Warning: Facebook Contests could kill your Page! Here’s how to prevent that.

Sorry that I haven’t updated for a week! This week has been a wild ride. Anyway, I have a good idea of what to write for the next 4 posts - I assure you that they’re going to be actionable and useful (as they should always be!).

Last week, I read a couple of good posts about Facebook marketing from SociallyStacked and one of the statistics caught my eye:

35% of FB fans join contest to win prizes!

I didn’t come up with this. You can see it here.

Imagine: if you run a contest every month for a year and you increase your fan base by 500 organic likes each contest, this means a good 2100 likes happened only to take part in your Facebook contests. No matter how I look at it, that’s a big group of people I don’t even want to like my page!

So how do you control and minimise attraction of fans who only like your page to win prizes?


1. Choosing the right prize is half a battle won

Do you know why? Choosing the right prize will not only attract and urge your target audience to take part, it will also deter irrelevant people from liking your page and participating in your contest. In essence, the right prize possesses 2 characteristics:

  1. A fit between what your brand means to your core audience and what your core audience values
  2. Sufficiently niche so that non-target segments will not take interest in your Facebook contests

This is difficult but some businesses have succeeded in doing so. I’ll share a few examples below.


Example 1, Dove: “Real Beauty should be Shared”

Post 50 Image 12 Warning: Facebook Contests could kill your Page! Heres how to prevent that.

The prize: The opportunity to feature as faces of Dove.

Brilliant choice of prize in my opinion. Dove played to its advantage of strong brand image. This technique is not usable if you run a small business. It takes a valuable and intangible business asset to do something like this.

However, you might still take away the idea that your prize may be something less of cash prizes and monetary in nature, but more intangible.

A good example is one that fulfils self-esteem needs, such as an award endorsed by your business or a partner organisation that is more renowned.


Example 2, London Drugs: Get Ready for the Summer Sun

Post 50 Image 21 Warning: Facebook Contests could kill your Page! Heres how to prevent that.

The prize: Brand-exclusive gift cards.

This was one of the best choices for a contest prize that London Drugs could conceive of.

Although I do not recommend brands to use gift cards in general, London Drugs fell in the excluded group of general product offerings. Because their products catered to the population and does not exclude any particular groups, the use of gift cards as prizes is likely to attract residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as specified in their contest regulations. Winners will shop at London Drugs stores to use their prizes.

This also serves as both a good way for London Drugs to drive traffic to its store and a reminder to its customers of its existence, much like what a reminder ad does.


Example 3, Wishpond: “Favourite Tactics to Engage your Fans”

  Post 50 Image 31 Warning: Facebook Contests could kill your Page! Heres how to prevent that.

The prize: Free year of their Social Media Marketing Suite

Perhaps more common, but this example of Wishpond illustrates why the best prize to offer is none other than one of your core products. If you are a product company and you have to use an alternative like iPad to entice and attract your fans to join your contest, then either something is wrong with your product or you are attracting the wrong kind of fans. Besides, offering your core product as a prize will help to stimulate trial and generate word-of-mouth buzz. It’s brilliant!

As I have shared earlier, generic prizes usually make bad contest prizes. Examples include movie tickets, retail vouchers, and iPads. However, these can be very relevant prizes in highly contextual situations, like cinemas promoting a new movie or theatre or the London Drugs example above.

If you’re still unsure whether a prize is suitable or good enough for your Facebook contest, comment below with a description of your contest prize idea and I’ll discuss it with you.


2. Make your Facebook contest last for weeks or even months

1 thing I have learnt from observing other businesses conduct their Facebook contests and experimenting with some of my clients is that if your Facebook contests last for a short time, it will attract a large group of irrelevant fans who take part just to win the prizes.

Why is this so? I think the most important reason has to do with the mindset of these loitering and “cheapskate” fans. They want instant gratification and because of how they do not care about your brand, they are likely to forget about your contest after a long time.

Another trick I recommend you to consider is to make your contest slightly harder for the non-targeted fans. This means requiring your fans to do some work before entering your contest, like finding some information on your website to answer a question and enter the contest. Fans who join a contest just to win prizes might not be as motivated to do so, and because of their impatience, they might just decide to give your contest a miss. A win for both of you.


3. Build a relationship

Don’t the sage always say, “if you can’t beat them, join them”?

In this case, not literally. But if you cannot get rid of them, why not convert them?

Doing so takes time and ties in with your Facebook content strategy. I will not go into details to explain how doing so helps to convert them - you should already know how! You can do it in 3 phases:

  1. Engage them during the contest. How can you package your content in such a way that grabs their attention and initiate interaction?
  2. Engage them in the process of prize presentation. Granted, you are not able to tell when a fan just wants your prize. But how can you build a bond with these paper to make them converts? Perhaps you could ask them to collect the prize at your company’s premises, take a few photographs together, and share the photo to highlight them on Facebook!
  3. Package your prizes in a memorable way. I learnt this trick from one of my clients. They take pride in everything they send out to clients and they show the 1st principle of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) - “Everything Communicates”. By paying attention to the experience of every brand touch point, they ensured that all the people they have reached out to thus far have a consistent image of their brand. The way they packaged their contest prize impressed the winners so much that they shared the prize on social media. This practice helped to increase the viral reach of their contest even after it has ended. In the process, it made them feel greater attachment to my client’s brand.

That is all! Is there any other tips you think can help Facebook Contest organisers mitigate its negative effects? Share with us by commenting below.

[UPDATE: Check out Zsuzsa's bonus tip for attracting the right kind of audience in the comments below! Vote it up to keep it visible for the rest of the readers!]

  • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

    Hi Jason, I think you put this together very well!

    I was writing a guest post about the exact same topic today. What I included there is that to prevent non-relevant people to sign up you need to have a great THEME. (Like in this case study https://antavo.com/en/case-studies/one-online when the wine producer wanted to target young people (but not college students who would drink anything) so they were running a photo contest for couples.)

    Also, a grand prize that DEFINES the audience can also help. If you sell cameras, then give away a tripod!

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Thank you Zsuzsa! You probably know that I was thinking about this issue for the past week or so…

      That’s a brilliant tip there! I updated the conclusion of my article just to make sure the readers saw your suggestion.

      By the way, how did the marketers at Ostoros settle on qualifying their leads by targeting couples? Would they not have excluded young people who were serious and knowledgeable about drinks but not married?

      • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

        haha! nice, thanks :)

        I think if you target an audience you can’t necessary reach all of them. Instead you may go deeper and focus on a segment - in this case married couples.

        The same reason is why I have written a post about promoting events in social media even though we sell contest apps. I thought that a part of our potential customers who are looking for a contest app may want to use it to promote their event.

        • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

          Indeed. You just reminded me that social media is only a tool to reach your audience…and we should definitely look at all the available tools and use them to their strengths. Thank you Zsuzsa!

  • http://testtryresults.blogspot.com Natosha Miller

    wow wonderful information, great job Jason

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Thanks @natoshamiller:disqus! Let me know if I can help.