Social media marketing has become the “go to” online advertising of choice for many small businesses.
With Facebook breaking the 1.6 billion active users barrier a few months ago, there’s no denying they have reach and staying power. Then there’s targeting, and here, again, social media marketing makes it easy to find and target the type of customers you want to reach.
An excellent way to do that is to run a Facebook sweepstakes. There are a few rules, tips, and tricks that you’ll need follow to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.
First, the Legalities
Before you even start thinking about running a Facebook sweepstakes, you need to familiarize yourself with their Community Standards related to this type of promotion. And more importantly, to the laws that govern this type of contest in your area.
Facebook is very specific about what they allow and how they allow a promotion to run. If there’s illegality in your contest, you’ll be in danger of your Page being shut down. While you may inadvertently violate a rule, it’s important to know, for instance, that you can’t demand a “Like” of your Page as a way to enter or that you can’t force a user to “Share” your post as a method in the entry process.
Next, the Goals
If sales are your immediate goal, then a Facebook sweepstakes might not meet your goal!
Typically, this type of promotion is part of a longer-term strategy, and may include goals such as:
- Brand building and brand awareness
- Getting more Facebook reach for your business page
- Generate user content for your page or website
- Encourage email opt-ins for long term sales and marketing activities
- Launch a new product or service
Decide what you hope to achieve with your promotion before you move on to the next step, and you’ll have a much better idea of what type of offer you need.
Develop the Offer
To achieve your goals, you need to create a sweepstakes that’s laser targeted to your chosen market segment, and is really an offer that sparks interest. To do that, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Who is your target customer?
- What are their interests?
- What other types of contest or promotion do they currently engage with?
- What’s your budget?
- What type of offer can your target customer not say no to?
When you’re running a sweepstakes, matching the right prize to the target market plays a huge role in the success of the contest as a marketing tool. Review past marketing results, ask your existing page fans what they would love to win, and research the competition before you launch your sweepstakes.
Promote Your Promotion
If you build it, will they come? Not necessarily! You have to market the marketing!
To get the type of mileage you want out of this marketing activity, you need to make sure you get as many eyes on the prize and engage as many people as possible. There are many ways to do this and here’s a list of possibilities:
- Introduce it ahead of time, multiple times
- Ask your existing page fans to share the promotion with their friends (or make it part of the contest!)
- Run Facebook ads, targeted at your ideal customers
- Use Facebook Live Video, Video, and image posts to capture attention in the News Feed
- Approach local print media, radio, and television, to get your contest in the news
- Place posters in your stores
- Add a link to your contest to your email signature
- Send an email blast to your email list
The best results often come from promoting the contest with a hybrid of online and real world tactics, so try as many as you have the time and budget for!
Beware! Well begun is only half done. Just because the contest is open doesn’t mean your work is over. You need to continue to promote that it is live, and how many days are left to enter. Create that sense of urgency and need.
While you’re running your sweepstakes, make sure to collect as much data as possible. Not only will it help with future sweepstakes, but it can be a valuable tool for other marketing efforts, or help you to make changes to your campaign on the fly. At a minimum, you want to capture name and email address. Don’t ask for too much more but perhaps another qualifying question can help you learn more about them for segmenting for future marketing.
Finish with a BANG!
The biggest marketing potential from a sweepstakes is sometimes in the prize handover itself. Make sure to take advantage of the moment.
Host an event where you hand over the prize in person or on Facebook Live and have a photographer/smartphone videographer on hand to document the moment!
Be sure to make the contest and the prize handover the subject of a company news or blog update on your website. Then promote it on your social media platforms too!
Facebook sweepstakes, when done right, can offer a multitude of marketing options for smart advertisers. And when you find a formula that works, use it again. After all, it’s not likely that anyone is going to get tired of winning free stuff anytime soon!