Running Competitions on Facebook – The Basics

Running competitions remains one of the most popular ways for community managers to grow their Facebook communities. Although the practice is gradually losing popularity as Facebook advertising becomes more pervasive and powerful, it still remains an effective way of both encouraging engagement and Page expansion.

Despite this, I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook competitions because they encourage fans to like your page for reasons that do not necessarily align with your objectives.

Sure, you can quickly draw in a large audience by putting a few massive prizes on the line, but are the people who liked your page because they thought they could win something the same individuals you really want to focus your energy on engaging with?

Drawing in an audience using prizes and competitions often creates a community whose primary motivation for being there is to win free goods, not to keep in touch or personally engage with your brand. This is a bad thing.

Nonetheless, competitions can still be a useful tool. Today I’m going to look at some of the things you should consider before launching a competition on Facebook.

What’s the Point?

The first thing you need to do before running a competition on Facebook is establish and carefully identify your objectives. What do you want to get out of the competition?

• New fans?
• Increased engagement with existing fans?
• Increased engagement around a particular topic?
• Raised awareness around a new product?

Competitions create energy on a page, and it’s up to you to decide where to channel that energy.

Create a Mechanic

Once you have established your goals, you need to set up a mechanic that will realise them most effectively. This is the fun part, and getting creative can yield impressive results.

Remember, the prize incentive creates the energy, but that energy is easily wasted if you do not channel it towards meeting your objectives. The quality of the mechanic is what will determine your success.

Facebook’s stringent terms and conditions have narrowed down your options when it comes to devising your mechanic.

In a nutshell, you can’t ask followers to use any of Facebook’s built in functionality to take part in a promotion. This means that actions such as ‘liking’, commenting, sharing and tagging friends/photos cannot be used as entry mechanics.

Hint: You’re going to need to get a Facebook competition app developed. There are many options here, and if you don’t have your own internal capacity for this sort of procedure, contact us and we’ll help you out.

Promote Your Competition

The more people that see your competition, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.
Although you can rely on your captive audience, Facebook has made reaching all of them extremely challenging without investing in advertising in some form or another.

Your best bet is to promote a competition using a promoted post. This will ensure that a far higher percentage of your fan base actually sees the promotion.

Finally, it may also be worth running a dedicated Facebook advertising campaign to support these efforts.

Cover Yourself

It’s important to be aware of relevant licensing issues while making sure that your competition is run in accordance with local competitive legislation.

Make sure that the competition’s terms and conditions are very clearly stated up front, and that you stick fastidiously to your own guidelines – which should also be watertight.

It might also be worth putting together a privacy policy which ensures followers that you won’t do anything nefarious with data that you have collected from them.

So there you have it. Running competitions on Facebook is not quite as simple as some would think, but it’s also not terribly difficult.

– Nic Simmonds, MD – Clockwork Media

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