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How to run a successful Facebook competition

If you’re looking to launch a successful Facebook competition but are unsure as to what is and isn’t against the rules these days, then you are in the right place. It is often hard to keep up with all the changes, but here is a step-by-step guide to running a promotion or competition on your company’s Facebook Business Page.

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Running competitions on Facebook is a great way to engage with your fans, will increase the visibility of your brand to more potential fans, and can be a very useful lead generation exercise. It can be a quick and inexpensive tactic that you can use as part of your overarching social media strategy.
But Facebook has strict guidelines governing competitions and from time to time Facebook updates and changes these rules.
We’ve put together this list of tips and techniques that you can use to make sure you’re Facebook competition is a great success.

So, how have the rules for Facebook competitions changed over time?

The most recent changes to the Facebook competition policy saw any action that involves a personal timeline being banned. Despite this change coming into force a few years ago now, many brands are still unknowingly going against this rule, and many of the others that are now in force, every day. 

Prior to August 2013, promotions on Facebook were required to be run via an external, third-party app. Facebook functionality was not allowed to be used to run a promotion. However, fast forward to 2019 and many brands choose to run a contest or competition directly on their own website, using Facebook solely to promote it. Why? Because it makes it easier to write your own rules, leading to more traffic to the place you want it most: your website. 
Later in 2013, Facebook approved the like and comment on posts to enter mechanic, which meant third-party apps were no longer necessary to create Facebook competitions. This new movement was soon in jeopardy in 2014, when Facebook banned like-gating, which stopped brands from incentivising people to use social plugins or to like a page. This included offering rewards based on whether or not a person liked a page.
The restrictions continued in 2015 as brands are still not allowed to ask entrants to share their giveaway on personal timelines or with their friends as a means of entry. Any kind of action that involves a personal timeline or friend connection isn’t allowed; including tagging and messaging.

The 8 Facebook rules that you should not ignore

Running a Facebook competition can have many benefits for your brand, but there are several rules to be aware of before you dive into it.

What is allowed when it comes to running a competition on Facebook?

  • You can ask people to like a post to enter
  • You can ask people to like a page to get access to a contest entry form
  • You can ask people to comment on a post to enter
  • You can ask people to like as a voting mechanism

Things to avoid when running a successful Facebook contest:

  • You can’t ask people to like a page to automatically enter
  • You can’t ask people to share a page to enter
  • You can’t ask people to tag themselves in pictures to enter
  • You can’t ask people to like a different page to enter

Your Facebook competition strategy

So, you’ve come up with a great Facebook competition idea and have brushed up on all relevant Facebook competition roles, what next? 

Consider your audience: 

The narrower your target audience, the more restricted the reach. Try and think about your secondary audience too, for example, by targeting children in a contest you can increase your reach since parents/guardians will usually be involved.

Incorporate hashtags: 

A simple competition hashtag will amplify your reach, whilst creating a sense of community for those taking part. A hashtag will also make reporting on the success of your competition a much easier task too.

Think beyond the like to win: 

Whilst a simple like this post to win strategy is an effective competition mechanic, if you want your competition to stand out from the crowd, consider techniques such as the search and reward tactic, which encourages users to look for something to win a prize.

Set clear guidelines: 

Although dull on the surface, terms and conditions are a crucial element of running a Facebook competition. They must be housed on your Facebook page and/or website, and be clearly accessible to the public. Within your guidelines, you must discuss everything each individual needs to complete to enter, as well as disclosing how the winner of the competition will be chosen.

Pick your prize carefully: 

Big doesn’t always mean better. Think about a modest prize that will appeal to your target audience. The size of the prize should also be relevant to the amount of effort you want your entries to go to. If you’re a smaller B2B business, consider offering a service-related prize like time with an expert, or a business audit.

Embrace user-generated content (UGC): 

As competition entries come in, share them on your page where appropriate. This rewards your community, which creates a sense of pride, whilst encouraging further entries.

Detect fraudulent entries: 

The more modest your prize, the more likely you are to deter fraudulent users. However, scammers will still have lots of methods that could potentially exploit your contest, so you should consider using an app to verify sign-ups and monitor your entries closely. An external app removes the likelihood of you accidentally going against Facebook’s rules regarding functionality – say you ask people to share to enter. It also allows you to collect more data, including the email addresses of the entrants which could allow you to more easily contact the winner of the promotion.

Should you run a Facebook competition?

It’s important to note that each brand is different, and what might work well for some, might not work well for yours. However, it’s a great way to create organic engagement, interact with your audience and capture their attention if you are in a position to offer a prize – whether it be service offering or perhaps a gift card or voucher.
It’s also a technique which extends to your organic reach, which increases the likelihood of gaining new followers. By using user-generated content, you are also likely to create a sense of loyalty and pride amongst your followers, which can lead to conversions in the longer term.

Top tips summarised

  1. Pick Your Objective: What do you want to achieve through your competition? Engagement? Followers? Reach? This will craft your competition mechanics and what you want your audience to do to enter.
  2. Choose Your Audience: If you know your audience clearly, you can ensure your messaging, artwork and any paid advertising spend, is directly targeting the right people.
  3. Create Your Assets: People are more likely to take notice of your competition if it features rich media. These should be created beforehand in keeping with your audience and objective.
  4. Manage, Respond and Measure: Community management is key: make sure you have someone to manage your competition entries and measure your success after the competition has finished.

 If you need help measuring the success of your social media activity, or want some advice on how to run a successful social media competition, contact us today.

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