3 lessons learned from my Facebook contest mistakes

January 23, 2015

Facebook contest mistakes…the hard way

This is the second newsletter regarding using contests on Facebook to build your shopper’s engagement with your store. In the first article, I reviewed why it’s important to use them and the different categories of contests. In this issue, we’ll look at what not to do and some examples of contests you can try.

1.) Make it easy to play

My current photo contest is titled, “The Marsala Merchandising Challenge.” According to Heyo, the 3rd party app I used to set up my contest, over 745 people viewed the contest. However, only 8 stores have chosen to participate. Why? I think my challenge was too time-consuming. Several people responded to me that they didn’t have enough Marsala-colored items or they loved the idea but just didn’t have time to submit a photo. One of my Facebook contest mistakes…don’t make it too complicated!

2.) Offer an appropriate prize

In the past, whenever I’ve offered Barcode Warehouse Gift Cards, the response has been tremendous. I have a total of 5 prizes with the top prize for the winner of the Challenge being $50 in Barcode Warehouse Barcode Bucks. Everything I read about a photo contest said you should offer more than one prize because people entering feel they have a better chance of winning at least something. Perhaps my prize is not as much incentive as I originally thought for the work that is involved. My second Facebook contest mistake…make sure you are offering a prize worthy of the participation you’re requiring!

3.) Know the rules

In spite of not having done a contest like this before, I did know, “If you start it, they will come” is not the way they run. I knew I had to promote the event. So, after putting my contest together, I set out to advertise it on Facebook. I chose a total ad budget of $55. However, I didn’t pay close enough attention to the rules of engagement. I merely attempted to boost the actual contest itself. Made sense to me, right? Wrong! I received a response from the Facebook Ads Team with very clear rules. It turns out an ad cannot include more than 20% text in its image. They sent me a handy calculation tool. The last of my Facebook contest mistakes…learn the Facebook rules!

Easy contests to run directly on your timeline

Facebook now allows you to run contests directly on your Timeline where before you had to use a 3rd party app. Here are several great ideas for easy and engaging contests you can do:

 1.) Fill in the Blank  Enter a sentence with a blank and ask your fans to fill it in. Randomly pick a winner among the comments. Make your sentence specific to your shop such as “My favorite thing about XYZ Shop is _________________.”

    2.) A Quiz Here’s a fun idea when you’ve just received a lot of new inventory. Ask the question: “Guess what just came into our store? a.) Coach Purse  b.) Manolo Blahnik shoes c.) NWT Armani Dress d.) All of the Above”. Randomly draw a winner. Not only are you promoting new items, but you’re engaging your shoppers.

    3.) Share a Photo Have your shoppers share a photo of themselves wearing or using an item from your store. Request they tag themselves so the photo will appear on their timeline and you will receive a lot of additional free publicity. Again, randomly choose a winner from those who enter.

 

Deb McGonagle

I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for over 40 years. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Coordinator for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.