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7 Tips From an Expert on How to Run a Facebook Contest

SuccessAt the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog post on how to run a successful Facebook contest to ensure you don’t get banned from the site. It ended up generating a lot of comments – and a lot of confusion.

In my effort to clear up any lingering confusion and show how darn easy it is to run a Facebook contest, I talked to my friend and social media expert, Nicole Krug. The first thing she made clear was that Facebook’s rules are meant to protect them.

“Of course, Facebook is most interested in protecting themselves. In your contest rules, you have to disclaim Facebook, use a third party app and communicate with winners outside Facebook, not through Facebook.”

Here are Nicole’s 7 tips to help you ensure you not only stick to the rules, but also run a great contest:

1 – You must use a Facebook app

The bottom line is a contest MUST be run through a Facebook app, which are third party apps approved by Facebook. Wildfire and Votigo are the biggest and most popular ones.

Wildfire and Votigo start at $30/week for a turnkey contest, like a photo contest, essay contest, or sweepstakes. You can embed the contest on your website and easily share it on Twitter, Pinterest, and via email.

2 – People must like your Facebook page before they can enter

As Facebook says, you have to force people to like your page before they can enter the app. That is the ONLY thing you can force people to do – you can’t say they have to like a certain status update or comment on your wall.

3 – You can run unofficial contests

You can ask trivia questions on your page and give away a T-shirt to the first correct answer, but that’s not considered an official contest. Facebook could come in and slap your hand, but if you want to hold an official contest, you have to do it through the app.

4 –There are 3 contest rules you must follow

These rules protect you and Facebook: You must display your contest rules and ask users to click on “yes, I agree” before they enter. You must gather an email address or phone number when they enter. You must notify winners via email or by phone. (The above-mentioned third party apps facilitate this.)

5 – To get more likes, hold a sweepstakes

The most basic contest is a sweepstakes. Users simply like your page to be entered  to win – no moderation or action required. Wildfire and Votigo also offer viral sweepstakes, in which users encourage their friends to enter as well. Note that sweepstakes do not drive a lot of engagement and interaction.

6 – For engagement and interaction, hold a photo or video contest

Because photos and videos are visual, they drive engagement and sharing. To bring engagement to the next level, you can run contests that rely on fan voting to choose a winner; it really helps drive more traffic and fans to your page, as anyone who votes has to like your page first

7 – Give away more than one prize

When it comes to prizes, you choose them. iPads, iPhones and gift cards are really popular. With that said, it is best to give away more than one prize, because sometimes the grand prize might be your product, which you are excited about, but which your audience might not find as appealing. In this economy, a smaller amount that is more cash-oriented – like a gift card or gas card – is more appealing to a lot of people. Offer those smaller rewards as 2nd and 3rd prize.

Have you held a Facebook contest that generated a lot of engagement and sharing? What additional tips can you share?

Image courtesy of scaleology.com


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