6 Steps to Growing your Facebook Page Reach and Community via Promotions
Since the launch of Timeline by Facebook in March, the key to Facebook success is getting fans to engage with your company Facebook Page. As fans engage, it helps to ensure they have a greater chance of seeing your posts in their News Feed. Contests and promotions on Facebook offer a valuable resource to boost Facebook Page engagement with fans.
Why run a contest or promotion on your Facebook Page?
- Promotions draw traffic to your Facebook Page
- Contests, can draw entrants and those entrants then share with Facebook friends to invite friend votes, thereby drawing even more visitors to your Page
- Any Facebook "Like", Comment, or Share of a entry boosts the visitor connection to your Facebook Page, increasing the likelihood of them seeing your future posts in their News Feed.
- People love deals and deals can be a means to new business and repeat business!
- A promotion or contest run on Facebook can boost product and brand recognition
From Photo Entry Contests to Group Deals and Sweepstakes, there are multiple types of easy-to-build promotion apps enabling companies to run a promotion on Facebook. Beyond the setup of the app on your Facebook Page, however, there are critical elements that go into the planning, marketing, and implementation that are critical to the success of the promotion.
How to Launch a Successful Promotion on Facebook:
Step #1: Follow the rules and the law!
There are rules and laws regarding contests and sweepstakes, which vary by social platform, and by state and country. For example, you often must have official rules that outline how you will pick a winner.
Facebook outlines a promotion policy that defines what a promotion must do to comply with Facebook Terms of Service (TOS), and that if a user does not comply, they risk having their Page shut down. Key elements of the Facebook TOS include:
- Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App. (TabSite is a Facebook App)
- Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
c. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
- You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion's registration or entry mechanism.
So, using a approved Facebook Page App is important in order to comply with Facebook rules. Page Admins should not try to run a contest in the Page Timeline for example. If you see a Page saying "Comment here on this post to be entered", that is not in compliance with Facebook promotion guidelines.
Every region, and every industry, has different restrictions on promotions. Be sure to research this for your location and industry, and ask your legal counsel if you have any remaining questions.
Step #2: Determine the Facebook Contest / Promotion Type
There are different types of promotions and different ways to have winners selected.
A Sweepstakes allows visitors to enter and then Page Admins conduct a random drawing to select a winner from those entered. For contests, there are more ways to choose a winner. Facebook Page Admins will have to decide how they will choose a winner in order to write the official rules mentioned in Step #1. Page Admins might want to have the most votes win and announce a certain end date. Or a company might want to run a 2 Stage contests with voting on phase 1 and the top 3, 5, or 10 vote getters from this initial round move on to a final round of new voting. A third option would be to outline that a Panel of Judges will select the winner on a certain date from all entries received.
Recommendation: Our team recommends strongly that a Facebook Page contest allow fan voting, or if you decide a Sweepstakes is the preferred tool, allow the user to enter more than once. This increases fan traffic to your Page and allows you more times to potentially interact with them. For a contest, it allows a broader spectrum of fans, entrants and voters, and encourages entrants to reach out to their networks, inviting their networks to come and vote for their entry which ultimately results in more exposure.
As well, it would be our recommendation that voting be set to one vote per day on the Facebook promotion, and not simply one vote per contest. This gets voters to come back and interact with your page again and again which helps increase your exposure and their connection to your Page, as well as increases the chances of them Liking, Sharing, and Commenting on your contest entries.
The more interaction a Facebook Page can offer to those entering and voting, the better; as this expands the reach of the contest virally across Facebook and the web.
Step #3: Choose the Promotion Technology
Here are some considerations in contest / promotion technology for Facebook Page Admins:
A company could build the promotion platform from scratch themselves, or hire a web firm or agency to build it. Building a promotion tool from scratch will give a Page the most flexibility and customized features and functions, but it can also be very pricey and will take a significant amount of development time.
