HOW TO Use Facebook Contests To Promote Your Online Business

Why Use Facebook Contests?

The benefits of using social media platforms such as Facebook have been much written about, and using sites such as Facebook can provide a powerful marketing tool for many businesses, organisation or blogs. Facebook pages enable businesses to connect directly with their customers and if used effectively can help to drive brand reputation, product awareness and hopefully further customers and sales.

facebook contestsRunning a contest on Facebook is one way in which a business can utilise it’s Facebook presence and is a powerful way in which to increase engagement, boost the number of fans to your page, build contact lists and generally create a buzz with which people will want to and share with their online communities too.

How To Run a Contest on Facebook

For several years, the rules around running competitions on Facebook were fairly loose and you could pretty much administer anything you wanted as long as it was within Facebook’ General Terms. In 2009, more stricter rules were imposed on how campaigns should be run. The main point to understand is that you must use a third party application to run any contest on Facebook itself.

Fortunately there are lots of these apps out there to choose from such as Wildfire, Fanappz, Offerpop, and Vitrue, to name just a few! Most of these apps charge a small fee to use them, which will vary depending on whether they charge based on the functionality you require or the number of users your fan page has. Many of these apps offer free trials though, so look out for these and use the trial to see whether the contest will work on your page, or whether their software provides the functionality you’re looking for. All are fairly easy to set up and use and many provide an excellent level of configuration and control over the contests you could think about running.

What Type of Contests Work?

Once you’ve got your Facebook page established and selected your third-party campaign app, you then need to apply some thought to the type of competition you should run. This will vary depending on your business, what you’re trying to promote and whether you have anything great to giveaway as prizes. There are many different ways in which you can engage with your users and these are a few of our favorites.

1. Create a Photo Competition

People love photo competitions. They are visual, they can comment and share the images, and require little amount of thought for people to enter. Pick a theme, get people to upload their photos and then ask others to vote for their favourites. These types of competitions are usually well shared and can generate a lot of interest, particularly if you have some nice prizes to giveaway to the winners!

2. Caption Competitions

As already mentioned, people love photos! Instead of getting people to upload their own photos, you could post an amusing, cute or unusual picture and ask people to submit their best caption ideas. Again, photos are usually well shared amongst Facebook users and many users love to be able to comment and share their thoughts and ideas.

3. Rewarding Shares & Likes

Most contests are run to try and increase the reach of the Facebook page and therefore the brand or company. Using simple referrals can an excellent contest idea and can boost users to your page very quickly if done correctly. Incentivising people to refer your page to as many of their friends as possible and rewarding those that manage to attract the most likes with prizes or discounts is very powerful and can have your page ‘likes’ increased at a very fast rate.

With the third-party apps creating more functionality with every passing week, and people having to be more and more creative to get their pages and contests to stand out there are endless ways in which you can get contests to work for you. Don’t forget that some competitions work better for some companies than others; it all depends on what you’re trying to promote. If the first contest doesn’t have the desired effect then change it up a little and try again! As with all online marketing quality content and interesting ideas are what keep people interested and engaged so just keep trying new things and you’re customers will love you for it!

About Author: Nicola Byrne writes for Calverton Finance, a UK company specialising in invoice factoring and payroll finance.

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