The year is 2017, and social media is showing no sign of relinquishing its role as one of the most powerful promotional tools in the world. Due to its popularity, the ability to ‘stand out’ as a brand on social media is essential for success. Promoting a brand and its products/services through a competition is a great way to get peoples attention. Use these tips to create contest that helps your business achieve its goals.

Know The Facebook Guidelines
Facebook’s guidelines are change regularly to keep pace with new developments in technology and security. Before you begin planning your contest, double check the guidelines to ensure you operate within the rules.

Understand Your Market

The key to any successful social media campaign, including Facebook competitions, is knowing the target market inside out. Not just the basics – like their age, gender, income and location – but also their lifestyle, personalities AND the kind of promotional content they respond to. Knowing this will help you develop your contest into something that calls them to action, rather than something they just swipe right past.

Set a Goal
There are many reasons to run a Facebook contest. For example:

  • To generate new e-mails/leads
  • To grow brand awareness
  • To increase the ‘likes’ on your Facebook page
  • To build a catalogue of user-generated content

Each of these goals can be achieved using a competition. For every entry, you may require an e-mail address and/or phone number – hello new leads! You may also require users to share a post or like your page, actions that will appear on the news feeds of their friends. The contest may even involve creating their own content, such as photos or videos, which can later be used to promote your brand. Whatever your objective, make it SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely). Ticking all the ‘SMART’ boxes will ensure the competition is a success.

Select Contest Type
There are two types of contests used on Facebook:

  • Game of Chance (e.g. like to win, details to win, vote to win)
  • Game of Skill (e.g. best photo or video, write in 25 words or less)

You need to decide which type best suits your purpose. If you’re simply looking to increase your leads, a game of chance is going to be the easiest and quickest way to do that. On the other hand, games of skill are perfect for getting user-generated content.

Use the Right Software

To gather information and to draw a winner in a game of chance, you will require competition software. Search for software with features such as: security to protect user information, the ability to enable voter-verification and programs that will help you organise high volumes of data. For example, Shortstack lets you create Facebook apps with built-in voting restrictions and fraud prevention.

Have a Timeframe

It is essential to choose the period of time your competition will run, and to make the timeframe known to those who enter. Bigger, more expensive prize pools tend to have longer time frames, whereas contests with smaller prizes have shorter ones.

Choose the Rules and Criteria

Every competition needs to have rules, and it’s important you set these early on. Like the timeframe, the rules and criteria need to be visible to people entering the competition. Examples of common contest rules include: ‘Australian residents only’, ‘must be aged 18 or over to enter’ or ‘must be subscribed to ‘x’. Smaller businesses can limit their contests even further by creating more specific criteria, such as: ‘must live in 15km radius’. In a game of skill contest, the criteria may state that ‘the photo or video content must include ‘x’ product’ or ‘must be family friendly’. Any entries that don’t meet this criteria will be excluded from the competition. Finally, the rules should also detail how, when and where the winner will be chosen, and how that winner will be notified.

Promote your Prize
Why do people enter a competition? For the prize! If you don’t share your prize, people will not be enticed to participate. Create lots of different content that includes your prize, such as social media posts, advertisements and blog posts. Seeding out the prize to an influencer in the lead up to the contest may also increase interest and encourage their followers to enter.

Share a Unique Hashtag

Hashtags will not be going out of style in 2017 – they will be more important than ever. However, simply using generic tags will not get you the visibility you need. You should have a unique hashtag for your brand, and another for your contest. Whenever you (or consumers) share content relevant to the competition, the tags should be used, so be sure to make them catchy.

Ensure you review the competition permits in your state

When you are running a large competition you need to ensure that it abides by the rules of your local state or country. These rules differ by the type of competition you run and the size. It is always advisable to review guidelines as an example the NSW Government has some great information on this here.

Reward the Winner and Other Entrants
Once the winner has been drawn, hastily get in contact and organise for them to receive their prize. Encourage them to share it on social media. It can also be beneficial to reward everyone who has entered the competition. An example of such a reward is a discount on their next shop – not only is it a nice gesture, it also gives them a reason to buy!

As you can see, there are many facets to a Facebook competition that make it work effectively. Set aside some time to plan your contest and cover all bases. A well-planned and well-run Facebook competition has the power to generate brand awareness, build on your leads, help you engage with customers and, as a result, increase sales.