Key Steps to Hosting a Facebook Contest

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I have to admit that I used to be a bit intimidated to do a Facebook Contest. It just seemed like there was so much involved in setting one up; how do you monitor it anyway; and what are the laws and rules that have to be maintained to be compliant? What happens if you break the rules and you didn’t even know it? I shied away from Facebook Contests for fear of breaking any rules and getting less than stellar results after lots of time and effort.
Then I had a client approach me and said he wanted to give it a try. Now I had to step up and take the deep plunge! I set out on this task like I have so many before with my plan of attack…..research, research, research. After all, this was for a client and I had to put my best foot forward to ensure that he received the results he was hoping for. Here’s what I found out. Hosting a Facebook contest is not only much easier than I thought it would be, but also great for your business! After some research, I was able to figure out the ins and outs of hosting a great contest and how it can affect your business.
The main benefit to consider when thinking about a contest is that it is an opportunity to showcase your business and your products or services. It is also a fantastic way to collect leads for your business, no matter what business you’re in. If you’re going to use this as an opportunity to grow your email list to keep your customers up to date with what’s new in your industry and your business, this is a great place to start. You’ll also never be in a better place to increase your engagement ratings by doing a Facebook contest. Customers/clients who engage with the posts on your page are more likely to initiate business with you. This can lead to a long term relationship that will be profitable for you and them. Beyond this, contests are fun for the community because people just like to win!
There are however, some rules that must be followed. You cannot insist that entrants must like or share your business page to enter. They can like or share the posts on your page (such as the post about the contest itself) but not the actual page, this cannot be a contest requirement for your entrants. It’s also necessary to post a Facebook disclaimer that says that the promotion is not associated with Facebook. (This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook)
While there are a long list of possibilities on what kind of contest you’d like to have, here are the three most popular.
1. Timeline Contest – This is the quickest and easiest contest for you and your followers. They will simply click on a like for the post or enter something in the comment field and they are     quickly entered.
2. Sweepstakes – A sweepstakes is just a tiny bit more detailed in that once they click on a button to enter they are given another window that will require that they fill out a form. This is your opportunity to get their email address and let them know they can expect to receive emails from you in the future.
3. Photo/Video/Essay Contest – While this is usually the most fun for you and your followers, it usually is a struggle to get the engagement numbers as high as you’d like to see them. Everyone loves to see the videos or pictures that folks will post on your wall to win the contest. However, once people leave their computer, it’s a bit more difficult to get them to remember to take the picture and come back to your page and enter it.

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Once you’ve determined the type of contest you’d like to host, you merely have to decide what you’d like to give away and for how long you’d like to run the contest. The good news is that what you give away does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. It should, however be relevant to what your business and product/services are about. While with some businesses that’s not always easy to do, a rule of thumb is, that the closer you’re able to get your gift fit the relevance of your business, the more likely you are that they will remember your business and what you do.

The length of your contest will be determined by what type of contest you’ve decided to host. For example, a Timeline Contest can be as short as a few days and go as long as a week. A sweepstakes contest can go for a week or two and a Photo/Essay contest will take a bit longer; likely a few weeks. It’s important that you don’t let it run on too long as you’ll run the risk of having your followers forget about it. Just make sure that your original post indicates what date you will be posting the name of your winner. This will go a long way to ensure your contest has credibility.

Above and beyond these choices, the only other consideration you’ll want to make is the app that will be used to host your contest. These apps will plug directly into your page and manage the process. There are several to choose from and can range in price from $25 to $50 some going higher depending upon the type of contest you’re hosting and the length of time that you’re running it. There are unfortunately too many to list by name here, but a Google search of Facebook Contest Apps will send you well on your way.

The last thing you’ll want to consider is promoting your contest. I’m a big promotion gal. I figure if I’m going to go through the effort of having a contest, giving something away and collecting emails to help engage with my customers, I want as much bang for my buck as possible. Keep in mind however, that this doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg either. It might be a good idea to promote your contest for the length of your contests and it probably wouldn’t hurt to promote it on other social media platforms as well. Wouldn’t it be great to direct traffic from Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram to your Facebook Page?

I hope that this article takes away the confusion and intimidation of running a Facebook Contest as much for you as it did for me. I’d love to hear all of your creative ideas on the key steps to hosting a Facebook Contest.

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