An alternative is to leverage a third-party contest platform that is built to work on Facebook. This may offer less total customization but offers quite affordable turnkey solutions that take minimal setup time and no coding knowledge. There are multiple third-party Facebook contest providers, each with many different tools and options available. Key tools to consider when reviewing third-party providers are: what type of control of the voting options are offered (single entry, daily voting, 2 Stage voting, etc), what flexibility in design and layout is offered, does it offer a mobile friendly Facebook Page Tab solution, and whether the entrant and voting data is captured and exportable.
Step #4: Pick a prize
A single prize can do or offer prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. This is where the incentive comes in that drives your audience to enter and seek votes.
One major consideration to take into account in relation to what prize is offered is who your ideal target audience is.
If the goal is to generate leads for a female audience related to clothing and jewelry, then offering a Gift Card to the local Big Box Store may not do the trick. Make the prize relevant to the target you want to enter.
Another consideration is matching the prize to the effort required to enter, which is especially important for contests.
If a user just needs to provide a email address to enter to win a free hot dog, that might be enough of an incentive. However, if I need to create a video for a hot dog brand, including write a script, editing the video and need actors, the prize had better reflect the time investment that will be necessary!
Another consideration is that if your organization is awarding a larger grand prize for greater incentive, such as a free iPad, you'll want to make the your cost investment as worthwhile as possible. A longer duration contest allows for broader reach and more social word-of-mouth. It also gives people more time to enter, allowing for a more detailed contest with a greater number of potential brand benefits.
Step #5: Get the word out!
You must get the word out! If running a Facebook contest, consider Facebook Page Timeline posts with a link directly to the contest. Since not all fans see your post, Facebook Pages may want to consider using Facebook's Promoted Posts tool to boost the reach of the post. As well cross-promoting should be done on services your fans use such as Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, and of course the old faithful e-mail blast.
A company should also consider a blog post or press release on their website and other web resources. The post should contain the vital information, clear imagery, and a easily found call-out link to the contest on Facebook.
There are really three phases to getting the word out: The initial launch, the ongoing updates (reminders, status of who is leading, etc, which needs to be done at least a few times per week if not something every day,) and the post contest announcement of winners and information to frame and capture the final buzz around the promotion. Use Facebook, e-mail, and other means to share.
This part is critical to the success of the campaign. They will not enter if they do not know about your promotion. They will not vote multiple times if they are not reminded they can vote more than once, and they will not come back to see who won if not alerted to end of the contest. Social communication, using images, and timely posts at opportune times for best visibility all help to ensure your campaign takes off and momentum is sustained.
Step #6: Publicize the Winner
Promoting the contest after it ends is very important! In Step #1, you should have already outlined how a winner will be chosen. Now it's time to pick and publicize. Some third party platforms, like TabSite, will determine the winner for you based on criteria you setup (such as most votes in a contest, or picking a random winner from Sweepstake entries).
Depending on how big the prize is, you may be able to garner significant extra attention by promoting the winner, publishing a picture of the prize, or even later publishing a picture of the winner with the prize! Again, using your social network avenues including Facebook Page Timeline posts, a message on G+, Tweets, and a e-mail blast are ways to alert your community that a winner has been determined. Do not simply tell them all the information, but announce and link back to the Facebook Page tab again for the unveiling. This is your final push to bring them back to your Page to engage, congratulate, and get further connected to your Page.
A Facebook promotion can be a major community builder and exposure mechanism to reach your target audience and to expand that audience. Facebook is the most popular and most-used social network so it makes sense to look to Facebook as a key social network for your promotion. The key to success is choosing a promotion type that will connect with your audience, and then getting the communication out well so that the promotion can gain traction and exposure. The multiple connection and communication points to promote ahead, during, and after a promotion offer key opportunities for a brand to boost engagement on their Facebook page.
Mike Gingerich is a co-founder of TabSite.com, the industry leader in Facebook fan page management. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook engagement while leveraging the ability to simultaneously extend reach on Platforms such as Pinterest. Their innovative Pin Deal application for Facebook Pages that integrates a Facebook promotion with Pinterest sharing is one example of this social synergy. For more information on Tabsite, please visit www.tabsite.com.