7 Ways to Make Your Facebook Contest a Raving Success

… This is a post from 2013 from my old blog. I’m reposting it here only because it STILL gets tons of traffic. The ideas are still valid and the contest was a success … 

Recently, I put together a Facebook contest for ModernGreetings and we had a blast.

The contest did a lot to drive awareness for ModernGreetings.com and they went from a few hundred fans to nearly 8,000 in about 5 weeks. Not bad at all.

I’m sure a few competitors raised their eyebrows as well!

Now that the contest has been over a while and I’ve got some distance from it I have boiled  down what we’ve learned from it as well as a few things to watch out for so you don’t get taken advantage of…

1. When picking a prize go big!

Many companies make the mistake of trying to give away a product or money. I don’t think that is the best option. You want people to become aware of your company so they’ll buy your product. Don’t cheapen it by giving it away.

Also, a product is not something that is going to generate a lot of buzz or make people expend much effort.

Think about how they’ll use the product or make a list of people who are interested in the product or service and ask yourself what they would want.

One of the primary segments for ModernGreetings.com is “Soccer Moms.” They are usually married, have one or more kids above 5 years old and live in Suburbia. (I won’t reveal the exact Prizm codes here, sorry!)

We could give away a photobook (yawn) or free birthday invitations for their kid’s next birthday (bigger yawn) or we could ask ourselves what would really move them?

What would get even other people, non-Soccer Moms, to send messages to the Soccer Moms saying, “Hey, did you hear about the contest? You should enter!”

After some brainstorming we came up with an idea… What soccer mom wouldn’t go nuts for a 2nd Honeymoon? It has a direct tie-in to ModernGreetings.com because we also gave away free photobooks to commemorate their 2nd honeymoon. That ties in perfectly.

But, we didn’t stop there… We decided to give one 2nd Honeymoon away every week for 4 weeks.

Each contest would require them to engage in social media activities to get the word out which would continue to build momentum for the contest.

Which brings us to the Second Way…

2. Make Participation Forward Your Social Presence to Get Even More Engagement and Awareness

We really wanted to get the word out, not only on Facebook, but on Twitter and Pinterest as well.

So, we designed contests to have a social component. The first contest was a funniest wedding photo contest where the contestants had to post a photo and get their Facebook friends to vote for it.

On Twitter we had them tweet a short summary of their proposal using the hashtag #MGTakeUsAway.

On Pinterest we had them create a board of their favorite destination and pin pictures of the sights, sounds and food they’d enjoy. We pinned a small infographic describing the contest task.

The last contest was a video of a wedding moment or of them recounting a wedding moment.

Each week we posted a different task. Each week we announced the winner in a recap video. Anyone who didn’t win could also participate in the next task. Many people participated in all four.

3. Give Frequent Updates via Email, Twitter, Facebook and Video Posts

The LAST thing you want someone to do is enter a contest and then forget about it. What you really want is to get them coming to your Facebook page often to check up on their stats, encourage friends to help them and also to see your OTHER non-contest related information.

The best way to do that is with frequent updates. We updated nearly everyday in some way and often several times in a day.

The day before the end of the contest we’d do an update were we highlighted who the top performers were and encouraging everyone to give one last push. This created a nice flurry of extra activity to our SM properties.

By letting people know WHEN we were going to announce we also had quite a bit of extra hits going to check up on the results. They often interacted with non-contest Facebook posts during that time.

4. Get Permission to Reveal the Winners and Use Their Submitted Items in Promotion

One of the interesting things we didn’t expect was a lot of extra commenting and social activity around congratulating winners. By doing a contest recap, revealing the winner and showing the entry that won, we had another opportunity to get in front of all of the contestants and their friends.

5. Give a Prize for EVERYONE Who Enters

While nothing beats the Grand Prize we didn’t want ANYONE to go off empty handed so we gave everyone who entered little prizes here and there. It built good will and resulted in quite a few full price orders for the company.

6. Leave the Final Decision Up To A Panel of Judges in Your Company

Of course, with anything like a contest involving prizes of magnitude you should have an attorney write the rules. I would suggest leaving the final decision up to a panel of judges who pick the winner from a pool of the top contestants. One reason I say this is because there are “voting groups” on Facebook which are organized to all vote for each other. While not technically illegal it is on the scammy side and is NOT what you want. You want real votes and comments from contestants, their friends and family… not organized groups of “you vote for me on this contest, I’ll vote for you on that contest.” If you disallow such things in your rules then if someone uses a voting group you can simply remove them from the pool of top contestants.

7. Make it Fun!

If you make it a blast for people it will spread. We reached over 1.2 million people on Facebook each week for about 5 weeks straight. A ton more people became aware of ModernGreetings.com and we saw email optins and sales increase as a result.

And, if you or your company want to run a Facebook contest, contact me and let’s have some fun!

Jason Bedunah

P.S. Have you ever entered a Facebook contest yourself? Would you? Let me know in the comments below

Jason Bedunah

Jason writes direct response copy for some of the best direct response marketers in the world since 2005. He's also spent several years building entire marketing departments for fast growing companies so he has a 360-degree view of what it takes to successfully execute winning campaigns.