Engage Your Facebook Fans with ContestsBy Toby Russell
Holding a contest on Facebook is a great way to engage your followers, attract new ones, and increase your presence on the world’s biggest social media site. Contests have always been used by companies to promote their products and services, but Facebook makes it even easier. Here’s how it’s done.
Follow the Rules
The first step if you’ve never run a contest before is to get acquainted with the rules. Facebook has strict guidelines on holding a contest and if you break these rules, your fan page can get shut down. Here are the guidelines – http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php#promotionsguidelines.
It’s pretty dry reading but at least it’s short and to the point. The main thing about these rules is that Facebook wants to avoid liability for anything that happens in your promotion.
Contests are fun but they’re not profitable for every kind of business. Start by sitting down and deciding exactly what you hope to achieve with your contest. More fans or likes? Sign-ups for your email marketing list? Ideas for products and services or crowdsourcing?
Some businesses may not even benefit at all from a contest. If you’re in a very narrow niche market selling services to other business, for example, you may not get anything out of the contest. By clearly defining your goals, you’ll be able to determine whether or not it’s an appropriate marketing tool for you.
Create a Prize
Your prize needs to be something valuable and worthwhile that your fans can use. You’re asking them to give up their email address or other information, and people won’t part with this for nothing. Don’t worry if you have to invest some money in the prize because if you run your contest right, it will pay you back in the end.
Third Party Apps
You can’t run a contest directly on your wall or fan page. You have to do it through third-party apps that appear as a tab on your page. There are a number of companies that administer Facebook contests. They include:
Wildfire – www.wildfireapp.com/
Votigo – www.votigo.com/
Fanappz – fanappz.com/
Woobox – www.woobox.com/
Offerpop – www.offerpop.com/
There are many, many more and by the time you read this, there may be new ones. I encourage you to do a search in Google using keywords related to your company’s niche. You may uncover something specific to your niche.
Promoting Your Contest
Of course, you should go all out to promote your contest on Facebook. But use other marketing avenues as well. Tell everyone on your website, blog, and other social media sites, and use a shortened link to get them there.
Let your contest run for a while. Part of what will attract people to it is word of mouth, and it takes time for that word to spread. One month is a good length of time for a contest, but it’s impossible to run one for too long. The longer it runs the more people you’ll attract.
Remember that the bottom line of a contest is fun. You need to keep them entertained. They won’t be participating just for that prize but for the sheer joy of doing it. If your contest is fun, the next one will be an even bigger success.
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