Posted on July 9, 2013 by Aaron Johnson
One way to generate increased interest in your company’s Facebook page is by running a contest. Customers and potential customers love contests – the chance to win something by doing virtually nothing is hard to resist. And that’s the beauty of online contests. Typically all a customer needs to do is to enter their contact information, hit “submit,” and cross their fingers. Facebook can be a great platform for running contests, and those contests are good for business.
Contests with modest prizes are, like many forms of advertising on the internet, a low cost way to get a big return on investment. One thing that sets contests apart from regular internet marketing, however, is that it makes it even easier to reach new customers, rather than just engaging current patrons. The technical term for the effect contests have is “lead generation. This means that contests literally create a larger audience for your business.
There are really two parts to lead generation: you are both growing your general customer base, and more specifically, you are growing the audience for your Facebook presence. Because customers typically have to “like” your Facebook page to enter a contest, your company’s regular social media programming will become part of their feed. This helps to generate brand recognition and can help convert potential customers into actual customers. You can also have customers enter contact information and demographic data when they enter a contest on your page, helping your company build a database of customer information.
Another reason why companies run contests is as a way of rewarding current customers. This act of rewarding often has a return effect, even for those who don’t win. Because contests are understood as an act of generosity, customers often feel obligated to reciprocate by making apurchase. This can make contests very profitable.
To run a Facebook contest, you will need to use an application. Facebook does not host contests through any type of native programming. Apps for running contests can range in costs from nearly free to hundreds or thousands of dollars a month, so make sure to choose one that is both flexible and affordable. The application you choose can be installed directly on your company’s Facebook page, and ideally also on your company’s main web page. When you download a contest application, that application will create a new tab on your company’s Facebook page through which to run the contest. Different applications will structure your contest in slightly different ways, but they all ultimately work on similar principles.
It is also important that you know Facebook’s contest rules before you try to run one. There is an extensive list of rules about how to run a Facebook contest. One of the most important is that you cannot use a native Facebook tool, such as the “like” button to have customers vote on things. This is one way that Facebook prevents users from running contests without an application.
Another important rule is that you cannot put reminders to vote or enter a contest in your cover photo. When it comes to notifying contest winners, you must first email, telephone, or otherwise notify winners of a contest before you can announce their name on your Facebook page or contact them via Facebook message. Finally, when you post a Facebook contest you must make it clear that Facebook is not the one sponsoring your contest. Make sure to read these rules carefully before attempting to run your Facebook contest.
It can be hard to tell which Facebook contests will really be successful in bringing in a new audience and engaging customers, but there are several things that your company can do to improve the odds of running a successful contest.
Not every business will benefit from holding a Facebook contest. Small companies that target a niche market are far less likely to benefit from a contest than companies with a wider reach. Consider what your company’s goals are in running a contest and whether or not there are other ways to meet them. Maybe running Facebook ads independent of a contest will get you the same results. Or maybe your company would benefit by producing more original content, rather than running a contest. Running a contest just because people like contests isn’t a productive thing to do.
If after consideration you think that your company will benefit from running a contest, then go ahead! Pick a great and appropriate prize, choose a Facebook application, and get started. Facebook contests can be extremely rewarding, help to build brand loyalty, and increase your customer base when well executed.
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