So here you are, two weeks into your first Facebook promotion and you have a handful of entries and a dribble of new fans. Far from what you had expected after weeks of energy fuelled meetings and brainstorming sessions with your creative, marketing and the web guys and gals.
You ask yourself – “We think the promotion looks awesome, why don’t our fans, customers or that weird guy that keeps sending me Farmville requests seem to care?”
The answer is simple and we all know it, but in all the hubbub of diving into something new, the principles sometimes go out the window – they shouldn’t.
In this blog post I am going to share fives simple lessons about running contests on Facebook that I learned in running them for my clients for three years in my previous agency and in running 10,000 customers through the Pinpoint Platform in the last month.
1. Follow the Facebook Guidelines
It seems like this one is obvious but it still seems after all the years people have been marketing on Facebook, some still don’t understand what they can’t and can do on Facebook as a marketer. We used to be able to blame it on the notoriously lengthy and loose promotional guidelines that Facebook previously had but they have come a long way and it is now down to 8 simple rules.
The no-nonsense summary is
- As a business your presence should live on a Page, not a Group and not a Profile
- You cannot use the Wall, Facebook Photos or Commenting to run contests or inbox messages to contact winners.
- You have to use an application such as Pinpoint Social or any of these great apps to conduct a contest
If you don’t follow the rules, the best case scenario is that your contest will fizzle out, the worst – Facebook could close down your Page.
2. Give away something of value
If there is a lesson to be taken away it is that people like to win an experience not just a prize. We are clobbered over the head with daily deals claiming $50 to 50% off and feel more like a transaction than something exciting that you want to win.
Whatever you give away – make it exclusive, interesting and unique.
If you have a $100 gift card to a restaurant to giveaway, don’t promote a $100 gift card – promote a romantic dinner for two at a great restaurant. When people are browsing Facebook they are looking for experiences and something interesting – not commodities.
3. Make it easy for a consumers
I have run quite a few successful video or photo contests in my day but I really feel for many businesses it can be the WORST decision they can make in building a promotion. If done right they can be a source of great branded content but the reality is that quality video or photos can be a high barrier to entry and you will get fewer entries than any other entry type.
This is something that we really believe in at Pinpoint Social and is why we will never offer Photo or Video contests on our platform.
Think about what your customers want to talk about, reduce the amount fields on your sign up form and give them a simple and clear way to enter.
4. Don’t make silly words come out of my mouth
This tops my list of social media marketing faux pas. Don’t force customers to share something that you wouldn’t post on your own Facebook wall. When you force sharing on your customers that is called shill marketing and reminds me of what Golden Palace did almost a decade ago when they paid a customer $5,000 to tattoo GoldenPalace.com on their forehead.
Instead make it interesting, ask the customers to share who they would share their prize with if they won. That is social, that is interesting and something the customer and their friends can appreciate.
5. Don’t underestimate the need for marketing
The snake oil salesperson that attributes success in all social media case studies to engagement, authenticity and whatever bevy of buzzwords you can use that sound marginally better than “magic”. The second type are marketers that will prove that advertising, email campaigns and an integrated marketing are essential to driving engagement on any social media campaign.
I bet on the marketer every time. Get your customers involved with an email campaign, reach new ones through targeted advertising and align your campaign with your current marketing strategy. That’s how you drive real growth.
Do you disagree with any of our tips? Are there any you would add to the list?