10 Top Tips for Running a B2C Contest on Facebook

FULL_blog-fbcontestBy now, your business should have a Facebook page. But are you familiar with running contests on Facebook?

They can be mutually beneficial for both your business and your consumers. Contests allow us to reward our Facebook fans with prizes and gifts, and in turn we build on our relationships with online customers (as well as our email lists and Facebook likes).

There are many factors involved in running a successful contest. Below are some strategies that you should consider implementing in your Facebook contest process in order to maximize its success.

Wishpond how to run contests on Facebook

Above Photo Contest by: Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

These Facebook Contest tips will help both the beginners and experienced marketers.

Here are the 10 top tips for running a contest on Facebook:

1. Brand your Facebook page according to the contest.

Create a cover photo, tab image (and maybe even a like-gate image) specific to your contest. This will create a consistent environment on your Facebook page for your contest. Below is an example of a contest by London Drugs (a Canadian retailer).

How to run contests on Facebook

The banner image on this contest was used as the cover photo on the Facebook page. This can work for your contest as well.

 2. Be clear and concise about contest entry rules and regulations.

Make sure you clearly outline the steps needed in order to properly enter your contest. Make use of paragraphs and bolded words in order to make the rules in the description easy to consume.

Also, make sure to clarify in the rules & regulations if you’ll be using the material entrants provide for your business. This could happen if you’d like to use photos that participants have submitted (known as user-generated content a.k.a. UGC). User-generated content is particularly great for use on Facebook, Pinterest or even your blog (especially if your business industry is retail).

3. Make sure your contest appeals to your target market.

I’ve literally seen thousands of B2C contests on Facebook. Some get great virality, some do not. The contests that succeed are ones that appeal to the lifestyle and interests of the company’s target market. The ones that do not are those giving away a free iPad, or another incentive that’s totally unrelated to the business.

Giving away a gift card for your products/services is smart because you will get people who are most definitely interested in your business, and it lets them choose their prize. Offering a product/service works effectively as well.

4. Put a reasonable time limit on your Facebook contest.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a business run a Facebook Contest for o By stretching your contest out this long will mean people will lose interest and likely forget they have even entered.

Try to keep them shorter than a month (if possible), otherwise people will forget about your contest – and the chance of winning creates awesome anticipation for when you announce the winner on your Facebook page (highly recommended)!

Give it a logical time limit relative to the type of Facebook Contest you’re holding. A week is a good general time limit for most Facebook Contests.

Facebook contests

5. Make sure your Facebook Contest is optimized for mobile.

Did you know that Facebook now has 1 billion active monthly mobile users? So it’s pretty self-explanatory why your Facebook contest has to be optimized for mobile.

Don’t worry, lots of third party Facebook apps (like Wishpond’s) are mobile-friendly.

6. Attract new leads with syndication.

Not only should you promote your Facebook Contest on your other various social networks (such as Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.), you should promote your contest on websites that host social contests.

There are many websites that promote contests such as yours (for free, too!) These websites attract thousands of users per day who love to enter and share contests with their friends on Facebook. They’re great for Facebook pages with lower engagement on their page.

Here’s an article covering the top 19 websites you should post your contests.

7. Grow your email list.

B2C companies will often hold  “do it yourself contests” where they require you to share or comment on a photo in order to enter their Facebook contest. There are no long-term benefits from this method. This attempt at engagement will not get you any leads for your email list.

I would recommend using a third party app that gives you all you need to create a successful online contest.

Email is still king of online marketing and should be treated as such. It can be very personal and direct, and it’s what going to give you the best ability to convert the leads you’ve gathered from your contest. Collecting emails from contests is a key factor to getting the most out of your contest.

 8. Use Facebook Ads to promote your contest.

Facebook Ads can do a grow the engagement of your contest substantially – if you know how to use them correctly. Who doesn’t want more targeted leads, right?

To learn how to get ROI out of your Facebook Ads, check out this informative article: Using Ads to Get the Most out of Facebook Contests.

 9. Offer a consolation prize to non-winners.

If you’ve read the third point, you’ll know that it’s important to give away a relevant prize – and offering a “better luck next time” offer works hand-in-hand with this strategy. Most people who entered your contest should actually be interested in your products/services.

It’s now time to show your Facebook Contest entrants appreciation for their involvement – send out a doable discount as as a consolation prize. Do this with an email blast to participants with a 25% off coupon (for example). This way, they’ll feel better about the loss (warming your leads up) – and the odds are they’ll either pay you or your website a visit.

 10. Run contests consistently.

If you run Facebook Contests on a regular basis, your fans will wait around for the next one. This keeps fans coming back to your Facebook Page constantly. It’s a good idea to run a contest one or two times per month (I’ve even seen people run 3 at a time!).

Keep things fresh by running different types of contests, there are a ton out there! Here are 5 types to get your ideas going:

  • Sweepstakes
  • Photo Contest
  • Video Contest
  • Essay Contest
  • Photo Caption Contest (these are really fun for participants)

I hope those tips help you refine your process of running a Facebook Contest.

Bonus tip: Remember that contests are generally supposed to be fun for your customers. Brainstorm a few ideas and run it past your colleagues or employees to see which idea they like best.

Cara Tarbaj is a social media marketer at Wishpond. She manages various social media accounts for clients, and also writes blog posts for Wishpond. Wishpond makes easy online marketing tools (from landing page templates, online ads, social engagement tools and email automation). If you have any questions about running Facebook Contests, please tweet at Cara Tarbaj on Twitter.

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