In 2016, Facebook contests are still a great way to boost your Page likes but also to collect email addresses so you can contact your fans away from Facebook.
Why is that important, Jo?
Well, you may not realise it but not only do people who have liked your page NOT SEE ALL YOUR UPDATES, but Facebook Pages also cannot communicate directly with their fans.
Why's that, Jo?
Because if Facebook allowed your fans to see all your updates and made it easy for you to contact them by commenting on their timeline, tagging them or sending them a message, you would not have to BUY FACEBOOK ADS!
Facebook use an algorithm to ensure that only a single figure percentage - maybe 5% - of your fans actually see your updates.
So clever business owners started running Like, Comment or Share competitions with a small prize to encourage their existing fans to come back to their Page regularly and interact with their updates.
So Facebook came back with rules surrounding Sharing - based on privacy.
Facebook contests via an app
The best way to run a Facebook contest is to use an app (like Shortstack) which encourages entrants to like your page and also leave their email address so you can tell them whether they have won or not. It also allows you to link to the terms and conditions for the competition - these are vital for the smooth running of a competition. Everyone knows where they stand.
After a recent Women In Business meeting, I was asked if I would cast my eye over a Facebook competition app because they were concerned that they had not had many entries.
Having just run a big Facebook competition, it is amazing how what seems obvious as the designer is completely the reverse to someone else who has not seen the page before. I have seen the most bizarre questions but it has really helped me to look at things with a much more critical eye.
Bearing that in mind, I had a look at the competition tab in question and several immediate observations as a complete newbie to the page were obvious:
Three major reasons why your Facebook competition might have too few entries
Problem #1 - The instructions for entering the contest are too confusing.
Even though I'm pretty good with Facebook and have just run my own competition, the instructions for the contest I was reviewing were not clear. They relied on the clever slogan, which obviously made sense to the organisers but was nowhere near explanatory enough for their target market.
The golden rule is 'Don't Make Me Think'. Spell it out in big letters that are easy to see. Explain each step simply. Don't rely on an entrant having to do something to see the next set of instructions.
Problem #2 - Not promoting your competition on the Page's timeline
Their next problem related to actually getting people to the tab in the first place. Whilst the Facebook link on their website took the viewer direct to the competition landing page, there was nothing about it on the actual Facebook Page itself. They had not pinned a status update about the contest to the top of the page nor had they boosted the post through the Facebook Ads Manager.
Problem #3 - Not promoting a Facebook contest on other people's personal profiles
You need to have share buttons on each entry so that people can share their entry on their own walls after they have uploaded them and thus highlight the competition to their own friends and encourage them to go to the tab and vote for their picture. But see rules below about not making this a condition of entry.
Facebook's rules for competitions
However, these should be undertaken in conjunction with Facebook's page guidelines covering promotion. I have listed out the appropriate section here:
As mentioned earlier, it is best to run your contest through an app rather than directly on the wall. You don't want to get caught out with no proper terms and conditions because Facebook are going to wash their hands of any responsibility.
Can I announce Facebook competition winners on my Facebook Page?
Grow your fanbase and increase your online orders through a Facebook competition.