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8 questions to ask before your brand runs a Facebook contest

Last month, Facebook changed its promotion and contest guidelines, making it easier for businesses and brands to hold contests. Gone are the days of strict rules and third-party apps. If you’re a small business owner, rejoice!

Here are 8 questions to ask before your brand runs a contest on Facebook:

1.     Did you set any goals? It’s crucial to establish your objectives before launching a promotional campaign. What are you trying to achieve? Focus on your needs. Are you promoting your latest product? Repositioning your brand? Do you want more Facebook followers, new e-mails and leads, more traffic to your website, or immediate sales? All of these can be achieved through Facebook contests.

2.     What’s your type? Based on your goal, determine which type of contest is best for you.

  • Sweepstakes: Increases Facebook followers
  • Group deal/Coupon: Promotes immediate sales
  • Photo/Essay/Video: Increases engagement through user-generated content
  • Any app contest: Offers list of e-mail addresses

3.     Is your prize relevant? Prize value should always be in-line with the time commitment. Offer smaller prizes for sweepstakes, and much larger prizes for an essay contest. Motivate contestants! And choose prizes relevant to your business. Offer gift cards to your store, an experience money can’t buy, the product you’re promoting, discounts, etc.

4.     Do you know about Facebook guidelines? Facebook is clearly more lenient now than ever about their contest guidelines. But don’t be fooled, there are still a lot of dos and don’ts you must be aware of.

You can’t ask people to:

  • Share a post or a photo to be entered
  • Share a contest on a personal account
  • Require contestants to tag themselves in a photo to enter

But you can:

  • Ask entrants to use the “like” button as a voting mechanism
  • Require contestants post something on your page to enter
  • Announce the winner on your page
  • Expect contestants to return to your page at a later date to vote

5.     Is it short and simple? Most contests should last a week at the very most. Anything more will diminish motivation. Consider weekly contests to develop momentum and gain consistent traffic to your Facebook page. And are the contest rules clear? Make it easy to enter. The more complicated it is, the less entries you’ll receive.

6.     Are you promoting it? Promote your Facebook contest on Twitter, your blog, an e-mail newsletter, etc. Your social media strategy thrives on cross-platform promotion. You could even pay for advertisement on Facebook itself. Post reminders about contest deadline and update the promotion’s status. Encourage the use of #hashtags by including them in your contest instructions, on Twitter, etc.

7.     Are you tracking the data? Look at the metrics. Who participated? How many new followers do you have? Who was most engaged? Use the contest as a means to gather information about your customers.

8.     Did you follow up? Don’t forget to announce the winner(s). Let the contestants know who won by posting names on your Facebook page, or by e-mail when applicable. Thank those who haven’t won’t for their effort and participation.

Good luck!

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