Running a Facebook competition can be a great addition to your social media marketing plan. In one of my recent surveys, I found out that 32% of all Facebook users have liked a Page because of a contest on Facebook. So, if you’re trying to get more followers and (more importantly) increase engagement, a Facebook competition may be the perfect tactic to use.

Over the years I’ve helped a lot of businesses create Facebook competitions and I’ve learned something every time. So, what is needed to create a successful Facebook competition? As with any social media marketing endeavour, success comes from good planning, management and follow-up.

Here are my seven top tips for companies that want to build a successful Facebook competition.

1. Set a goal and a budget

Why should you have a contest on Facebook? If your answer is “because it’s fun” or “all of my competitors are doing it”, it’s time for you to go back to the drawing board. Your Facebook competition should somehow contribute to a marketing goal. Do you want more reach? More likes? More sales? Don’t forget that your marketing goal should link back to a business objective too, for example, increase sales or grow your current client accounts.

Say your goal is to drive more likes to your page and each like is worth £5 to you. If the Facebook competition prize will cost you £100, then you will need to get 20 new likes to recoup this cost. Don’t forget set-up costs; you will also need to consider the cost of your Facebook App (more on that later) and any advertising you plan to support your contest on Facebook.

How you calculate what your goal is worth will be unique for your company, but the important thing is that you have a goal and that you can easily measure the success of your contest.

2. Keep the messaging simple

Make sure that you end up with a Facebook competition that users can easily understand and that encourages them to share. Consider four popular types:

  • A simple “Motivate and Win” Facebook competition with a Like-gate, where the components of the contest application are available only to users who like your Page. These are useful if your aim is to grow your Facebook community.
  • A contest with a few questions, the answers to which users can find the answers on your website. These are especially useful if your goal is to drive traffic to your website.
  • A competition in which the user needs to vote on other users’ contributions. These usually generate a lot of buzz and get a lovely viral spread as well.
  • A Facebook competition offering a prize to people who share your content. These can be very effective in increasing awareness of your offerings.

The key here is to keep it simple and give the user the ability (and incentive) to share the contest on Facebook with their friends.

3. Ensure your contest on Facebook is accessible on mobile devices

80% of social media usage is consumed via mobile, so running a Facebook competition that only works on a desktop is a big no-no! Consumer behaviour on mobile is also different to desktop. For example, if you have a video explaining the rules of the Facebook competition, ensure you add subtitles since 85 % of Facebook video is watched without soundIt’s also wise to keep the content engaging by optimising it for a smaller screen and making the content readable vertically.

4. Regularly post about the Facebook competition

If nobody knows about your Facebook competition, nobody will participate. Make sure all of your followers and their friends know about the contest by publishing new posts at least 2 – 3 times per week. Offer images of the prize and describe what you can do with it, ask users to participate, and include other calls to action to get more followers to participate in the Facebook competition. You can also change your cover photo and point users to your contest.

5. Promote the contest on your website, in newsletters and through ads

Just because you’re hosting your contest on Facebook, it doesn’t mean that Facebook should be the only place where you promote it. Add links and banners to your website to make sure visitors are informed about the Facebook competition and include information on it in your customer newsletters. In my experience, advertising on Facebook has been crucial for contests – just make sure that your ads are targeting the right audience (e.g. don’t target Italy if you’re aiming to increase business in the UK). Try to use multiple ad formats to see which delivers the best results.

6. Send your congratulations to the winner

When the Facebook competition is over, you should show the joy that the contest gave all participants and/or winners. You might, for example, take a picture of the lucky winner and publish it on your timeline. Just keep in mind that, according to Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines, you can’t notify a winner using the Facebook platform. Also consider talking to the winner or some of the participants to get their feedback on the contest, and then use that feedback to optimise future Facebook competitions.

7. Analyse and learn

When you have done all the above, it’s time to become a “number nerd.” Measure progress toward the goals you picked in Step 1 and how well the Facebook competition contributed to your business goals. Check Facebook Insights to see how many people visited your contest, how many more likes you received during the competition period, how your reach was affected during the timeframe, and so on. Make sure you understand what contributed to the success of your Facebook competition and think about what you can do differently the next time around. Then it’s time to start planning for the next contest on Facebook. 😉

To sum things up, set a goal, create a plan, build an app with shareable content, let the world know about your contest, and keep it simple and fun.

Are there any good tips I missed for running a successful Facebook competiton? Add a comment below!

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