What you need to know about Facebook Contests.

I rarely enter contests and I find most contests on Facebook and Instagram are very spammy… Like my page, tag your friends, comment, share this post… Really?! Could you make it any more difficult for me to engage with your brand? I really dislike spam. If entered most contests found on social media telling me to share this and that to my timeline, I would become the spammer. No thanks.

Despite my own personal distaste for the way many contests are run on social media, as a marketer and marketing coach for start-ups and small businesses, I know they represent a great way to draw attention to your business. But, just focusing on short-term reach will actually leave you in a worst spot than before you started. Contests start to work for your biz when you have the right strategy to turn those eyeballs into tangible results for your small business.

Get familiar with Facebook’s rules for Contests

Facebook cares about the user experience and have put rules in place to help control both the experience and safety of their users, and to protect themselves from liability. You can and should read all about them here. In case, you don’t, here are some that you should know even if the contest is just a glimmer in your eye right now.

  1. You are not supposed to tag bait. What this means is don’t ask people as a requirement for entry to tag someone. (Note- This rule does not apply to Instagram contest.)
  2. You are not allowed to require people to share the post to their own personal timeline to enter.
  3. And, you must always have a legal line that includes that Facebook is not affiliated with your contest. You also need to add “the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.”

If people followed those rules, the user experience for contests would improve drastically. But if you can’t require people to share your post or tag their friends to enter, how will you get the reach?

How about creating a contest worth sharing?! Yes- this might take some extra creativity, but aren’t your current and future customers worth it?

And, how about focusing on getting the right people to see your contest instead of just looking for numbers?

Stop focusing on just getting fans

Building a huge fan base who will never engage with your page is not a smart Facebook contest strategy anymore. Obviously, a large fan base does add some credibility so in that way, it’s good. But, when people within the large base aren’t engaging with your content, it tells Facebook that your page doesn’t provide valuable content. The result is that your posts will actually not be delivered to your fans’ feeds as often.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a smaller base of engaged fans who will actually see my posts. So that eventually they may become customers. What is the point of having 5000 followers if it means that your engagement rate is so low that hardly any of them ever see a post you make?

Set an objective for your contest

The key is to have an objective for your contest. What do you want to ultimately accomplish? Is it more sales? Awareness? Trust? Emails to nurture? Leads? Whatever it is, don’t let it just be more followers! Look at the contest as a hook to draw attention to your page. Then use your page to reach goals that will actually benefit your biz.

Once you have your objective, build the contest around your ideal customers. Make it easy for them to enter. And, make it compelling enough for them to want to share it with their friends. If you want engagement, use video (with captions), ask them an easy question and collect their email address using a simple landing page.

After all, if you are going to the trouble to run a contest, get their email so you can nurture them with follow up emails that will also be of interest.

Pump out more content during your contest

My partner and the co-founder of The Handled Club, Erica Waddell, insists that having a strong content strategy both during and following your contest is the key. I completely agree. Once someone engages with your page through the contest, you need to keep them engaged.

The contest is the hook to get their attention, but the way to win in this contest game is to keep them engaged. For example, if you are a hotel and your contest is for a free weekend away over the Spring Break, it is probably safe to say that the entrants are interested in the prize. During and after the contest, share more details about your hotel, your city and how you celebrate Spring Break in your area. Share some behind-the-scenes on preparations, the menu at the restaurant and other great attractions. Just sharing about the contest will not keep them engaged.

Draw attention with ads

Erica also suggests having an ad strategy based on look-a-like audiences to extend the reach to the most likely to engage people. Yes, it may cost a bit more than asking the entrants to spam their feeds and their friends, but the result is, you just might attract more people who might actually be interested in your business!

Get more strategic about Facebook overall

Over in the Handled Club Erica and I teach business owners to be more strategic and consistent in their Facebook efforts. We teach them to be strategic about contests, their process and their overall Facebook Strategy so they can actually get some tangible results.

In the meantime, if you like my page, share this blog to your timeline, tag 20 friends and comment on my Facebook page, I’ll let you enter my contest. 😉

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