Facebook contests and giveaways are very popular these days. It’s rare to not see posts from friends who have just entered to win a gift card or an iPad. It’s just as rare to not see posts from company pages that you like promoting their latest sweepstakes and how you can win. Contests are a great way to generate buzz about your brand on the largest social network around. However, there are a few problems that many businesses run into when it comes to making Facebook contests a part of their social media strategy. Below is just the tip of the iceberg that I hope will create some conversation and get you thinking about the use of contests in your social media strategy.
You are not allowed to run contests on the Facebook platform.
According to Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines, companies are not allowed to run contests or giveaways using the Facebook platform. This means that you can’t ask a question in a post and randomly pick a winner from the comment thread. You’re also not allowed to run a contest through voting in your photo albums. Essentially, if a tool or feature is native to Facebook you’re not allowed to use it for running your contest.
So what is the right way to run a contest? Third party applications. These applications integrate with Facebook but they are not part of Facebook, they are not running on Facebook’s servers. These applications allow you to run fan generated contests, sweepstakes and other types of promotions. This is the only way that Facebook allows you to run contests. Unfortunately, many either ignore this rule or simply don’t know it exists. You’re also not allowed to announce contest winners using the Facebook platform. Winners must be contacted in private through email, phone or some other method.
It’s important to run your contests the right way so that you won’t potentially lose all that you’ve worked for in building your Facebook presence.
The contest is over. Now what?
Picture this: Today is the big day. For the past month your company has been running and promoting a sweepstakes on your Facebook page to give away an excellent prize. You check your page insights and see that your interactions, impressions and new likes have skyrocketed over the last few weeks. You’ve managed to gain hundreds, maybe even thousands of new likes on the page. You’re ecstatic. All these new people have seen your logo and shown interest in your company (or at least the contest). You draw the winner, give them their prize and thank all the entrants for participating. You go home for the weekend and relax knowing that you have succeeded on Facebook. Monday morning comes and you sign into Facebook as soon as you sit down at your desk. You pull up your company page, click the text box to begin writing a post when you suddenly stop and think “What now?”
As I said before, running contests through Facebook is an excellent way to generate buzz, gain more likes and to simply show community appreciation. I also believe that these special promotions can be a part of everyone’s social media strategy in some form or fashion. However, contests cannot be your entire social media strategy. If you do nothing but continually run contests how will your business truly benefit? You may have 10,000 likes on your Facebook page or 10,000 followers on Twitter but are those individuals truly relevant to your business? You need to provide true value to your online community or else they will leave. If they don’t care about your products or service then they will probably leave as soon as the contest is over. Give your followers a reason to stick around, give something of value.
Your business needs a social media strategy that makes education and customer service a priority. Yes, you should grow your page as time goes on with various promotions. But the true value lies in the content that you’re putting out there and the conversation that takes place around your brand daily.
Our goal at A2Z is to help businesses use social media in a way that is effective in giving value to the online community, creating awareness about your products and services and bringing you more business. Contests help but they cannot do it all.
Are contests part of your social media strategy? Based on what you read above, are you running them the right way?