How to run a competition on Facebook

    Posted on October 5, 2020

     

    With both your website and social media campaign, it’s important to keep producing high-quality content that readers and followers will engage with. However, one of the surest ways to gain interaction is to offer people an incentive to engage with a post, with minimal effort on their part.

    In January 2019, Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa managed to set a new record for the most retweeted tweet of all time. He didn’t do this by tweeting anything particularly witty or profound, but simply by offering a share of over £700,000 to 100 lucky people who retweeted it. With huge sums of money up for grabs in return for doing something as effortless as hitting the ‘retweet’ button, it’s no surprise that over four million people did so.

    Few businesspeople are able to be quite as generous as billionaire Maezawa, but the truth is that people enjoy the thrill of competitions and your prize can be a lot more modest, yet still attract plenty of punters. Not only that, but it offers you a ready-made list of people you can then invite to like your page, assuming many of them won’t already.

    If you’re thinking about using your business’s Facebook page to run a contest, here is our advice on how to do it:

    Decide on your prize

    Obviously, the better the prize, the more entrants your competition is likely to attract, but we’ve run competitions for vouchers worth as little as £10 and still seen a healthy response. People like winning anything, so don’t stretch your budget any more than you’re comfortable with.

    A good way to keep the competition quick and affordable is to make the prize something that can be sent by email, like an e-ticket, thus avoiding the time and expense of sending a prize in the post.

    Keep your competition simple

    Don’t put followers off entering by trying to stump them. If you’re a travel firm, for example, don’t ask followers to match holiday resorts with the correct province of Bulgaria, because most won’t know or take the time to look them up. If you do set a question, make it an extremely simple one. Better still, just ask people to comment with something they like about holidays, or even just the word ‘HOLIDAY’.

    People only skim read the posts on their Facebook newsfeed, so make it as obvious as possible that you’re running a competition. Start your post with the word ‘WIN’ or ‘COMPETITION’, type any important words in capitals, and complement your post with a relevant image to attract attention.

    Lastly, don’t forget to set a deadline. Anything from four to seven days is sensible.

    DON’T encourage to share or tag

    It’s common to see competitions urge people to share the post, or tag a friend, but this against Facebook’s policies, which state:

    “Personal timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (e.g. “share on your timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s timeline to get additional entries” and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).”

    Ignoring these rules may lead to your competition being deleted. Moreover, calling for shares and tags is a common technique of scam competitions, so may cause your contest to be viewed with suspicion.

    Gather your entrants

    Of course, the winner of your competition must be chosen at random. An old-fashioned way to do this would be to put all the names into a hat and pull one out in the style of an FA Cup draw. However, you’re running an online competition, so this would mean printing out names, cutting up bits of paper, and creating an all-round messy and time-consuming process.

    A neater way to do it is to keep it all on your computer. Copy and paste the name of everyone who has correctly entered the competition into an Excel spreadsheet. Even this is a little fiddly, unfortunately, as you’ve have to paste it into Notepad first to get it to format correctly, and also delete details like their comment and the time of their post, so all you’re left with is a list of names.

    As a simple example, let’s imagine that we have six entrants to our competition, and have pasted them into a spreadsheet as below:

    As you can see, John Smith appears to have been sneaky and entered twice. You should go back to the Facebook post and make sure that two different John Smiths haven’t entered, but if it is the same one, delete the second entry. You can highlight a column and type “Remove Duplicates” into the Excel Search box to quickly remove any names that appear more than once.

    Incidentally, in the unlikely event that two people with the same name have entered your competition, you’ll need to find a way to differentiate between the two on your list, such as by including the time of their post, otherwise you’ll confuse yourself should either of them win.

    Conduct the draw

    First of all, with any competition, there should be an independent party overseeing the draw. Ideally, this should be someone from outside of your company, so if the building you’re in has a receptionist or any neighbouring businesses, ask them if they wouldn’t mind helping. Normally, it would be good practice to get them to sign to say they’re witnessed the draw, but in current times of social distancing, perhaps an email to confirm this would be wiser.

    Now, you need to find a random way to pick the winner of the competition. Random.org is a useful site and has a Random Integer Generator that chooses a number between two given values. With it being in an Excel sheet, each entrant already has a number (their row number). In our above example, having removed John Smith’s naughty second entry, we’re left with five entrants, so we would ask Random.org to generate one integer between 1 and 5. One you have this, go back to your Excel sheet and you have a winner.

    Notify the winner

    The final step is to tell the lucky entrant they’ve won. Comment on your post to announce the winner, tagging in that person, then follow that up with a direct message to the winner asking for contact details like their postal address or email. Make sure this is done in a direct message, and certainly don’t encourage them to leave their contact details in the comments for the competition post!

    While you’ve got the winner in a good mood, this is a good time to ask them to look out for your next competition and share or comment on it saying they won last time. Not all of them will bother, but if a few do, it will show that you’re running a genuine competition.

    If you find that your competition didn’t quite get the response you hoped for, perhaps it just wasn’t seen widely enough. Facebook does allow you to “boost” your post for a fee, meaning it gets seen by a wider audience.

    Competitions are a great way to expand your reach, but as you can see, they take some time and organization. For professional assistance with this and other aspects of social media, we’re here to help at Engage Web.

    John Murray

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