Running online facebook & twitter contests

We launched an online contest today for one of my clients and although the work is far from over it had me thinking of all the pre-work that goes into running a contest, promotion or sweepstakes. For those that prefer the do-it-yourself method rather than outsourcing the work. Here are some key considerations before you dive in.

1. What is the purpose of your contest and how will you determine success?

Are you looking at attracting Facebook fans, building brand awareness, or getting leads? This is the first and most important step as it will ensure that your analyze the success of your campaign accurately. For my client, Fix Auto, we are looking to build brand awareness. Therefore, for us, the # of entries we get into contest is not as important as click through rates. If people clicked through to their Facebook page, we have in all likely hood brought attention to our name and what we do.

2. Determine how you will run your contest.

The majority of people are unaware of Facebook’s strict promotion guidelines. It is very important that you make yourself aware of their policies for pages and contests, sweepstakes and promotions. Many of my clients come to me saying that they have run a promotion on their wall of their Facebook Page giving away something or making liking you a requirement. This is actually against Facebook guidelines. I suggest using a third party app to facilitate your promotion. Personally, I like Wildfire as it is straight forward, provides basic analytics even at the base accounts and it looks professional.

3. Legal is important.

When I began to run contests and promotions online I asked around for a lawyer that was knowledgeable in this area. I wanted to ensure that my clients “Official Rules” were actually valid and covered all the areas of the contest and Canadian Law. It shocked me as I began asking around to colleagues for a lawyer referral (including those that work at agencies) that no one was able to give me a name. One agency person actually told me, “just cut and paste from something else.” No thank you. It is your name and brand on the line when you run a contest and who wants the headache of legal post or mid-contest. For small businesses, ask around for referrals and be up front about your budget. I know I found a great law firm that was able to fit within my budget as I used an articling student and got a less expensive rate than using a partner of the firm.

4. Promote. Promote. Promote.

You have determined your objective, consulted your lawyer and built your campaign. Now just sit back and let it all roll in right? Many people fail to promote their contest properly and therefore don’t maximize the benefits of doing so. Compliment your campaign with online advertising. Yes, there is the obvious of Google Ads and Facebook Ads, but also look to websites that allow you greater exposure in your target area or target group. For example, the Fix Auto campaign that I spoke of above we used additional sites such as Castanet, a news website that has a large audience in the Okanagan, BC to target a specific audience. By having a call-to-action ad we are building awareness of our name through views, but ultimately we want the public to click through to enter the contest as we feel there is a greater level of awareness of our company name if they follow the link through to our contest page.

5. Make Adjustments to your Promotion of Contest.

The best part about digital marketing is that in most cases you are stuck with your initial copy. Not getting the response you were hoping? Try changing the copy or the image and see if the public responds better to that. Some campaigns run six different ad layouts to judge which seems to get a better response from the public.

6. Engage.

Have people that are tweeting about your contest or commenting about it. Make sure you acknowledge these brand ambassadors. They don’t get a paycheque for doing so but most will appreciate your acknowledgement.

Do you have any tips or comments that have worked for you?

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