Why Facebook contests are powerful and how to make one

Facebook contests are a great way to build brand awareness and grow online engagement for your brand or business.

While contests are popular across all social media platforms, due to the large number of users and features, Facebook is one of the most popular platforms.

Thanks to the tremendously powerful targeting options, Facebook lets you get specific on exactly who you want to enter and engage with your contest.

However, when creating Facebook contests, you need to be careful.

Facebook has strict rules and regulations, and you don’t want to get caught violating these terms or you’ll find yourself in trouble with both Facebook and your fans.

Here are 14 tips that you can apply to ensure your next Facebook contest is a success:

  1. Follow the rules: familiarize yourself with Facebook’s rules and regulations for contests to ensure that you’re crafting yours to be compliant from the start. Since these guidelines change regularly, I recommend bookmarking this page so you can easily refer to it for future contests.
  2. Goal setting: be clear on exactly what you want to achieve as a result of running the contest, whether that is 100 page likes in 1 week or 5 new email subscribers in 5 days. Get specific on your goals, and set reasonable targets so you set yourself up for success.
  3. Contest type: decide the type of contest you’re going to run – whether it’s caption, photo or video voting and/or a sweepstakes. Sweepstakes are easy and popular due to their ease of entry. However, if the prize is tremendous, you might want to consider developing a user-generated content contest that asks a little more from your audience to enter.
  4. Data determination: depending upon the type of contest you choose, be sure that you’ve got a platform that will help you collect, track and analyze the data received throughout the duration of the contest. This will be the only way to measure whether the contest was a success.
  5. Pick the prize: pick a prize that is going to be valuable to your audience. The prize has to be good enough to entice users to enter the contest, so put yourself in the shoes of your online audience when thinking what to reward entrants with. The best prizes are somehow tied to the brand.
  6. Nitty gritty details: hone in on all of the details before you create your contest. Get clear on the goals, the way you’re going to track and analyze entries and how you’re going to promote it. Create a contest hashtag that can be used for tracking and promotional purposes, and mock up a document that starts to plan all of the details about the prize, entry and timeline details. You’ll use this document to create the rules.
  7. Make the rules: now that you have the details, you’ve got to craft the rules. Include eligibility requirements (such as age and location,) and what users must do (enter their email, submit a photo, etc) to be entered to win. State what the contest timeline is, the prize and it’s value, and exactly how and when a winner will be chosen. Be sure to include a line that states if you detect fraud, you have the right to select a winner.
  8. Impactful imagery: if you want your contest to perform well, it must be paired with impactful imagery. Get a photo of the prize and use that in your promotional materials and postings about the contest. Ideally, the contest imagery should grab attention and entice people to fill out the entry form immediately. If you’re creating any promotional imagery to promote the contest, include the contest’s hashtag on it as well as your logo to stimulate brand awareness.
  9. Trial and test: before you launch the contest, do a trial entry yourself to ensure that everything is working. You want to test to see how your contest looks and functions across mobile and desktop to ensure that the user-experience is seamless regardless of the device being used.
  10. Cut the clutter: make your contest entry form clean, short and simple. Don’t clutter it up with tons of graphics and colors. Instead, only ask for the necessary information. If you ask users for too much information, they’ll be turned off and will skip the entry form altogether. Instead, focus on 2-3 fields of information; this will increase the likelihood that you’ll get responses.
  11. Share on social: ensure that the contest is shareable through all social media networks. This will help encourage more entries and engagement.
  12. Press and promote: spread the word about your contest through all of your social media networks, even the ones that the contest isn’t run on. The success of your contest hinges on the promotional strategy. Plan ahead on how, where and how often you’ll talk about your contest online so that you know you’re not missing out on any opportunities to create buzz.
  13. Active engagement: throughout the contest, be sure to engage with participants. Thank people for entering, share snippets of high-quality entries on your own social media accounts, and monitor the conversation happening using the contest’s hashtag. Monitoring the hashtag is important, as you want to ensure it stays on-brand and isn’t abused.
  14. Real rewards: when you announce the winner, spread the word across all social networks! Ideally, when you announce, you include a photo of the winner, the prize and/or the winner’s entry. Thank all entrants as a way of showing them your appreciation for taking the time to enter your contest.

While it’s a lofty list, I guarantee that implementing even just a few of these tactics will result in greater participation and promotion of your next social media contest. 

Have you created a successful contest through social media?

What platforms, tactics and/or tips do you have to share to make it successful?

Comment below!

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