Running a Successful Facebook Contest—The Right Way

So you’ve finally decided to run a Facebook contest. That’s great! Social media contests can improve engagement and likes, and encourage your audience to interact with your brand. Besides, everyone loves the chance to win something!

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  1. Give away something people actually want to win

If you make consumable products, you have a built in prize. If not, try looking into branded hats, mugs, t-shirts, keychains, or anything that makes sense for your business. You might be surprised how excited people will get over a plastic cup or a notepad. If those don’t seem to be good options, you can always give away a gift certificate.

  1. Add pictures of the prize, if possible

Engaging content has swiftly shifted more and more to video and photo content and if your Facebook fans can actually see the prize they have a chance to win, they are much more likely to interact with your contest. This is your chance to get creative by arranging the prizes in a way that looks the most appealing.

  1. Create a strategy

What do you want to get out of this contest? More engagement? More interaction? More new likes? Take the time to think about what you want out of the contest and plan the terms around it. For example, if you want more engagement, you might want to ask your audience to like and comment on the post. Or if you want more new page likes, you might run a contest to get to your next milestone. Keep it easy and engaging, but somehow tied to your brand.

  1. Promote contest posts

This is important! You can’t just rely on word of mouth or shares for your contest to do well. In order to get the most engagement you need to reach the largest possible audience. As most of you may know, Facebook’s algorithms don’t show every single post to every single member of your audience. Even if you have a small budget, promoting your posts is definitely affordable.

  1. Stay involved

While the contest is going on, be sure to interact with the audience as they are commenting. You don’t have to like or comment on every single post, but some engagement is necessary. When you host a social media contest, you’re bound to get a variety of comments, so make sure you’re checking them regularly and commenting as necessary.

  1. Choose your winner fairly

It might be tempting to choose a winner who often interacts with your page or maybe even someone you know. Don’t. I use Fanpage Karma’s “Good Luck Fairy” to randomly pick a winner from likes, comments, shares or a combination. The best part? You can download a spreadsheet of everyone who interacted with the contest so you can have a hard copy of your winners.

  1. Notify winners and send prizes promptly

Don’t delay with notifying winners. They are excited to hear who won, and I’m willing to bet you’ll be excited to notify them after you’ve ended the contest. Facebook has recently allowed businesses to contact winners directly, but it’s also not a bad idea to write a post notifying the winner or winners.

  1. Study your analytics

Look at your engagement numbers and percentages to see how well you did and learn from it. If you didn’t get the engagement that you hoped, you might want to switch gears and go with a different strategy. Or maybe you want to spend more on advertising or give away a bigger prize.

At the end of the day, running a contest on Facebook should be fun! It’s exciting to see people get so pumped up over winning a prize. You users will be more engaged and watching you to see what contest you’re running next, which leads to more traffic to your Facebook page and eventually to your site.

Interactive Content is the New Content

What is interactive content? It’s content that engages your users beyond clickable links and calls to action. The 21st century website user demands content that he or she can digest, use and interact with. He or she is selective about which websites he or she engages with, and which websites ultimately get his or her business. While having those important written components on your website are absolutely crucial to pick up Google’s feelers, in order to add that extra “oomph” to your website, you should add some interactive content.

Let’s look at five ways you can add interactive content to your site:

  1. Photos/videos: They may seem so simple, but a good photo gallery of your projects (before, during and after completion) can go a long way. Add calls to action or invite users to submit their own photos of the work you’ve completed for them and you’ll have even more photos to add to your gallery.Videos also play a crucial role in developing interactive content. Use videos to introduce your company to website users, hold a contest (see below), demonstrate case studies, show your business in action or to empower your audience to take action.
  2. Social media: Your company should be have some sort of social media presence. Period. Whether you’re active among all social channels or just dipping your toes into LinkedIn or Google+, make sure you take the time to nurture your accounts and community management. Don’t take the power of social media for granted. On a smaller scale, social media allows you to easily handle issues with customers on a public forum. But you can also use social media to create interactive content. Invite your users to share their experiences with your brand. Ask users for recipes using your product or to submit photos/videos of them interacting with your product. If you’re a service-based industry, ask them to who their favorite person to work with in your office is. No matter what industry, there’s always a way to create interactive content for your users.
  3. Contests: Who doesn’t love to win something free? If your users see you giving away a gift card or product on your site or through social media, they will flock to your contests. This method has been very successful with some of our clients, especially those who give away branded or consumable products. Hold a contest online or through your social media channels asking users to “like” or “comment” or “retweet” your posts and just watch your engagement and brand trust grow.
  4. Challenges: Similar to contests, challenges pose another way to engage your users and to get them involved in your product. One of our clients, Clearwater Systems Ohio, a water softener company, recently held a “Drink More Water Challenge” that was met with great success. Users even took the challenge in a completely unplanned direction by boasting how much water they drank each day—something that wasn’t even written into the contest!
  5. Quizzes: If you’re appealing to the younger generation, a quiz is a perfect way to build brand trust and to interact with users. You can write your quiz to lead users to answers to questions like “Which product am I?” or you can write quizzes that are relevant to your industry, such as the quizzes we wrote for one of our jewelry clients.

