Sweepstakes, deals, contests & more as a way to stoke engagement
Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, social media marketers, Facebook administrators.
Guest post by Mike Gingerich
You’re on Facebook because you want engagement, right? But you don’t want engagement purely for its own sake.
You want to be on Facebook because an engaged Facebook community translates into more leads, more donors, more customers & more sales for your nonprofit or business.
Put simply, more engagement means more volunteers, subscribers and donors. Research data reported by Vocus notes that 79% of Facebook fans are more likely to purchase from a brand they have liked. Thus, pursuing more fans and deeper engagement with existing fans is a valuable priority.
But how do you get more engagement on your Facebook page? There are a number of ways. You can:
And you can also run promotions. But you need to choose the promotion type that fits best with your goals. Here are four promotion types that Facebook fan pages can run:
1A sweepstakes is a chance-based, easy-entry promotion that fans enter by completing a simple form with their name and e-mail. Winners are drawn randomly after a set date.
As with most Facebook promo apps, a sweepstakes can be “Like-gated” so fans have to Like the page in order to access the entry form. (And don’t be scared by the word “app”; on Facebook, an app can be a simple form.)
Pros of using a sweepstakes:
- Low barrier to entry (simple form completion)
- Works for a wide variety of industries
- Pages can capture key user information – important for future email/location marketing
If you run a sweepstakes, you can limit each fan to a single entry or allow fans to enter repeatedly.
I recommend allowing fans to enter daily because it ensures the most continued engagement — it incentivizes the fan to return to the page day after day.
Sweepstakes promotions can work for a wide variety of businesses — including B2B and B2C. They help:
- draw fans to the page to enter
- boost viral sharing — if the app has a sharing mechanism that increases entries.
Deals and coupons
2A deal or offer is another promotion type with a low barrier to entry.
Here’s how it works:
- A Facebook page asks the fan to do something.
- When the fan completes the task, she is given access to the deal.
For example: “Like our Page to access this 40% off coupon”
Other examples (and app offerings) include (1) sharing a post on your Facebook news feed or (2) sharing a post on a friend’s Timeline to access the deal.
Like sweepstakes, deals are useful because:
- Fans respond to them.
- It accomplishes a task helpful to the organization (e.g., more page Likes).
Pros of using a Deal app:
- Low barrier to entry (simple task completion)
- Expands reach to additional social networks — which can help the page reach a wider audience or other type of audience than currently reached on Facebook
- Works for a wide variety of industries
- Pages get something of value in return — such as further exposure, a Like, or an e-mail address for their list.
3A contest is different than a sweepstakes or a deal in that it requires more effort & skill from the fan to enter. For example, the fan has to take a photo that meets certain requirements to enter.
Instead of a random drawing to determine the winner, contests select a winner via:
- voting by the public
- judging by a select group
While photo contests are the most common type of contest on Facebook, there are other types too, like videos, essays or photo captions.
Pros for using a Facebook Contest:
- More opportunity for engagement
Contest entrants engage via their entries, of course. But more importantly, new users and potential fans come to your page and engage by way of viewing and voting on entries — which can add up to some serious reach, exposure, and interaction on your page.
Another option for a contest is to consider a two-stage process. This adds the benefit of a initial round of voting and then the need to return to view and vote again in the final round.
Entrants are motivated to share with friends
Entrants want more votes — so they extend the reach of the contest to their network of friends by asking for their votes.
This social sharing by entrants to their friends both (1) increases the contest’s reach and (2) functions as a positive referral mechanism. The entrant’s invitation to friends to vote adds trust & credibility to the page — and to its products and services.
Better qualifying of entrants
Making entrants meet a certain criteria for entry acts as a sifting mechanism. It adds a barrier for those who just enter any promotion because it’s easy & they might win, regardless of whether they’re interested in your business.
Depending on your contest’s entry guidelines, this process can serve to qualify or pre-screen entrants as potential customers.
Access to user generated content
If your promotional rules make it clear that contest entry materials can be used by your company in the future, the contest can be an excellent method of getting user-generated content relevant to your brand — and useable in future social marketing.
Note: Contests may not work for industries or businesses that don’t lend themselves to this type of engagement. For instance, it might be a stretch for a medical practitioner to run a photo contest due to privacy concerns or relevance.
Multi-network social promos
4A multi-network social promotion is a promotion that involves Facebook and at least one other social media platform — such as Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Similar to a deal, the fans are asked to accomplish a task and upon completion they are then given access to the deal offer. The difference is that the task is centered around doing something on a different social platform such as Pinterest or Instagram.
In this case the fan comes to the Facebook page and the promotion is outlined. The fan then accomplishes the task — such as adding a image to Instagram with a certain hashtag or using a integrated pin tool to pin a image to Pinterest.
Some apps allow images to be pulled in from the other social network to appear on the page tab. Otherwise the image can simply stay on the other social network.
Either way the fan has engaged with your Facebook page and simultaneously extended information about your brand to another social network.
Pros for using a multi-network social promo:
- Extends brand to more social locations — This type of promotion can work great for a company whose audience is active on more than one social network — or for an organization looking to continue gaining Facebook traction but also expand visibility on Pinterest, for example.
- Image driven – Images are powerful in social media and a multi-network social promo using images can capture the attention of viewers and invite sharing and comments — all of which boost visibility & drive referral traffic.
- Suitable for a wide variety of businesses — A multi-network social promotion can work for apparel firms to credit unions, venues to radio stations and more.
Bonus tips for running successful promotions
- Keep the entry form simple — too many fields will cause fewer entries.
- Make the prize relevant to your company – an iPad is not relevant if you own a craft store.
- Ensure the prize value equates to your product – a $30 gift card for $600 watches is not a motivating deal
- Keep the contest moving – don’t run a month-long contest. The attention span of a Facebook fan is short. They won’t keep track of an entry and vote daily for 30 days. 5-7 days is a better span or perhaps 10 days if it’s a two-stage (initial and finalist rounds) contest.
- Set voting to one time per day for contests — this encourages entrants to get voters to come back each day — a perfect situation for your page!
- Know your target audience – is your target audience using Pinterest or Instagram already? If so, a multi-network social promotion could work well.
- Ensure the process is seamless– make sure the promotion is doing the work for you and giving the user the best possible experience. Apps integrating OAuth (sorry, technical term!) for log-in or other integrated means to access the service directly (without the “open a new browser window” issues) are critical. Fans should be able to arrive, understand, and complete in short order.
Promotions for Facebook pages offer the power to draw fans in, boost page engagement, and accomplish tangible marketing goals — like increasing e-mail list numbers. Deals in the form of coupons and discount codes will always be an attractive means to help increase traffic to a page and encourage visitors to begin a fan relationship with the page.
While not an end in themselves, contests and offers can be part of a larger marketing strategy and a key piece of helping a business grow their social community.