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Conducting a Successful Facebook Contest: How to Identify the Right Incentives

As you may have noticed, everyone seems to be running a Facebook contest of sorts these days. There’s good reason for this, as Facebook contests can help increase your customer base if you them right.

Key Takeaways you can expect from this article to help you with Facebook contests:

1)  Identifying if your business needs a Facebook contest
2)  Identifying your goals for conducting the contest
3)  Tips on selecting incentives for making your contest a success while ensuring you meet the goals you have set out.

Are you planning to run your own Facebook contest to promote your brand? If so, then perhaps one of the questions troubling you right now is that of what incentives and prizes you should give away.  That is indeed an important consideration, but before we get to that, perhaps you should first answer the following questions:

Do you really need a Facebook contest?

It may seem ridiculous to ask this, but there are actually businesses that really won’t benefit much from a Facebook contest. For example, if the market you’re operating in is considered a super-niche market, then Facebook may not be the best place for you to go looking for new clients. This is especially true for B2B businesses. If, however, you’re running a B2C business and your target market is the general public, then a Facebook contest could indeed be an excellent way to earn more customers.

What do you hope to achieve with the contest?

You can’t just run a contest for the sake of having one. You’ll have to determine beforehand what you expect to gain from the activity. Think of the contest as an investment and your goal as the return on that investment. Goals can range from increasing your customer base to increasing web traffic or increasing revenue. Remember that tactics like this can effectively allow you to accomplish goals faster than an increased number of Likes for your Facebook page. It therefore pays to be creative in setting your contest goals.

facebook contest
Flickr.com photo by viZZZual.com.

To ensure the success of a Facebook contest, you need to have a target, which the contest will help you achieve.

What type of contest will you run?

There are generally four types of Facebook contests you can run and these are photo contests, video contests, essay contests, and sweepstakes. You need to determine which type of contest can best help you achieve your goals. Bear in mind that each type of contest has a different appeal and will likely be appreciated by a completely different set of audience. The easiest contest to run is a sweepstakes contest, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best contest for you. In most cases, the type of business you operate determines the best contest option. For example, if you sell health supplements, then an essay contest about how your products changed someone’s life could be the best contest to run.

After answering the above questions, if you choose to pursue your plan of running a Facebook contest, you can start thinking about what you should give away as incentives and prizes.

Here are a few tips:

1.       Provide Incentives for Joining

Sometimes it’s not enough for you to offer an attractive prize for winning the contest. To get more people to join and ask their family and friends to participate as well, it may be a good idea to offer an incentive simply for joining. The incentive can be as simple as a free item or a discount coupon. If you choose to offer a freebie, it’s often wise to set a limit and announce the limit at the outset. For example, you could give away a bottle of your Vitamin C supplement to the first 20 contest entrants.

On the other hand, choosing to give away a discount coupon to all contest entrants may be an excellent way not only of convincing people to join the contest, but also of getting more traffic to your website. Offering a discount coupon as an incentive for joining your contest is really a win-win solution. It gives your audience something in return for their effort of joining. At the same time, it assures you of sales from at least some of those who joined the contest. After all, they can’t take advantage of the discount if they don’t buy your products, right?

2.       Choose Prizes Directly Related to Your Business

Check out some of the Facebook contests currently being run and you’ll probably see one thing in common—they typically offer an iPad (or any other popular electronic gadget) as top prize or at least one of the prizes. Although people may indeed be more easily attracted to a contest that offers the latest electronic gadgets as prize, this doesn’t really help you achieve your goal unless you’re in the business of selling gadgets and accessories.

The contest itself and the prize you’re offering should attract individuals who are interested in what your business offers. You should never forget that you’re running the contest in order to grow your business, so it should promote your business in a way. So, using our previous example of a health supplement business, your contest will probably be more successful if you offered a year’s supply of supplements as prize instead of an iPad.

3.       Take the Participants’ Effort into Consideration

The general rule is that the bigger the prize, the more attractive a contest is. However, giving away a huge prize may not really be advisable in some cases. A better rule to follow would be to make sure the size or quality of the prize is proportionate to the effort contest entrants need to exert. For a sweepstakes contest, it may be enough to offer one of your health supplements as prize. For an essay contest, however, it may be more advisable to offer a whole line of supplements as prize. You may even want to throw in a free health consultation as a bonus. The bonus can encourage people to join your contest even when you give them a very limited time to submit their entries.

More than the prizes and incentives, the key to running a successful Facebook contest is simplicity. It should be easy for people to join and the overall mechanics shouldn’t be that complicated. It may be okay to ask entrants to send in an essay with at least 500 words on how health supplements helped them, but asking them to fill out and submit a 10-page entry form with their essay may just turn off a lot of potential entrants. So, the next time you think about launching a Facebook contest to promote your brand, ensure its success by setting a clear goal, offering an attractive incentive, and keeping things simple.

About the Author: 

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, http://www.pitstopmedia.com, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too please contact Julie.

Topics: Contests Social Media Marketing Facebook for Business