Facebook competitions are regarded by many as a shortcut to getting lots of new page likes and interaction. They can be effective for both but only if you work at it.
It’s always sad to see a photo contest with only two entries or a timeline contest with very few likes or comments. If you want to build a buzz around your contest it will take planning.
In this post we will look at:
- How to build buzz for your contest before you launch it
- How to promote your Facebook competition on Facebook
- How to promote your Facebook competition outside Facebook
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Before you start
You need to think about promoting your contest long before you launch it. The first step is to choose a style that will work for your audience. If you don’t have a large interactive audience you need a contest that will take very little effort to enter. If your audience have participated in your contests before and are interactive you might think about running a UGC (user generated content) competition this time around.
If you need inspiration for the type of contest you should run take a look at these 20 competition examples.
Here’s five ideas for promoting your contest before you launch it:
1. Ask your audience to pick a style
If you are not sure what sort of contest will work for your business ask your audience. The level of engagement on your post will give you an idea of the sort of result you will get when you run it.
Facebook users are most likely to view your posts on a mobile device so make it easy for them to give an answer without typing too much:
What sort of competition would you like us to run next?
1. Caption contest?
2. Like to win?
3. Photo contest?
2. Tell people about the prize
Rather than just telling people you are going to run a competition tempt them with a prize. Take a photo of your prize from a strange angle or just share a picture of a gift box and ask people to guess what it is.
3. Get people to choose the prize
Similar to asking people what kind of competition they would like you to run ask them what prize they would like. Give them three options and ask them to comment with their favourite.
In this example from Aldi Ireland they use the results of a poll to determine the prize.
4. Tell people you will launch the competition once you get a certain number of actions
Celebrate your 1,000th like by running a contest or ask people to comment or like a post and launch the contest when you reach a pre defined number. Tell your audience and you will get them engaging in order to reach the goal.
Tell people all about the competition; what it is going to be, what the prize is and when it will be launched. Then count down the days either by posting a daily image or a status updates.
We used this tactic in the run up to the Blog Awards Ireland nominations. Each day we got different comments, likes and shares. When we launched people were primed and ready to enter.
Westminster Abbey teased their audience in the run up to their Advent competition ensuring that people would tune in when they launched.
These tactics should help you build up buzz around your contest before launch. They will also get people interacting with your posts more frequently ensuring that they will see more from you in the future.
Promoting your contest on Facebook
If you promoted your Facebook competition in advance you should have a keen group of people ready to enter.
It is important that you continue to promote for the duration of your competition. You will need to post about your contest regularly to ensure that all your followers know about it.
Since the beginning of January 2015 this has become more challenging. The latest update to the Facebook posting algorithm could effect the reach of your organic (not advertised) competition posts.
According to Facebook the following post types will be shown to less people:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Although it’s hard to determine what they mean by ‘no real context’ we need to assume that we have to purchase ads to ensure our competition posts are seen. But before we advertise we have to create.
Here’s the three kinds of post you can create to promote your contests. We will look at advertising later on:
If you are running your competition on your own website or via an app you can create a link post to advertise it.
If you use ShortStack (affiliate link) to manage your contest you will be provided with a ‘Smart Link’. When people click this link ShortStack will determine if it has been clicked from the web or a mobile device and will send the user to the correct version of the competition.
Create three or more images to help promote your competition. Keep the text on the image to under 20% so that you can promote it with a Facebook ad without any issue. Think about what will catch the eye of your target market. Is it the prize? A picture of your staff? Is the post part of your contest. Nutella are always very creative with their contests.
Here’s an example from The National Gallery London. They promoted their app based contest using an image. They have included the link to the contest in the photo description:
Video is getting great organic reach on Facebook. Use Vine or Instagram to create a short video introducing your contest.
This example from Target Jobs works really well. It’s a cute idea, an advent calender of questions and we’re introduced to the owner or staff member as part of the experience
By sharing a variety of post types and by sending them out at different times of the day and days of the week you will get maximum organic reach from your posts.
Advertise your Facebook competition posts
Because of the Facebook algorithm changes detailed above you will need to invest in Facebook ads to ensure your contest posts reach a wide audience. Set aside a small budget for each post and use Facebook ads to promote them. I recommend promoting posts via the Facebook ads manager rather than using the ‘Boost Post’ option as you will be able to target the post more accurately and get better value for money.
Promoting your contest via on other social media channels
Finding the link to your Facebook posts
You can share your Facebook posts on other social networks to maximise exposure. First you need to find the direct link to your Facebook competition post.
Click the timestamp on the post you want to share. This is the part of the post that displays the age of the post. It might say ‘an hour ago’, ‘Wednesday’ or a specific date.
Copy the entire link from the address bar of your browser.
This link is unique to your Facebook post. Paste this into your Tweet, your Google+ post or the source area of a Pinterest pin.
Via email marketing
If you have an email newsletter let the subscribers know about your competition. Include the link to either your Facebook competition app or the post in your email.
How have you promoted your Facebook competitions in the past?
Which techniques have worked best for you?