Six things to think about when running a Facebook competition
There was a time when running a competition via Facebook required the use of an app to comply with Facebook’s T&Cs – although you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise with the sheer volume of ‘like to win’ style competitions that are prevalent on Facebook. A Facebook app works as an extension to the company Facebook page with customised elements. To the user, the experience is seamless with the app feeling as though it is part of the original Facebook page, but unfortunately the overhead of coding, design and project management can be time-consuming and costly.
Those days are now behind us. As of 27th August 2013 Facebook has removed the requirement for promotions to be run through an app, making these type of competitions more accessible for businesses. The advantage now is that a competition can be turned around quickly, driven by quality user-generated content and scaled to work with comparatively lower budgets.
Facebook has relaxed its promotions guidelines. So long as you comply with the requirement to be upfront and open about what you are doing, take responsibility for the data you collect and include a statement releasing Facebook of any association or endorsement, running a promotion has never been easier!
Going forwards however, there are still important rules in place that you will need to adhere to and it’s important to appreciate what you can and can’t do. To guide you through the new changes and help avoid any confusion, here are six things you should think about before running a Facebook competition.
1. Think about why?
What do you mean ‘why’? I want a bigger audience don’t I? If you see I have 10,000 likes on my brand’s Facebook page you’re going to trust what I have to say and give me a like yourself, aren’t you? Not really; no.
If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, then an enquiry or sale via your website is worth 1,000 likes.
There are so many more benefits to Facebook engagement via a promotion than likes alone. Some of the results to aim for include:
- Content reach
- Website referrals and sales
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased audience engagement
- Improved brand perception
Set clear measurement metrics at the start of your campaign and don’t just stick to the obvious.
2. Think about what users are going to have to do to enter
Do you want your audience to submit a picture or quote to your timeline? Or visit your own website to enter? Again this can largely depend on the why, but be creative. One notable update to the Facebook Promotions Guidelines is ‘misuse of tagging individuals in content’. You can no longer tag yourself in a post to enter a competition. IKEA is an example of a brand that had seen previous success with this method. They encouraged users to tag themselves in product pictures in order to win them. During its time this was at the forefront of innovative thinking, however this is no longer an acceptable practice and we as marketers have been charged with coming up with new and imaginative ways to engage users on Facebook.
A few of the acceptable methods of engagement are:
- Like our page
- Comment on a photo
- Comment on a video
- Comment on a post
- Check in
- Have users upload a photo to the company page
- Have users upload a video to the company page
- Comment on the company’s timeline
3. Think of the audience
What do they want and what will capture their attention and imaginations?
Knowing your demographic will go a long way to helping you understand how to engage with them via Facebook. Does this user have time to upload a photo to your timeline and does the prize you are offering warrant 30 minutes taking the perfect picture and uploading it from a mobile device? How many times have you seen, ‘like this post and share’ and ‘like our page then we might think about entering you into our competition’. Thanks for the offer but that’s a lot of effort.
If the purpose of the competition is to increase your audience size for the benefit of future activities, then the primary requirement of the new expanded audience is that it’s a relevant one. Keep the content relevant and you will get relevant likes.
The simplistic beauty of running promotions directly on Facebook means the prizes can be smaller and the entry requirements less invasive, speeding up the entire process. Make the method of entry easily integrated into your audience’s daily routine and you will see increased engagement on your page.
4. Think about tying in with your website
Never be afraid to divert visitors away from Facebook to your website, to enter or interact with your competition or campaign.
Don’t dilute the conversation on Facebook with inconsistent calls to action. The majority of your audience, whether or not they have purchased from you previously, are at an awareness level in the buying cycle. Engage with the user via Facebook and, if necessary, guide them to your website for the data capture and competition entry. It would not be applicable to have users put personal contact details on your wall and if this is a requirement of your promotion you may want to tie it in with a form on your website. Only take this action if it won’t be a contradiction to the first three points.
5. Think about advertising
Regardless of whether or not you have an active or dormant audience, when it comes to engagement levels you will never regret investing in advertising to support your competition. Facebook advertising is highly targeted by age, gender, life events, career type and even the device used by the user to access Facebook. A well-managed campaign that harnesses your existing customer knowledge can deliver excellent ROI.
6. Think about an app
Just because you can run a promotion directly on your company’s own Facebook timeline doesn’t mean to say it’s always going to be the right route. Think about the extra benefits you will receive from an app: increased functionality; improved data capture; more imaginative and exciting concepts.
Just like the options you see in the Facebook app centre you can develop anything. Here are just a few examples:
- Bookmarking apps
- Photo and video sharing apps
- Media playing apps – for streaming live content
More engaging content will yield a better ROI and it’s worthwhile, after considering all of the above, reviewing the option of a bespoke app against a competition on your timeline.
Lastly, why not consider doing a combination of all of the above? With a strong concept and strategy for a promotion, the new guidelines mean that Facebook competitions, Facebook Advertising and Facebook apps can work more harmoniously than ever before to maximise conversion of a Facebook follower to a loyal customer.
Gemma Kane, bcsAgency