal. Ask yourself whether participating in your contest fits with who your audience is and how they’re already behaving on Facebook.
One final note on knowing your audience: consider geo-targeting your posts so that you don’t annoy fans who live in ineligible places.
3. Keep it simple
The vast majority of Facebook users are on mobile, so design your contest experience for a variety of devices and operating systems. (I like to send test links to my mom, proud owner of the world’s only living Blackberry Playbook.)
If your contest requires a landing page, keep it as low-effort as possible. Form fatigue is real. Greedy forms asking for zip codes, salary ranges, and your boss’ phone number will lead to user drop-off, or blatant lying.
4. Or make it hard
If you are looking to filter out low-quality leads or content, a high barrier to entry (i.e., anything that involves more than two clicks) will scare off the half-hearted and noncommittal.
If your goal is to gather truly amazing user-generated content, then yes, you can make the prize exceptional. Asking people to write a story, (or, more practically, a review), take a photo, or make a video makes sense if you are breaking the Don’t Give Away iPads Rule by, um, giving away iPads.
Alternately, if your goal is to gather great leads, make the task exceptionally relevant to your target demographic.
5. Promote your contest
Finally, in order to help your contest gain the traction it needs to reach critical mass, leverage your other marketing channels. Whether your contest is for Facebook alone, or is running simultaneously on your other social profiles, make sure to post about it, mention it in your newsletter, push it on your proprietary app, etc.
For instance, if you pay for Lead Ads, you can gather audience information without constructing a landing page. (That said, you will also pay for each lead.)