Once you’ve made the decision to increase your business’s online profile by adopting a social media presence, it’s not uncommon to notice that progress in making actual, positive contact with your customer base is slower than you might have thought. Even if you put a great deal of thought and effort (and money) into making a brilliant social media presence, you may notice that the pace at which you are adding new contacts is agonizingly slow.
Having a social media presence is the first step to gaining recognition online, but it is almost never enough. Just like with more “classical” types of advertising, if you want to take full advantage of your newfound communications outlet, you need to undertake a more active campaign to attract people to your page. One great way to increase traffic to your page, make contact with customers, and encourage interaction between you and them is to have a contest or giveaway on your Facebook page.
This is a technique that many businesses have used to increase customer traffic and interactions, and it can generate a lot of attention among your current and potential clients. Facebook acknowledges and allows this practice, but it does have some rules regarding how it can be done.
Facebook requires any contest to have a written disclaimer, which explicitly states that the contest is in no way associated with Facebook and that it is solely associated with your company and page.
Entry Method Restrictions
No Facebook features can be used as an entry method into the contest. This means that “liking” a status or page can’t be used as a contest entry, nor can any post or comment within Facebook itself.
Third Party Applications
Because of the restrictions placed on contests by Facebook, any contest must generally be conducted inside a third party application. There are a wide variety of applications available; choosing the right one is critical to contest success. Before making your choice, sample several and conduct online searches for reviews from previous users to ensure that they work as advertised.
The way you design the contest or giveaway will depend largely on what your goal is. Do you want to increase leads? Generate more brand awareness? Gain new fans? Increase interaction with current customers? Generate new content? Each of these goals will require a different setup if you want the contest to effectively achieve them.
No matter what your goal, the choice of prize will be one of the first important things that will need to be decided during the contest generation phase. Generally, it’s best to choose a prize that is directly associated with your business rather than something more generic. Giving away a personal electronic device or television may generate a lot of interest and entries into the contest, but if those things are not related to your business directly, then you risk having many or even most of the entrants into the contest having little interest in your business beyond the opportunity to win a free item.
Choosing a product directly from or related to your business will guarantee that the people entering the contest are interested in acquiring something that your business sells or produces. That means that they will be more likely to remain interested customers and fans after the end of the contest. A currently popular product, new offering, or even a gift card would all be excellent choices for prizes in a Facebook Contest.
Gift cards in particular offer numerous advantages as contest prizes: they allow customers to choose which of your products to buy, they don’t require expensive shipping (with a redemption code, they could even be delivered electronically), and they allow for a customer to purchase a more expensive item at a discount, still bringing new revenue into your business.
Once you’ve decided on the prize, the next phase is to choose what will be required for entry into the contest. For increasing leads and potential customer contacts, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for people to enter to maximize the number of entries, while still gaining contact information in order to make the best use of the new leads. Requiring a name and email address only (or even only the email address!) will make it very easy for people to enter while still giving your business the desired contact information. This will allow you to contact them in the future about new releases, contests, and promotions, turning them into potential future customers.
To increase brand awareness, you need to tie the contest to the total number of entrants and provide encouragement and incentive for people to share the contest, page, or other brand information with their friends. A great method for achieving this is letting people know that the prize giveaway will not occur until a certain number of people enter, share, or “like” the contest. This will help turn the contest entrants into marketers for you, prompting them to get the word out as part of the contest.
To gain new fans of your Facebook page, you can simply tie entry into the contest to “liking” your page. You may notice that one of the Facebook rules above prohibits using a like as the entry into a contest. Many third party Facebook app developers have found a workaround to this rule. While Facebook prohibits the “like” from being the contest entry, many third party contest applications can be set up so that “liking” a page will automatically load the contest page so that the actual entry is not from the “like” (though the like is required).
A unique and usually powerful goal for a contest is to encourage users, fans, and customers to generate new content for your page or business. The type of content can vary as much as one’s imagination. Written comments, product reviews, recommendations, photos, videos, or other creative ideas can all be “crowd-sourced” to your fans as part of the contest, with the prize going to the best content (which you can then use to further enhance your business).
If you want to keep your customers and fans engaged, then a single contest may fall short.Many small, regularly held contests will keep your customers and fans regularly coming back to your page and help to solidify your customer base. These contests can have smaller prizes than less frequent contests, and at the same time will ensure that your customers and fans are staying up to date about what you’re doing with your business. A useful idea is to automatically pool entrants (or winners) of the smaller contests into less frequent contests with larger prizes as further incentive for entry and participation.
Regardless of the specific reason or setup of any given contest, the results of a well-run contest should be increased traffic to your page and better interaction with your fans and client/customer base. That’s the overall goal for business in social media settings, after all: to foster a sense of community between the business and the fans and customers. Any act that will encourage interaction between you and your customers in a positive way will pay off well in the long run. If a customer or fan feels “welcome” in your social media space, they will start to identify with your brand and products, which breeds loyalty and positive word of mouth reviews — the backbone of growth for any small business.
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