Facebook is a great platform for running a contest because it can expand your audience, raise awareness about a product or service, boost audience engagement and increase your fans. However, Facebook states that if you are running a competition of any sort, then the following rules MUST be adhered to or you run the risk of getting your page removed. Facebook clearly state that “We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason. These terms are subject to change at any time.”
To read the full details of Facebook Page Rules
# 1. Establish your objective
Why do you want to run a competition? Don’t just run a Facebook competition because that’s what everyone else is doing. Who are you targeting? What do you want to get out of it? Are you hoping to grow your community, or to engage your current fans or do you want to increase awareness about a new product? Or perhaps it’s something else?
# 2. Plan ahead, keeping in mind the rules!
What is the prize? How do your fans enter the competition? Remember don’t make it too difficult! Also be aware of relevant competition rules and licensing laws. For example you require a license to run a lottery. You can get around this by making your competition a ‘game of skill’ which means entries require a particular knowledge level. For example, entrants must answer a question.
You also need to put together some terms and conditions and link to this within your competition, because people need to be able to see the fine print of your competition.
# 3. Set up
Choose a third party application which has the functionality required to run your competition. There are strict rules outlined by Facebook about running competitions – you should read them before running any competitions or contests on your Facebook page. If you violate the rules, you risk having Facebook disable your Page or account.
Can I select a fan at random to give away a prize? No. This constitutes a lottery. You’re effectively using Facebook to “collect entries.” Moreover, you cannot contact winners via Facebook at all—via private message, chat or posting on their wall—nor can you post winners on your page wall.
So, get to grip with 3rd party applications which are built to host competitions on your Facebook page. Here is a list (in no particular order of preference)
# 4. Posting schedule and promotional updates
Have a content calendar created with your posting plan. Often, when running a competition, these promotional updates about the contest take over. Remember to continue to post the information you normally post and include the competition updates in where they naturally fit. Of course, keep in mind your Facebook page’s particular “hotspot” or best time to post. Don’t overload your fans with status updates about the competition. Consider spending some money on promotional posts to boost interaction and increase reach of the post, i.e. more people will see it.
# 5. Wrap up and Review
In scouting, there is a motto: Plan, Do, Review. It is very much appropriate for the business world too! Once you’ve planned your competition in advance then you can execute it step by step knowing exactly what is going to happen at each step. Finally, reviewing it to gain valuable lessons and experience is critical. Don’t forget to take note of what didn’t work, chances are you’ll remember what did!
Have you ever ran a competition on your Facebook page? How did it go?