How to Successfully Run Facebook Promotions

Facebook promotionsWell thought out Facebook promotions can expand your brand awareness and help you gain new quality leads. It can also help you gain insight to those fans,  such as demographic and psychographic information if your intake form requires it. Further, it’s a great way to get self-generated content that you can re-use on your website and other social networks for the future.

Before you read any further, by “promotion” I am referring to a contest (where the winner is selected based on skill) or a sweepstakes (where the winner is selected by chance).

Before you start a promotion or campaign, it’s best to always understand any applicable rules for the platform. So be sure to review Facebook’s Page Promotion Guidelines, as they may change over time.

  1. Make sure you have enough time and resources.
    Before you start a promotion, be sure that you have the time and resources available to manage not only the implementation, but the monitoring and measurement of your promotion. Give yourself ample time to implement your promotion and think the different scenarios through. Perhaps do a dry run through first to see what the experience will be like for your fans.
  2. Set clear & realistic goals.
  3. You have to be realistic when creating a promotion simply due to the fact that we can’t predict the future. You can’t predict how people are going to respond, you can only hope they will respond to your call-to-action. Be realistic about your goals, the information you want to collect, the action you want them to take  and makes sure you have a clear way of measuring these goals so that you can see the return on investment at the end. And remember, a goal should lead to revenue or brand awareness because they are the only things that your CEO or CFO are going to care about in the long run.
  4. Know what your audience wants and make sure it’s relevant to your brand.
    By knowing what types of prizes your audience (future leads) want, will insure that you get quality leads to enter your promotion. But if you give away an iPad and you’re a clean energy company, you will get entries from people who may not be the clean energy evangelists you’d hoped. The same goes for Trade shows where you want people to stop by your booth so you can collect their information, but if your prize is not relevant to your brand, then those new fans or entries are meaningless because they are not going to amplify your brand or brand’s message any further than your trade show booth.
  5. Limit the barrier to entry.
    Think about the type of promotion you want to have and then think about how easy it is to enter your contest or sweepstakes. The lower the barrier to entry is, the more people who will enter your promotion. For example, uploading a photo on Facebook is a lot easier and less work than uploading a video.  If you just ask them for their name and email address, that’s a lot easier than asking them for their name, email, full address, phone number, Twitter handle, and to “Like” your brand to enter. Go back to your goals and re-think what is you want them to do and what you want to capture from them.Also, a little tip from Sandra Rathi at BlogHer, if you’re doing a video or photo promotion, consider “stacking the deck” with a few of your own so that people can overcome the fear of being first. No one wants to be first in entering a contest, especially if it’s a video one.
  6. Build buzz.
    It’s easier said than done, but you need to think about other ways to build buzz around your promotion. Just because you put a promotion up on Facebook and do a few posts on it and cross-promote on Twitter, doesn’t mean that people are going to flock to your promotion to enter. Part of the planning process is figuring out how you are going to build buzz and identify influential bloggers and tweeters who can help amplify your promotion.
  7. Have a fraud mechanism in place
    Fraud is tough to prevent on sweepstakes. You can input a captcha or some other verification process, but it may limit the barrier to entry. However, because contests are based off of skill, it offers you a bit more control on preventing fraud if you have a pre-selected judging panel, rather than community votes. If you’re going to do community votes in addition or instead of a judging panel, consider finding a way to limit the number of votes per day, as HomeDepot and Pepsi have done in their Facebook contests.
  8. Measure it
    No matter if it is a contest or sweepstakes you are going to have to show someone how well it was perceived with numbers that tie back to those goals you set up in step #2. Keep in mind that “Gaining x more fans” is not a goal.  However, increasing revenue by x$ or increasing website hits by x, is.
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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.