Can A Facebook Contest Help You Grow Your Business?
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One of our clients had a great idea for a contest. We decided to use Facebook as the platform for a couple of key reasons

Their page was relatively new and it needed a promotional shove to build the company's brand on Facebook.

We knew it was a very inexpensive promotion to run thus reducing the client's risk in giving it a whirl.

We ran the photo contest for one month and the results were great.

It took their Page Likes from virtually zero to over 350. That may not be huge for some industries but for this niche B2B it gave them the top likes for in their category in Canada.

It cost approximately $150 (which included the contest app fees and advertising fees) plus prize costs.

They now have over 100 new email addresses to reach out to and possibly add to their newsletter list.

Needless to say, running a Facebook contest can be a fun and exciting opportunity for your business, but you need to make sure to keep it relevant to your audience, to set it up properly and to adhere to the contest rules laid out by Facebook.

Here's a step-by-step approach to set up your next Facebook contest.

Step One - Set Your Objectives

Are you trying to increase likes to your page? If so you might want to "Like-Gate" the contest or make Liking part of the contest requirements.

Are you trying to increase email addresses? If so then you will need to collect contestant details. Ask for as little contact info as you can, as it will increase your number of entrants.

Are you trying to increase brand awareness? In our case we were definitely trying to increase the client's exposure on Facebook, so we created a voting contest that would require entrants to share the contest with as many of their friends as possible.

Step Two - Set Out the Details of the Contest

You want to think about the type of contest you want, rules and prizes.

In our case, we decided on a photo contest. Contestants could easily post their photo via our client's Facebook page. The winners would be chosen by the number of votes their photo received. We needed to make it easy for contestants to share the photo with their Facebook friends so they could encourage their friends to come and vote for their Photo. We decided that contestants could only enter one photo and could only vote once to keep it fair.

A word on prizes...

You want to make sure that the prizes offered make sense to your target audience (assuming these are the people you are trying to attract with your contest). These could even be one of your company's product or service offerings. It's a good idea to have more than one prize in case the first place photo is so far ahead of the second that people give up trying.

Step Three - Setting Up The Contest

Once you have figured out your event details, rules and prizes it's time to set up the contest page. Start by looking at some Facebook Contest Apps. Luckily there is a myriad of Facebook applications that make setting up the contest a snap. Choose wisely. Because we decided to go with a photo contest - we needed an app that would:

Let people upload their photo

Share the photo easily with their friends on Facebook

Limit them to one vote per person

Limit them to one photo per person

Allow others to like/vote for photos easily

Provide us with reporting on the progress of the contest.

We used an app called Woobox and were very happy with its overall functionality.

Make sure to start with an eye-catching graphic and then list all the details of the contest (deadlines, rules, prizes and how to enter). You also want to encourage people to share the contest and possibly event leave comments. The more engagement, the better!

Make sure to give yourself a good week to set up a contest, especially if it's your first one. That way you have time to learn how to use the app, design any graphics and test the whole experience before launch date.

Step Four - Promote Your Contest

Congratulations you are ready to launch your contest. Now it's time to promote it. Luckily the type of contest we set out promotes itself through contestants, but you still need to get the ball rolling.

Here's some ways to easily get the word out there:

get votes for contest

Change the main banner of your Facebook page to the contest banner and add the application to your company info section on the left.

Set up a Facebook ad campaign

Put up a banner on your website and blog

Promote through strategic alliance websites and their social media channels

Promote through your other social media sites.

Promote on "contest" sites

Share it with your newsletter and blog subscribers

Include it in your company email signatures

Step Five - Monitor The Contest

Once the contest is up and running, you want to make sure to monitor it closely on a daily basis - especially for the first week. Check comments and posts for questions, concerns or problems that people might be having with signing up or voting. It's important to address any questions or concerns as quickly as possible and be as transparent as you can.

Watch for people who are trying to trick the system. Even the best applications can't 100% stop a determined "cheater" so make sure that people aren't breaking your contest rules.

Step Six - Have a Strong Post Contest Plan of Action

Once the contest is done you want to make sure it is in fact closed down. Change any banners posted via promotions to another company banner and stop any paid advertising if it's still running.

Ensure that you announce the winners on your Facebook page as soon as possible and consider promoting winners via other social media sites, your newsletter and on your website.

Let the winners know how to claim their prizes and in the case of a photo contest, get them to sign a photo release form if you intend to use their photos anywhere.

Street Talk

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