Editor’s note 1 Jan 2013: Originally published at http://buzzmedia.com.my/article/facebook-contest-ideas. The Buzzmedia blog has since been retired. In addition, this post is rather outdated as Facebook’s promotion policies have changed considerably since this article was published.
Facebook is an important tactic in every small business marketer’s repetoire, and the key to success in Facebook marketing is to grow your Facebook Fan base. Contests are a popular way of achieving this goal, so here are some contest ideas which you can implement for free to grow your Facebook Fan page. Take note that Facebook has some strict promotional guidelines, so be sure to read my advice on this at the conclusion of the article.
Facebook Treasure Hunt
This contest model involves posing questions to your fan page and providing clues or answers on your website. To participate, Facebook users must look for the answer on your website and then answer the question with a comment to your status update or note. Of course, to be able to comment the participant needs to be a Fan (Like) your page first.
This contest model provides the additional benefit of driving traffic to your website. For best results, make your questions easy to answer and provide a series of questions so that people have multiple opportunities to partcipate.
Asking fans to post a creative picture to fan pages is one of the most popular contest models on Facebook. The mechanics are simple – ask fans to snap a picture (ideally with your product) and post it to your Fan page. The most creative / interesting / clever submission wins. Variations of this contest model include creating a drawing instead of a snapping a photo, create a video or to simply post a short 100 word story.
A more aboveboard variation is to ask fans to snap photos with your product and use them as their product picture in addition to posting the picture to your Fan page. This is the model that Dunkin Donuts used to promote awareness of a new product. This variation requires participants to change one of their most public Facebook profile elements, so you should be sure that your incentive is attractive enough.
For best results, ask participants to name and caption their photo specifically (e.g. “Contest Name Entry”) so that their friends are aware of the contest. Also, encourage your Fans to get their friends to vote on their entry by Liking their picture or video.
Exclusive Contest Rules
This is a really simple way to grow your fan base, but requires a little knowledge of HTML. Create a new tab with the Static FBML application and hide the contest rules within that tab with the tag. To see the contest rules, visitors my Like the page first. John Haydon explains how to do this on his blog with a cool video.
To be successful with this contest model, you must clearly specify the benefit to your page visitors, i.e. tell them what they stand to win. You may also want to provide an instant benefit for becoming a Fan, such as a video tip or discount coupon as an added incentive for Liking your page.
Suggest An Idea
Papa John’s recently launched a contest with this model, asking Fans to create a new Pizza for their menu. While they used a fancy Facebook app, you can simply write a note asking for suggestions for your product, tagline, or even testimonials and ask Fans to provide ideas in the comments. Best comment wins, sweet and simple.
In this contest model, you upload a photo album of your products to your Fan page. Ask your Fans to tag their name to a product to win that product. To maximise this contest model, upload 1 picture every few days to encourage Fans to keep returning to your page. This is the same contest idea which IKEA used in a wildly successful contest. As an alternative, ask Fans to post a review or testimonial of your product in the photo comments.
You can increase the success rate of your Facebook contest by keeping the following in mind:
1. Make use of the viral news feed effect. All the contest ideas above rely on using the News Feed to spread the contest further. The idea is to include some sort of Facebook interaction (comment, like, photo upload, etc) into the contest. This interaction will show on your Fans’ news feeds, driving awareness among their friends.
2. Keep contests simple. Understand Facebook user psychology – people visit Facebook to play games and connect with friends by viewing photos, poking friends, etc. Your contest needs to be quick and easy to complete. Remember that your main goal is to gain Fans, not marketing data, branding, etc.
3. Provide an incentive. The better the incentive, the more participation you’ll get in your contests.
Take Note of Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines
Technically, some of the contest ideas above violate Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines (I think). Facebook says that you can only administer promotions through an application, and that the promotion can only take place on a canvas page of a Facebook app and on an application box in a tab in a Page. Facebook also says that “you will not condition entry to the promotion upon taking any action on Facebook, for example, updating a status, posting on a profile or Page, or uploading a photo. You may, however, condition entry to the promotion upon becoming a fan of a Page”. Read more.
However, I think that the guidelines above apply to larger brands with big budgets and not so much to small businesses who are the target audience of this article. In any case, be aware that you may be in violation of Facebook’s guidelines and be ready to shut down your contest immediately if you receive a warning from Facebook.
If you have the budget, you could always use 3rd party promotion applications like Wildfire to run your contests rather than building your own.
- 5 Contest Strategies That Will Skyrocket Your Facebook Fan Base
- How To Get More Facebook Fans – Some Basic, Proven Ideas
Please share your own ideas
There you have it, here are the ideas and contest mechanics I use myself. I will be constantly adding new ones to this list. If you have any to add, please share them in the comments and I’ll be happy to link to your website or blog.