Interactive content empowers your users through social media channels or through your website and helps them understand and interact with your brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “fun” brand like food or candy or an industrial brand, you can absolutely benefit from interactive content.

How to Avoid Social Media Slip-ups

Okay, let’s talk about your social media plan.

If you have one in place, great. If you are still asking yourself what a social media plan is, that’s okay too. You’re in the right place.

Chances are, if your business has a social media presence, you’ve had to deal with some strange comments, unsatisfied customers or even downright nasty reviews. And the more successful your business is, the more likely you are to experience these encounters. Social media mistakes will inevitably happen, but you can avoid them harming your business by following the steps below:Social media symbols

PREVENTION

  • Have a Plan: Always have a plan that outlines what to do in the event of a crisis. Are you suddenly getting bad reviews because of a defective product? Has one of your employees delivered less-than-exceptional customer service? Make sure you have a plan on how to deal with comments, @ mentions, reviews or if your business page goes viral in a bad way.
  • Bring in the Experts: Do you have someone dedicated to watching your accounts? You should. Not only will you have an extra set of eyes monitoring your social media presence, but a trained PR person will be able to react to just about any situation that comes up. You should have someone dedicated to at least several hours a week — maybe more depending on the size of your business and the size of your social media following — to managing posts and interacting with the users on your pages.

WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS

  • Act Quickly: Do not let complaints or issues on social media sit without response. At a minimum, respond within 24 hours – but within a few hours is ideal. In today’s fast-paced world, the people reading your business page and watching your social media accounts are watching around the clock. They expect answers to questions as soon as they ask. Can you keep up? Because you’re expected to. If you let a negative comment or review sit for long enough, it will turn into an even bigger problem. Do what you can to nip it in the bud early and move the conversation offline.
  • Start a (Public) Conversation: Your customers and potential customers will be watching you to see how you react to the issue and they will judge your company’s morals and standards based on your reaction. The good thing about social media is that if you handle these types of issues promptly and professionally, lots of people will see it. The bad thing about social media is, well, if you handle it poorly, lots of people will see it.
  • Don’t Delete: Never delete comments, tweets or reviews. When you delete comments or try to “cover up” what your customers or potential customers are saying, you will start to lose your reputation and the trust that people have placed in you or your products. Instead, use the opportunity to be real with your audience while reacting and responding appropriately.
  • With that Being Said…There are some fires that you shouldn’t even bother putting out. Offensive language and all-out attacks must be handled on a case-by-case basis. If you are dealing with someone online who you just cannot get through to, ask them to contact your business or organization so that you can handle the matter privately. If someone is attacking others or using foul language or refusing to work with you towards a solution, it’s okay to pull the plug and walk away.

AFTER THE FACT

  • Apologize and Move On: If you truly made a mistake, own up to it. We are no longer dealing with the days of putting out a press release to cover up a mistake. Our social media world does not allow it. Admit you made a mistake, apologize for what you did, and tell your customers what you are doing to fix it and what you will do in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Coming clean and moving on will make your brand stronger and your customers will trust you more in the long run.

At the end of the day, your business needs to understand the power of social media and how professionally-run social media pages can make a world of difference. If you have a solid plan on how to handle negative remarks, comments or reviews, your business will benefit greatly from it in case of an emergency.