Creating a successful and engaging Facebook page can be a feat in itself, for those of you who have set accounts up from scratch and watch as your followers slowly crawl up… you’ll understand. There’s more to it though than just collecting a range of fans and likes. Managing the account and keeping users invested and engaged in your content and your brand is a different story altogether, and something that is absolutely necessary are you to make your social efforts a success and worth while.

The word Viral

I feel like the word viral is something that gets thrown around a lot at the moment. People assume that “viral” is something you can purchase – something ready made that you simply add in like an ingredient in a recipe. “Make me some Viral Video please” “Make me a Viral campaign” – but it doesn’t work like this. Viral is something you have to harness and research into, it’s something that comes with tenacious research and understanding of your niche and your fan base. Sure, you’ll get the odd Viral campaign that has come out of no-where, but most campaigns and ad’s that go Viral had an extremely smart team of people engineering every move the campaign makes.

Why does this apply to Facebook?

Your Facebook contest needs to go “viral” for you to get the most gain out of it, and by Viral I mean acheiving maximum shares and likes (and entries of course). The more shares you achieve, the more likes you get and the more people who enter – the more your brand is being communicated and the more of a success your contest will be. A Facebook contest is a very smart way of getting your brand seen and heard via your fans Facebook pages and Facebook walls – you offer the chance to win something – and in return your brand is (hopefully) getting seen by people who wouldn’t ordinarily come across you or your page – or those who didn’t know you existed yet.

So how can I create a successful contest? 

Well hopefully you’ll know that after reading the following tips:

1. Understand your Audience

Ensuring your audience want to engage with your contest is crucial. You need to concentrate on two aspects here –

Firstly: Is the prize something good enough to compel your  fans to enter?

Secondly: Is the process of entering something your fans are willing to do? 

These two things are paramount to the success of your Facebook contest. If the prize is something like “A free day at a swimming pool” and your Facebook page is aimed at “People scared of water” the contest is going to fail. So think about something that is going to get your fan’s entering. Not just entering, but entering “RIGHT NOW BEFORE I MISS MY CHANCE!!” – that’s what you’re aiming for.

The process of entering needs to suit your audience too. If your fans are mainly working professionals – make the process easy and quick – because the likelyhood is they’ll be pushed for time. If your audience are creative students with time to waste – make the process a bit more creative.

2. Keep it simple and keep the rules clear

You’d be surprised how easily rules can be misread or misunderstood – so for your sake and for your fan’s sakes (you don’t want them getting annoyed because things weren’t explained properly) – just keep everything simple and easy to understand. With Facebook – the more simple the better. Here are some examples of simple but golden:

– Prize for the best Photo

– Photo caption competition

– Tag yourself lucky dip

– “Like this” lucky dip

And so on….

3. Release it at the right time

Make sure you start the release of your Facebook contest at a good time. If your fans are all stay-at-home parents, then releasing it during the day is a great idea. If they’re office worker or school kids – then releasing it during the day is a terrible idea because they probably won’t have access to their Facebook pages – or they’ll be on a mobile device and won’t be paying full attention. Research your demographic and the times they are active on social media (or just use your common sense) and tailor your campaign to it.

4. Interact both before and after

Keep communicating with your fans throughout the entire process of the contest. If it’s a competition that’s going to last a few days – keep fans updated with your favourite entries so far, etc. When the contest is over make sure you not only congratulate the winners but also console the losers. Encourage them to take part in your next contest (give them details if you have them) and thank them for taking part.


5. Have great prizes

I hate to say it – but your Facebook contest isn’t going anywhere if you don’t have a decent prize. If this contest is a big one-off then you need to blow the budget and offer something really great. If you tend to run smaller contests with smaller prizes – then at least do them on a regular basis. You don’t want to appear stingy. No No No. Not a good way of promoting your brand.

6. Ask for Updates

When someone has won something from one of your contests – ask them for an update on their prize. If you gave them a free holiday ask for some holiday snaps. If you gave them a free buggie or pushchair for their new-born – ask for some cute baby photos. You can then use this to not only promote your next contest, but use it to make your winner feel special and also show everyone how nice you are.