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7 Key Things Every Great Facebook Contest Needs

7 Key Things Every Great Facebook Contest Needs

No matter how much time and effort you put into your Facebook contests, you’re simply not getting the results you want. It’s because you are trying to create a generic contest that is supposed to attract all those 1.15 billion Facebook users.

The issue is that not all Facebook users are the same as your fans. Your fans came to your page organically after a positive experience, while the people you are trying to reach have yet to even be introduced to your brand.

So how do you maximize the reach of your contest? The secret to a successful contest is crafting one that both engages current fans and introduces your brand to potential new customers eager to use your products.

Here are 7 tips you need to consider to run a great Facebook contest.

7 Things Every Great Facebook Contest Needs

#1. Offer an enticing (and relevant) prize

What is it that your fans crave? Why are they a ‘fan’ of yours in the first place?

Keep your prize consistent with your product. Offer free products, discounts, consultation or a chance to be featured. If you’re a cupcake shop, give away cupcakes, not an iPad.

#2. Pick your entry method

Consider your goals. Are you trying to generate leads? Get more likes to build your Facebook presence? Your goals should lead how you structure entry to your contest.

With Facebook’s latest changes to promotion guidelines, you can now accept likes or comments on status updates as a form of entry. This removes a lot of friction from accepting entries, but it also means you get a lot less information in return.

To ensure you get re-marketing opportunities, the tried-and-true format is to collect entries via an e-mail op-tin within a Facebook app.

#3. Include social proof

It’s human psychology to be heavily influenced by others’ experiences. Social proof is the mentality that ‘If other people are doing it, and I can trust those people, that confirms that I need to be doing it, too’.

To incorporate this into your Facebook contest, use images of those who have entered your contest.

In the screenshot below, notice how the profile pictures of all the users who have entered are highlighted within the tab. The purpose is make you say to yourself subconsciously ‘hey, that could be me!’.

7 Things Every Great Facebook Contest Needs#4. Don’t forget the fine print

Remember to include a disclaimer for your own Terms of Service as well as for Facebook. Facebook’s promotion guidelines say you are responsible for the official rules, eligibility requirements and a complete release of Facebook. Use the template below to in when you run a timeline contest via status update.

Disclaimer: This Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to *Your Page Name* and its affiliates and not to Facebook.

#5. Promotion across social networks, with partners

When your contest is live, the hardest part is gaining that initial traction. The first step you should take is to publish a status update with a direct link to the contest from your Fan Page. Once you’ve done that, you can promote your post through Facebook’s ads platform. It’s cheap and super effective for spreading your message quickly.

Send an email to your list linking telling them about your Facebook contest.

For bonus points, Tweet, Pin, Post, Share, +1, re-pin and so on. Cast your net wide and attract your following all to your Facebook Page. If done in sync, you’ll quickly draw attention to your Facebook Page.

 #6. Scarcity tactic

Contests can’t run forever, but you can always be running one. By adding a limited time period for entry, users are prompted to act quickly or miss an opportunity.

If you use a like-gate on your Facebook contest, you can brand it as for ‘Facebook Fans only’. Not only does this give your fans a warm fuzzy feeling, but you’ll drive users to like your page which gives you the opportunity to market to them again in the future.

7 Things Every Great Facebook Contest Needs

#7. Built in virality

With so many moving pieces, planning, building and promoting your Facebook contest can be a headache. Leverage common growth tactics by using built in virality to keep your contest running like a well-oiled machine.

Encourage your fans to Like, Share, and Tweet your contest to their followers before being allowed to enter their email address for a chance to win.

Run a ‘group deal’ by requiring a certain amount of entries to unlock the deal, your fans will be incentivized to share the deal with their network.

You could also give fans a reason to share your contest. Set one up so that each fan gets a unique URL when they enter to share with their network. The fan with the most clicks on their URL, wins the contest.

Your turn

How do you plan on using these tips on your next Facebook Contest?  Let me know in the comments below!

Guest Author: Alex Shamy – User Growth & Product Marketing  at Heyo. Internet explorer, defaulting to action. Passionate about growing sustainable audiences through conversion optimization, systems organization and frictionless design.



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  • Floriefemay

    I would definitely turn the just the way you
    planned it. Your methods are just simple, general in a way but I know it is
    effective as well.

    Also, a catchy theme and title of the game or contest would add up the thrill to your audience.

    Good reviews and thanks for posting Alex!

    I found and “kingged” this on the Internet marketing social site -Kingged.com

  • treb072410

    Great read… I really be using some of this tips.. Thanks for sharing!

  • treb072410

    #3. Include social proof, Built in virality, Promotion across social networks, with partners.. These are the things that caught me.. Thanks for sharing Alex…

  • An excellent post for beginners. I particularly liked ‘if you are a cupcakes’ shop, offer a cupcake and not an ipad.’ I have designed a facebook page for our next product but we plan to offer the product for free at launch (say, it is an online photo sharing tool). I had thought of offering amazon gift voucher for the contest winners but this post makes me think again now. Can you suggest something what we can offer for contest winners (considering that our product is free to use)? I appreciate your directions!

    • Hey Vinish! Maybe something as simple as sharing the user photo from the corporate account to get more exposure. Or, a $10 giftcard to a Kodak Kiosk to print photos that they are posting on your site. Goodluck with your contest! – Alex

  • Band Grrl

    My readers are mostly bands and musicians — I have suggested that they offer to play the winning fan a special song at their next gig. The contests increase follows (hopefully), build engagement AND get that fan and all their friends to their next gig. Win all around, and it doesn’t cost anything other than perhaps a bit of rehearsal time (and maybe swallowing their pride — Brown Eyed Girl anyone?)

  • Christopher Watkins

    Thanks a very interesting contribution to the ever-growing body of Facebook literature! I appreciate the specificity of focus, the clarity of prose, and in particular, found certain insights (“group deal” for example) really spot on, and a great strategy reminder. Cheers for writing this, will be a pleasure to share …


    Christopher Watkins
    Social Media Manager

  • Christopher Watkins

    Thanks a very interesting contribution to the ever-growing body of Facebook literature! I appreciate the specificity of focus, the clarity of prose, and in particular, found certain insights (“group deal” for example) really spot on, and a great strategy reminder. Cheers for writing this, will be a pleasure to share …


    Christopher Watkins
    Social Media Manager