How to Facebook: Contests

There is a ton of buzz around Facebook and other social media out there. There is a lot of debate of what a "follower" or a "fan" is worth to a business.

This simple fact remains: it is always better to communicate with your customers on their terms.

So, before you can communicate with your customers, you've got to get them to opt-in, follow, friend, fan, etc your pages. The single best way to do that is to run an effective giveaway. Ask yourself, "What value does my Facebook page add to a fan?" Chances are, if you can't come up with a few good things, you don't add any value. At the very least, you could give some stuff away to those that are listening. Hit the "read more" for my list of "how to run a Facebook contest."

Enter the contest I'm running and tell your friends

I recently ran a contest for a new Guitar brand that took the Teton Guitar's FB page from 93 fans to 926 fans in less than a month. This page is still growing, but it is full of people talking about the guitars, posting pictures of the guitars they just purchased, recommending different models to each other and being very excited about our endorsees. I'll talk about a few of the things I do below.

Here's a small list of things that every contest, sweepstakes, and giveaway should do:

  • A prize your demographic cares about: Teton Guitars wanted guitar players. We gave away guitars... and couple of tuners and some shirts and stuff. Think about things your clients want, not what you want. When in doubt, giveaway an iPad. Don't cheap out either. Very few people are going to give your their email address or fan your page for the chance to win a prize that they could purchase for $10. You want to pick something that people want, but might not buy for themselves. Think big ticket dream items (read TVs, the latest gadgets, hopefully your best product...)
  • A clear explanation of the rules: You want these rules to be extremely simple. If you have to call your lawyer, your contest is too complicated. The Teton Guitar contest was very simple: we're randomly selecting a winner from our email list.
  • Relevant status updates about the contest: It should be the MAIN thing that you are talking about during that time. You should sell the prize. If you're offering a product or service, explain one, maybe two, benefits of the prize in an update. We posted youtube videos of Artists playing our guitars and mentioned that people could win one. We asked questions like that talked about the quality and mentioned that they could win one. A client of mine gave away tickets to SoCal recently and I suggested that they tell people about the weather, surfing, scuba diving, Disney Land, etc in their status updates. After they started
  • Avoid too many or too few status updates: You should, under no circumstances, post about it so frequently that you tick people off. Make sure that you're posting enough that people know about the contest. Two posts a week might be the max. Once a week (on a different day and time of day each week) is a pretty good amount.
  • A specific time that the winner will be announced: This one is simple. People want to know if they won. Manage the expectations here. If you say that you'll announce on the 15th, and you announce on the 15th at 4:45pm... you'll probably have some frustrated people waiting by their computers to see if they won a new laptop or not. It would be better to tell them what time of day to expect the announcement.
  • A reason to share: This one is extremely important. Under Facebook's policies, you cannot require people to share something, like something or whatnot to enter the contest... its kind of a no purchase necessary thing. You can give them a reason to CHOOSE to share. The way I did it was by giving away TWO guitars. One for the winner, and one for the winner's friend. We then explained the benefit of having your friends enter.

Tuesday is the final day to enter to win Free Guitars. If I were you, I'd get as many of my friends and family to enter as possible, then make them swear that they'll give me the second guitar if they win.

5 more days until we announce the winners of our Teton Guitar Giveaway! Make sure to enter. Make sure your mom enters.

So excited to give some guitars away! Make sure to tell everyone you know (if they win, I'm sure they'll choose you for the second guitar)

  • A real chance to win: In a few of the status updates, I gave people odds. This is especially beneficial to smaller companies because the odds are a lot better. This is one of the few times that having a small customer base is a benefit. For example, if there are two contests running, both giving away the same prize and one FB page has a million fans and one has a thousand... which contest are you going to be more excited about? Here's some examples of some status updates we did for Teton Guitars:

Tomorrow is the last day for your chance to win FREE guitars! Most FB sweepstakes odds are millions to one against you... If you enter ours, you have better than a 1 in 1,000 chance of winning. If you and a friend enter, your chances are better than 1 in 500. Do you have three friends?... (because that's 1 in 250 ...) this is all based on the number of fans we have at the time of this post. Do you think you could get 3-5 other people to enter? You'd significantly raise your chances of winning a guitar. Check out the details at the link below.

  • FAN GATE: This is a process by which the contest is visible only to the fans of your page. You then tell people to fan your page to see the contest.
  • Celebrate the Winner: Post pictures, get a response from the winner and spread it around. Happy excited people associated with you can only help.

This is not an exhaustive list. It doesn't cover how to promote your contest, which I'll cover on a later date. Let me know what you think in the comments.