Everyone loves a good Facebook contest, especially the businesses that hold them. With a Facebook contest, you can easily promote your brand and its products and services. You’ll see a jump in the number of page “likes” and hopefully even a bit more fan engagement. One lucky fan gets a prize and your business gets more fans. It’s a win-win.
What most businesses don’t know, though, is that there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a Facebook contest. And doing it the wrong way can lead to the removal of your Facebook page.
Facebook does have guidelines in place that deal with contests on your brand page. Make sure you know what the rules are before you run your next contest or else you could find yourself left out in the cold with no more Facebook page.
1. All Facebook contests have to be managed with Apps on Facebook. That means you can’t just write up a quick post that says: “The comment with the most likes wins!!” So, if you don’t know much about developing Facebook apps, you’ll either need to pay someone to set it up for you or use a third-party contest app, like Wildfire.
2. Entry into a contest cannot be based on Facebook features and functions. The “like” button cannot be used as a voting mechanism for your contest. You cannot base the contest on fans “liking” a specific post, leaving a comment or uploading a photo to your Wall. It is okay to ask for people to “like” your page in order to enter, but you can’t enter everyone that likes your page into the contest automatically.
3. You cannot notify the winner via Facebook. Once you have a contest winner, you are not allowed to tell them through chat, message or a Page or Timeline post.
4. Your promotions cannot be associated with Facebook. For every contest, you must include statements to the effect that Facebook does not sponsor, administer or endorse the promotion. Disclose to the entrants that the information in not being provided to Facebook, just the recipient. Each participant must acknowledge that Facebook is not responsible for the contest and its outcome.
Preparing Your Contest
Like anything you do on Facebook, you need to plan! Set your goals for each contest. How many people do you want to enter? How are you going to promote the contest? What is your anticipated result? What will you get out of this?
Next, decide what the prize is going to be. You want something that is going to be valuable to the contestant, and that doesn’t necessarily mean “expensive.” Find out from your readers what they would like to get. Maybe a free copy of your e-book, a free consultation, or even a chance to write a guest post on your blog. These types of contests have the added bonus of promoting your brand even to those who don’t win.
Once you have all the details of your contest worked out and have it set up, you need to promote it! Tweet about it, leave links to it wherever you can (website, blog, Facebook wall, etc.), email people and send out press releases. The more the word spreads, the greater the response you will have to your contest.
Facebook contests are a great tool for reaching out to new fans and engaging with the already-devoted ones. Have you run a Facebook contest yet? Did you follow the rules? What were your results? Share with us!