At the Media Bootcamp in Kirra, I shared some insights of how to run a Facebook contest. Let me summarize what we have learned so far.

First of all, you need to familiarise yourself with Facebook Terms & Conditions, especially with the so called ‘Page Terms’. Don’t worry, it is not a long or difficult read. Just get the gist of the text and move on 🙂

The eye opener is the fact, that you are not allowed to run a Facebook contest by using Facebook’s own features. In other words, you have to use a 3rd party application to create your Facebook contest. The 3rd party application will plugin between your Facebook Fanpage and you business website. There are tons of 3rd party vendors on the market. Simply search on google for ‘Facebook contests app’ and choose a platform that suits your needs.

Prices vary a lot and comparing prices and features is necessary. I personally tend to platforms where the price is based on the campaign and its time frame as this reduces the risk of a surprising bill. 🙂

Secondly, be aware that you are not allowed to contact any participants of your contest via Facebook.

Saying that, by using a 3rd party application you have the possibility to capture data of your participants, such as their email address or phone number. This will open many more opportunities to get in touch with your contest audience.

If you don’t stick to Facebook’s rule, there is a chance that your Facebook Fanpage will be shut down. Therefore, you will need to learn how to play the game and play it a bit better than your competitors 🙂

Once you have understood the rules, it is time to define your goals and purposes of the Facebook contest. The question is not how to run a Facebook contest but why. What is it that you want to achieve? More likes, more engagement on your page? Growing your database?

When you want to increase your Fanpage, define a clear benchmark of when you consider the Facebook contest a success. How many likes do you intent to achieve? 100 more likes? 200?

If you intent to grow your database, how many email addresses do you want to capture to call it a success. As clearer your goals, the better you can tweak your contest.

In a next step, choose a killer prize. Something that is so compelling that people are willing to participate. Don’t go over the top with your prize. If you are a hairdresser, why would you need to give away an iPad? Offer something that is related to your business, to your products and services.

Sometimes, it is a a good idea not to give away something materialistic, such as a title or an award. If you are a not-for-profit organisation intending to run a contest, you could search for the next face of your campaign or for ‘The biggest game changer’. Do you get the idea?

how to run a facebook contest

Once, you became clear about what you want to do, you need to determine the contest type and time frame. Is it a photo contest you want to run or do people have to submit an article? The sky is the limit and you can put all your creativity into this. Very important is a time frame as it sets a limiter to your prize. When people have a deadline, they know they have to act now and not tomorrow or some other day. You should also allow enough time to get some momentum. Unless you are a big brand or a business with a huge database, it will take some time till people find out about your contest.

Then you need to think about your content strategy. What is it that your will post over the time of the contest to make people interested in it. Put an editorial calender together and test your ideas. Don’t forget to put a post-contest-strategy together as well. Once you have received your 100 new likes, what is it that you want to do with your new audience?

Speaking of audiences, how do you actually drive traffic to your contest? How can someone find out about your contest? Which channels can you use to promote it? Do you have a newsletter? Then place a little blurb into it. Do you use offline material, such as flyers? Then make the people aware that there is something going on at your Facebook Fanpage. And then? Then promote, promote, promote 🙂

I hope this little summary will help you getting on track with your Facebook contest. Please feel free to share your experience, ideas and inspiration in the comment section.