How to run a competition on Facebook

So, you’re planning a campaign to reach new targets, grow your Facebook community, drive engagement and hopefully a few sales too… but you’re stumped on how to get maximum returns here. But before you go any further were you aware that Facebook has some pretty stringent guidelines for running a promotion – click here

OK you’ve got your head around the Facebook guidelines, you’ve listed out your KPIs, honed your messaging and set a time schedule for activity. Now’s the time to review your options for running your Facebook competition:


Option 1 – Simple and cost effective, but short lived. Run a competition as a post on your timeline.

Pose a question or post an image and ask your community to comment for entry. The secret here is to get the campaign concept relevant, interesting and engaging. Put lots of emphasis on the request, but keep it super simple (i.e. max of a sentence in comments). Also, invest time in getting the creative slicker than a Teddyboy’s hairdo. Top Tip: Video footage featuring the challenge works a treat!

The pros are: costs virtually nothing, can be set up, run and managed quickly and easily, Facebook advertising.

Cons: Doesn’t collect email addresses, only suitable for shorter campaigns, limited share-ability unless you pay Mr. Zuckerberg in green!


Option 2 – Mid range but still cost effective. Use a third party app.

There are a myriad of third party app providers out there that offer a range of safe and standard competition apps that you can brand and run off your page as a competition ‘app’. These normally come in the guise of photo/video upload contests, essay questions etc. These can dramatically range in price, but are on the whole make for a pretty good campaign for under £1,000. Obviously you need to decide which app is suitable for the campaign’s messaging, then design your banners and upload accordingly, then simply promote.

The pros are: Some providers have cost effective apps, can be easy to set up, run and manage, ideal for 2-4 week campaigns, collect marketing data, apps are normally fully supported, apps are fully compliant with Facebooks Ts & Cs.

Cons: You’re limited to app format/competition types, can be expensive, results can sometimes be underwhelming based on boredom factor, you’re going to need a decent budget to support the apps through FB advertising.


Option 3 – BIG campaign, bespoke apps.

Something we specialise in setting up for agencies and brands alike, similar to the above, bespoke gamification apps have both pros and cons, although having run hundreds of all three types of campaigns, we’d have to say a bespoke campaigning app delivers the greatest KPIs to the marketer. Yes, they often have a greater price-tag, but the sky is the limit in terms of what you can achieve. These apps come into their own when deployed for major promotions, perhaps supported by a decent sprinkling of above-the-line and through-the-line promotions. Gameplay is typically always incentivised and offers a unique education to the user as they play. We’ve proven this works well with recall about the product increasing dramatically after play. In fact, tie in some ‘instant win’ mechanics and reward exclusive coupons and you’ll even find redemption climbs as well – our record to date is a reach figure over 20,000,000 and £1m in additional sales in just 2 months for a brand through couponing alone!

Whilst there are many other positive considerations also, these apps can grow ALL of your social channels, even though it resides on Facebook. We simply incentivise the player with another chance of winning/playing if they ‘follow you’ on another channel. In the same vein, we encourage the player to help promote the campaign by making it easy for them to tweet or invite friends for additional reward.

The pros are: Shelf life is far longer, 100% bespoke to your brand, message and campaign, extensive sharability functionality, collection of marketing data, opportunity to educate your market, fully responsive and supported, reach and engagement go through the roof!

Cons: There’s more cost involved because they are more technical and there’s obviously more planning needed.


So where are we at now?

You’ve chosen your competition type, built any required technology, branded it, decided upon your schedule. Now you’ve got the promotion to focus on.

There are heaps of ways you can promote your competition, here are just a few:

  • Social media advertising, and in this case Facebook advertising. Without it, sadly you’ll not succeed as the organic reach levels are just so small. The good news is that you can target your prospects like no other platform and with the right strategy, it’s incredible value
  • Blogger outreach. Love them or hate them, 5% of the blogging population are actually quite influential. Select the gems carefully and make sure there is budget for their support, even if it’s just a decent goody bag. Nurture them now and you’ll have exclusive access to them in the future
  • Brand collaborations. Something we look to do on every campaign we run is tie up with brands that are complementary to yours, but not competitors obviously. The benefits are numerous and can include free prizes as well as extensive promotion to people who are likely to relate to your product

Monitoring is VERY important. Obvious I know, but without the ability to monitor your success, how do you know if you’re investment has been worthwhile?!

Basic monitoring can be through the likes of Facebook insights or Google Analytics, more complex data can be sought from a range of paid tools such as Meltwater or Radian6.

If you’d like to discuss your campaign with us please call Hayden on 0203 411 9111 (ext 901).