Contests Can Energize Your Facebook Marketing

One guiding principle for designing your Facebook contest is to make it fun. People enjoy the chance of winning something for free. Make it valuable for your audience and beneficial for you.

Also, you need to decide how to administer the contest according to Facebook’s contest and promotional rules. The easiest way is to run your contest through a third-party application. The second option for running a contest is to consider designing the contest application yourself.

You have more control over how your contest works if you design it yourself but you will have to code your contest on a separate website and then use an iFrame application to bring the website onto a tab on your Facebook Page.

You have several issues to consider when designing your contest:

  • Type of contest: It can be a sweepstakes in which the winner is drawn at random or a contest in which people vote for the winner.

  • Requirements for entry: Will you have users upload a photo, send a short essay about why they should win, like your Page as part of the requirements, or just enter their name and e-mail address? If you make the contest too difficult, you may not get many entrants. Make sure that you make the contest fun, and you’ll have a better chance of having people spread the word.

    If you intend to have people upload content, it can be more entertaining to have the winner picked by a community vote. This method gives people a reason to come back and check on the progress of their picks.

  • Prizes: Although it helps to have a big budget so you offer something like a seven-night beach getaway, you can still offer something valuable to your community even if you own a small business. Spend some time considering the prize, and maybe even poll your audience members to see what they’d like.

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  • Length of contest: How long will your contest run? If it requires voting, how long will the voting period be? Will you have a judging period to narrow the entrants and then allow people to vote on the ones you selected? Many places recommend a one-month contest period to allow time for word of mouth to spread.

    This period is definitely appropriate if you have photo or video requirements for entry. A sweepstakes can be shorter if necessary. You have to factor in how much time you want to allow for promotion. If you are running the contest for a month, you need to promote it heavily for a month, so factor this requirement into your marketing schedule.

Facebook has strict rules about contests. The biggest rule is that contests and promotions may not be administered through Facebook unless they’re administered through an application. You can build the application yourself or use a third-party application designed specifically for contests and sweepstakes (Wildfire, Votigo, and so on). You can’t collect entries, conduct a drawing, or notify winners through any Facebook function other than an app.

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