Last week I decided to run my first Facebook contest. I've run contests in the past, but they've always been posted on my blog. I'll promote it on Facebook and through other channels, but the idea was to get people coming to the blog and build my Facebook Fan base, newsletter base, etc. This time, I ran the contest directly through my Facebook Page and didn't advertise it anywhere else. So, the only place you could find out about it was to be on Facebook and see my posting.
It was a great success! In fact, I was completely overwhelmed with the reaction. Since I had just under 800 fans at the time, I expected maybe 30 - 50 entries. I think I received 30 entries in the first 5 minutes!
I had 2 reasons for wanting to run a contest exclusively on Facebook
- I wanted to do something special for Facebook fans by giving them a chance to win a piece of my jewelry without competing with other people. The blog contests I run are always popular because I advertise them on Etsy Giveaways and a lot of people view them and share the information. However, most people that go to Etsy Giveaways are specifically looking for contests and not likely to convert to future customers. This was a way to have a contest just for fans that are already engaged with me and my products.
- Since my Facebook posts will disappear from my fan's view if they do not interact with my posts, this was a good opportunity to get some engagement and ensure that I will show up in their future news feeds.
Before running the contest, I did a pretty thorough search to make sure I wasn't breaking any rules that could get my post deleted, or worse, my page removed from Facebook. It turns out that Facebook likes to change their rules often, but the latest changes are more in our favor and after reading them, I felt confident that my contest was well within their guidelines.
Here are their promotion guidelines:
What is considered a promotion on Facebook?
Promotions typically include:
- Element of chance
- Giveaway or prize
What’s changing?We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps
Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:
- Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
- Collect entries by having users message the Page
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.
Accurate tagging is required in promotions
In order to maintain the accuracy of Page content, our Pages Terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in. So, for instance:
- It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
- It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
A few days before I ran the contest, I put out a little teaser letting everyone know that a contest would be posted by the end of the week. That post alone was seen by over 350 people (usually my posts are seen by 150 - 250 people).
Thursday afternoon I posted the contest. The rules were simple - I was giving away a sterling silver birthstone bangle. To enter, you just had to comment on the post with the color birthstone you would want if you won. No other requirements.
Like I mentioned before, I thought maybe 30 - 50 people would enter. I didn't expect 344 entries! As it turns out, quite a few people seeing the post shared it on their timeline, so I received a huge boost in views - 7600+ instead of my usual 150 - 250. For a small business like mine, that was viral. :-)
Another added bonus, and one I didn't expect, were all the new people who 'liked' my page by the time the contest was completed. I started off with 798 fans - 24 hours later I had 835 fans. I also received sales from new customers who had never seen my jewelry before.
It was great to see all the interaction and comments. I loved that people shared the post and I gained new fans. For the cost of making the bracelet and shipping, I received a lot more attention than when I spent significantly more money on a Facebook ad.
Overall, it was a resounding success and I plan on running many more contests in the future.