Struggling to increase the number of Facebook fans on your page? Trying to improve fan engagement? Run the Facebook contest!! If you have tried & failed, try again and this time around follow my top 10 tips list!
#1: Use 3rd party application
Facebook Promotions Guidelines are anything but simple, but I very much encourage you to go through them carefully when planning the Facebook contest (Guidelines). Since one of the rules is not to administer a promotion on Facebook except through the 3rd party application, using the app like WildFire (wildfireapp.com is now acquired by Google, see recommendation below) is a must.
See our recommendation for other social media tools that can help you in the process
If you risk it (many do) and run it on Facebook directly, you may get your hands slapped by getting a warning, or worse, get a beating by getting your page taken down. Your call.
#2: Give out prizes that everyone can use (& wants)
Think about your target audience first and then decide what is that they all would be interested in (i.e. hint, hint – money!!). Additionally, the prize should be motivating enough, so giving out $5 won’t get you much participation.
#3: Keep it simple.
You want as many people to participate as possible, so keep your contest simple. This means simple idea, simple rules, and simple execution. Considering that the outcome is highly uncertain (you may win, but maybe not), most people will not want to spend more than few minutes on something that may not work out.
#4: Be catchy, creative, original!
Entertain, create interest and excite! Think about something fun that your target audience is likely to participate in or identify with. Even if the idea is not that original (i.e. asking for wedding pics for wedding-themed fan page), you can introduce it in a fun, creative way that will encourage people to participate (i.e. creating a collection of lovebirds)! Simply have fun with it!
#5: Let the fans pick the winner!
Very important point – let your fans decide who wins. This is the spit to your contest fire. This phase of your contest is what will raise your fan base the most, as those pics, comments, videos collect the “likes” (on 3rd party application, of course! ;-).
#6: Partner up
It is always a good idea to partner up with someone who has a solid Facebook and/or Twitter base, as it substantially increases the audience to which you can promote your contest.
#7: Promote your contest everywhere
If your company exists offline, promote it offline (receipts, stand-up signs, bulletin board etc.). When it comes to online, the sky is the limit: your own website, blog, newsletter, email, contest websites etc.
#8: Timing is important!
The contest shouldn’t drag for months but at the same time, the time period should be long enough to spread the word and give plenty of room to people to participate. Typically 2-3 weeks is a golden middle for the picture/video contests and up to a week for the simpler ones. Also, take into consideration the circumstances, i.e. running the contest only during Holidays will much likely yield lower participation, as many people are on vacation, thus away from their computers.
#9: Create it as an event on Facebook
After you create an event with your contest information, encourage people to invite others by clicking on “Guests to Invite”. As a creator, be a good example and do it first and the others will be more likely to follow.
#10: Set reminders on Facebook & Twitter
Though it would be nice, people don’t go around thinking about your contest all the time. In fact, most will be eager to participate and later forget all about it. So don’t be shy and remind them! This doesn’t mean you’ll be sending out 10 reminders a day, but one a day on Facebook and few on Twitter are easy to swallow. Great tool for Twitter reminders & spreading the word is schmap (http://schmap.it). To remind your Facebook fans, you can schedule the updates in advance with Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc., but make sure that you change them around otherwise people will get tired of it and un-fan your page.
Editor’s Note: This article is written by Lucie Hys. At work, she is a social media specialist in the travel industry. At home, social media addict, passionate blogger & the wild child ;-) Tune in to learn, laugh, and get inspired!. You can find more information on her website and twitter.