Why You Should Run a Contest as Part of a Facebook Marketing Strategy?

Before you put your product’s Facebook contest out there, make sure that you have everything in place to kick it off with a bang. You may be spending money on the contest application, and you want to make sure that you’re getting the maximum benefit. You also want to make sure that the contest is well thought out so that you don’t get negative results.

Benefits

Following are some of the benefits of running a contest:

  • Increased traffic to your Facebook Page: If you’re promoting your contest well and encouraging people to enter via an app on your Page, you’ll have increased traffic. Make sure that you set up the marketing schedule so that you promote consistently throughout the contest.

  • Reward for your community: A contest can reward some of the members of your community and keep them interested in your Page.

  • Increased participation: By opting in to your contest, your community members are participating more, which encourages more participation in the future, especially if you’re having a true contest in which people vote.

  • More likes: You should require people to like your Page when you run your contest. Just remember that people also have to officially enter within your contest application.

  • More newsletter subscribers: Not everyone is reading your updates on Facebook all the time. E-mail is still a great method of communication when you really need to get the word out about something in your business.

  • Buzz: Well-run contests can generate buzz and get people excited about your product or brand.

Disadvantages

Some of the disadvantages of running a contest are as follows:

  • Investment of time: Promoting and marketing your contest can take time. Good promotion can take a lot of time, possibly taking time away from your core business. Make sure to plan your contest during a time when you won’t be caught trying to do too much at once.

  • Investment of money: Your contest may cost money to run; the prize also may cost money. Depending on how nice the prize is, you could spend a lot of money. If you don’t receive the benefits you were hoping for, such as a large group of new likers, giving out that prize can feel painful. Again, planning and promotion can help you get the benefits you’re looking for.

  • Possible community dissatisfaction: Some people just don’t like contests. If judging is involved, people may get angry if they feel that the judging wasn’t done properly, and this situation can create some bad buzz around your brand. Others don’t like contests that involve voting because it can cause continual updates of people begging for votes.

    One way to combat this potential dissatisfaction may be to think of a special gift for everyone who enters. That gift doesn’t have to cost much money. It could be a special e-book or discount given only to contest entrants. Even just a personal note thanking people for entering and for their participation can go a long way to fostering good feelings about your contest.

    You can also think about retaining some of the judging rights so that your contest winner isn’t based on votes alone. Retaining some of the judging rights also gives you some control over the best candidate when the voting is close.

How will you be able to ensure that your contest is successful? The key is the system you have in place to handle the entries and marketing: the third-party application or the application you design yourself.

The nice thing about third-party applications is that they handle entries, voting, rule posting, and winner selection within Facebook guidelines. The applications make it easy to run a professional, well-designed contest.

Sometimes, you may not be sure what prize you want to offer or what would get the most response from your community. The best way to overcome this obstacle is to ask your users.

You can create a poll or survey easily at sites like SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang. You can use the Question tool in the Facebook Publisher to create a poll for your Page. You can ask, “What prize would you like to receive if I held a Facebook contest?” and then add prize options that people can vote on.

You may be deciding among two or three prizes, and involving your audience in the decision builds more about for the prize and also builds more buzz around the contest. If you don’t have any ideas, your audience can help suggest things, but you may not get a consensus.

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