Here at Friday, we have a good number of Facebook contests under our belts, ranging from simple social contest competition forms to full-featured HTML5 and Flash games. Needless to say, we’ve picked up a few tips along the way.
Thinking of running a contest from your Facebook page? First of all, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Think about what your ultimate goal is, and make sure you’re using the most appropriate method to reach your fans.
Running a contest from your Timeline
The simplest way by far is to run a contest directly from your Page timeline. Up until August 27th 2013, It was against Facebook’s rules to run a competition from your timeline. We’re all familiar with the old familiar “Like/Share/Comment this post to enter”. Well this was against Facebook Platform Policies until last August. Until then, the only legal way to run a contest was to house the contest within an app, or run the risk of your Page being shut down by Facebook.
Now though, Page Managers can easily, quickly, and cheaply run a contest directly from the Facebook timeline. It’s not a complete free-for-all though, so before you start, check the list of Do’s and Dont’s below.
What You Can Do:
- Ask people to enter by liking or commenting on a post that you create.
- Ask people to post to your page to be in with a chance to enter.
- Ask people to message your page to enter.
- Use Likes as Votes. i.e. ask people to vote for a winner by liking a post or photo that you post to your page.
- Announce the winner of the contest on your page (This was forbidden previously)
- Require that to win the prize, entrants come back to your page to see who has won the contest
- Use a Like button plugin on a website as a voting mechanism
What You Can’t Do:
- Require that people share a post or photo to be entered
- Require someone to post something on their own personal timeline or a friend’s timeline to enter
- Require people to tag themselves in a photo to either vote or enter
- Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win (contest does not take place on the timeline)
So, great news for running competitions on your timeline. This type of contest will offer fast engagement with fans, and good reach, as simply entering a Timeline contest will share the post with a users friends. It’s also free to run, and will work on Desktop and mobile devices out of the box. Just remember to include in your contest post that the contest is in no way affiliated with Facebook.
What if you don’t care about Likes and Reach? What if your priority is getting people into your business premises as quickly and easily as possible? Read on…
Another simple approach to increasing engagement with fans is to create a Facebook Offer. If you just want to get customers into your shop / restaurant / premises, this is the way to go. If at lest 50 people have liked your page, you can create an offer for free. The cost implications arise only when you want to promote your offer through Facebook advertising.
If you are in a position to offer a discount or special offer to Facebook fans, then Facebook Offers is a quick, cheap, out of the box solution to increase footfall. Get more info on how to set up an offer here.
Remember to make your offer enticing to the user. 50c off a €40 bill won’t get bums on seats. But a free cocktail with every main course? Sign me up.
But wait, there’s more! What if you want to collect user data, such as email addresses? What if increasing Likes on your page is a priority? What if you have a print / Digital Display campaign running and you want your contest to work in harmony with it? If any of those options tickle your fancy, then it sounds like you need a Facebook App.
We’re no stranger to a custom built Facebook app here at Friday. We’ve covered most of the bases from simple forms, to HTML5 and Flash Games, to Photo Upload Apps.
The benefits of a custom built app over a Timeline contest are many. A custom built Facebook app is essentially a website within your Facebook page, so the possibilities are endless.
However, when coming up with a Facebook App idea, the golden rule is to build it around the user experience, rather than the brand’s objectives. Consider the type of user that visits your page, and what kind of content they are likely to be interested in, and what type of content is appropriate for your brand.
The benefits of a custom built app include:
1. Getting more ‘Likes’ for your brands Facebook Page.
‘Fan Gating’ or ‘Like Gating’, is a process where a Page can create a barrier to content that a user can see only when they ‘Like’ the Brand’s page.
You can set up a Page Tab App, whereby teaser content is displayed to users who don’t already “Like” your Page. Once they like your page, you can reveal content that the user will want to see.
Make sure that the incentive is worth the interaction by the user. A person is unlikely to like your Brand Page unless they are interested in what’s being offered beyond the ‘Like’. Consider a discount code, or an opportunity to enter a competition to win a prize.
The downside of this approach is that it won’t work for mobile users, as Page Tab Apps aren’t available on the Facebook mobile apps. For Desktop users, however, this can be a great way to increase your Like count with relatively minimal effort.
2. Increasing brand Awareness.
Share, share, share. Facebook Share buttons are a great way to allow users to quickly share content with their friends. Clients love putting share buttons on everything. Just having it there isn’t going to get the followers flooding in though. Consider what people like to share, and consider what would entice a user to share your content.
It seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve actually been asked if you can force people to share content within an app. No, you can’t. You can make it enticing for them to do so, however, by considering your content. Will sharing your content reflect positively on the user? Make sure the content is centered more around the user than your brand.
3. Collecting customer data for marketing research purposes.
Housing a contest within a Facebook app means you can collect data on your user that you can’t from say a Timeline Contest. Using an app, you can collect a lot of data on a user, as long as they grant you permission to do so. Some of the data you can collect after being granted user permission includes email addresses, location, birthday, photos, check-ins, and more.
Utilizing the Facebook SDK to create Facebook Apps means that you can engage more deeply and personally with your users, and can be a great way to build your fanbase and connect with new fans.
Don’t believe me? Check out my favourite example of what can be achieved with Facebook connect, the Intel ‘Museum of Me’.
Thinking of creating a Facebook app for your brand? Contact us today.