"Well begun is only half done!"
Brands and retailers aware of current online marketing trends know that social media, and particularly Facebook, are key places for businesses to be represented and actively engaged.
Business has shifted online to social and mobile. No longer is simply "Getting to the first page in Google" the only goal. Now a key objective is that marketers must reach out online via social media, develop a social community and o now is a fine time for marketers to ask themselves: What are you doing on Facebook to engage your audience and invite consumers into your social community?
One method to extend your reach and invite others to become of a fan of your Facebook Page is to offer a promotion. A promotion can be a coupon, a deal offer, a sweepstakes, or a contest. These offer a fun way to reach more users and to begin the process of connecting with a larger audience that can become customers and loyal fans.
TabSite offers a solution to make promotions on Facebook easy to setup, fully Facebook rules compliant, and affordable to use. We call them Engagement Apps. They are tools for Facebook pages which businesses can use to offer deals, contests, sweepstakes, and other interactive tools. They are quick and easy to set up and launch. It’s always helpful to offer more ways for fans and friends of fans to engage socially with your brand and share your message with their friends.
So how do you go about using promotions to build your social community?
Here's a few important keys:
Rules and laws regarding contests and sweepstakes vary by social platform, and also by state and country. Make sure you understand your legal obligations for your location.
Facebook has a promotion policy that must be followed. For example, a promotion must be administered within apps on Facebook.com, on either a canvas page or a page tab app, rather than solely in timeline. Also, promotions that require users to like or comment on a post in order to enter don’t comply with Facebook’s policy.
Using a tool such like TabSite means that you are compliant with Facebook's promotion policy. TabSite is a third-party app that conducts all the promotion features on a tab and therefore is a safe and secure platform to use in running Facebook contests on a page. Apps like TabSite can host and use the Facebook mechanisms such as "Share with a Friend" as part of the deal access process because this is done outside the page news feed and not using the native Facebook functions.
So, be safe and compliant by using a Facebook approved app.
You have multiple options to choose from in regards to the type of promotion to use on your Facebook page and each has its merits. (See Infographic on promotion types)
In a sweepstakes, when visitors enter, the page can receive key user information that can be important for future marketing. A sweepstakes may limit each user to one entry, or allow users to enter repeatedly. (The latter option allows for more interaction with the user, because it brings them back to the page more often.) At the end, page administrators select a winner through a random drawing among entrants.
There are several types of contests — users might submit photos, videos, or essays, for example. Page admins should decide how they will choose a winner. The entry with the most votes by a certain end date could win, or a two-stage contest could incorporate a second round with however many finalists you choose. Alternately, the winner could be determined by a panel of judges, but allowing fan voting increases traffic to your page and drives more interactions.
A deal allows the visitor to access the deal after completing a task — for example, sharing a post on Facebook or pinning an image to Pinterest. Like contests, deals are useful because they give contest participants an incentive to share your promotion’s messages with their friends, increasing brand awareness.
For a full breakdown on choosing the right promotion type, see my post on Social Media Examiner.
A company could build, or hire a partner to build, a promotion platform from scratch. These solutions are flexible and customizable, but they may require significant investment of money and time.
Alternatively, a third-party contest platform built to work on Facebook may be an affordable turnkey solution, requiring minimal setup time and no coding knowledge. In assessing third-party platforms, consider the control offered with voting options, design, and layout flexibility, mobile-friendliness, and how accessible entrant and voter data are.
TabSite offers full featured contests with robust tools for $30 / month
This is the incentive that drives your audience to enter and seek votes. Consider how your prizes relate to your target audience. If the goal is to generate leads among women interested in clothing and jewelry, a gift card to a big box store might not be relevant. Also, match the prize to the effort required to enter. If the prize is a free hot dog, just asking for an email address might be appropriate. But if a hot dog brand asks the entrant to create a professional-grade video, it should come with an appropriately hefty prize.
If your organization is awarding a larger prize, such as a free iPad, make your cost investment worthwhile. A longer contest duration, with more time to pull in entrants, allows for broader reach and more social spreading.
You must let your community know about the promotion. Consider timeline posts on the Facebook page with links to the contest tab. You might consider using Facebook’s promoted posts tool and sponsored story ads as additional means to increase the reach of your post. Cross-promote on Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and email. Consider a blog post on the company website, or a press release. Include vital information, clear imagery, and an easily-found link to the Facebook contest. There are really three phases to getting the word out: the initial launch, ongoing updates, and a post-contest announcement of winners.
Here's a specific post dedicated to tips to help you promote your contest/deal. One tip example from the post is below:
Post a Photo to your News Feed with a call to action and a Smart URL in the description field.
Remember: Fans won’t enter if they don’t know about your promotion. Their friends won’t vote more than once if they don’t know they can. They won’t return to see who won if they are not alerted that the contest is over. Social communication, using images and timely posts, helps ensure that your campaign takes off and sustains momentum.
A Facebook promotion can be an important tool for building community and exposure. Any time is a good time to launch one, but every day you delay it is a missed chance to excite and grow your audience.