Make your consignment Facebook work harder

The do’s and don’ts to a better consignment Facebook page

There are 3 things in life you can be sure of …taxes, death and constant changes to your FB page. I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It’s one of the best places to find potential customers, but dog-gone-it, Facebook keeps changing the rules! Here are a few things you must do and a few you should never do to improve your consignment Facebook page. For additional reading about improving your store’s Facebook page, read 8 Facebook failures you don’t want to make.

The Do’s & The Don’ts

1.) Do make sure your Profile Image fits Check your consignment Facebook profile image

As of this post, the ideal Facebook profile photo size is 360 x 360 pixels. The minimum size for a profile photo is 180 x 180 pixels.  If possible, use your logo for your consignment Facebook profile image. If it’s horizontal (like SimpleConsign’s), find a way to stack it or just use part of it. You’d be surprised at the number of shops that don’t check their profile image before posting. Remember, this is part of your overall branding as a professional, savvy consignment store.

2.) Don’t forget to check your Cover Image

Your consignment Facebook Cover Photo or Banner Image is the first thing a customer sees. Make sure the image is eye-catching and the proper size. Below is an example of a great Cover Image. The problem is it’s still there in the month of November when voting ended in June. If necessary, keep a marketing calendar that reminds you to change your image. According to Facebook, your cover image should be 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall for a desktop computer. Make it 640 pixels by 360 pixels for smartphones. Now, here’s the problem, what if you want to use the same photo for both and have it look great? Louise Myers Visual Social Media has the answer. She even provides free templates to get just the right image size. Don’t skimp here. This image is perfect for conveying your brand and style. Take your time. After you’ve got the size down, be sure to change the image every couple of months too.

3.) Do add all of your store information

Believe it or not, I’ve seen consignment Facebook pages that don’t include address information, phone numbers or email addresses. Nothing. That would make sense if you are an online store only, but if you have a brick & mortar location, by all means add your address, phone and email! You want to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to find you. In fact, if there’s a known landmark nearby, add that too. Do fill in your address on your consignment Facebook pageChoose a Category. I suggest “Thrift & Consignment Store.” If shoppers are specifically looking for secondhand stores in their area, yours will be one of the ones shown.

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4.) Don’t forget to check your links

Nothing worse for your consignment Facebook page than "This Page Isn't Available."For consistent marketing, check the links to all of your online advertising. Many times, I’ll view a consignment store’s website, click on their Facebook link and find “This Page Isn’t Available.” Or worse yet, the dreaded “Page Not Found” link.

5.) Do pin important posts to the top

Watch the expiration dates when you pin a post to the top When you have an exciting announcement, special sale or important information, it’s a good idea to pin that post to the very top of your consignment Facebook page. However, make sure you unpin the post when the date has passed. If not, shoppers will come to your page, see the outdated post and immediately think you’re not an active business. They might even mistake you for being closed. Look carefully at your top posts to be sure they’re up-to-date.

6.) Don’t forget to check your spelling

It seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised at the number of posts where spelling isn’t checked. Here’s an example, “Come in (the store name) today and s unique items not Lund anywhere else. One of a kinds. And big discounts on large pieces of furniture. We’ve got what your. Looking for.” Simple to correct if you proofread. Take your time. Review your post. Incorrect spelling and grammar looks unprofessional. You’re serious about what you do so present yourself that way.

How To Know Which Social Media Site Is Best For You

It’s no surprise, consumers are changing the way they shop. Now, more than ever, shoppers are searching online and then heading to the actual brick and mortar store to buy. Therefore, the information you put online is more important than ever. You have to be found online daily with unique photos, fun quotes and engaging questions. First, determine which social media site is right for your business. Marketing experts say it’s best to focus on no more than 3, but how do you know which 3? Here’s some demographic information I gleaned from SocialMedia Today to help you decide.

Which social media site does your shopper visit?


Social media is importantFacebook is the most widely used social media site, especially in the resale industry. Currently, there are 1.9 billion (yes, with a “b”) unique monthly users. Demographics are 83% of online women and 75% of online men. More than 9 out of 10 US Millennials (ages 18-34) are regular Facebook users. Plus, Generation X (ages 35-49) loves Facebook when it comes to their smart phones. Interestingly, 75% of users spend 20 minutes or more on Facebook every day. It’s viewed almost everywhere…at work, home, on a phone or on a desktop. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no “best” day or time to post. Use their analytics to figure out the best time for your shop. Make sure your cover image is 820 x 312, your profile photo is 170 x 170, your link image size is 1230 x 627 and a shared image should be 1200 x 630. Read 8 Facebook failures you don’t want to make before you dive in.


Social Media Sites include TwitterTwitter is strongest among 18 to 29 year olds. It’s popularity is slightly greater among males over females. Interestingly, over half of Twitter users never post any updates. Users only spend an average of 2.7 minutes on Twitter per day. Twitter is also used everywhere and at all times, but more often during down times such as lunch or breaks. A photo that is either square or landscape in format should always be used.


Social Media Sites like Pinterest are perfect for consignment shopsPinterest is a social media site dominated by women and its followers are fairly evenly distributed between the generations. They tend to have a middle to higher income average. You’ll find the highest activity on Pinterest is in the evening. Shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase on eCommerce than users of other social sites. Thumbnail photos placed on your boards should be 222 x 150. Your regular pin can be 600 x any dimension.


Social Media Sites like Instagram are very popularInstagram is extremely popular and the fastest growing site. Predominately female, over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35.  They also tend to live in urban areas. About half of US adult Instagram users access it daily and over half of them use it to follow brands. Square images on Instagram need to be 1080 x 1080. Vertical images need to be 1080 x 1350 and horizontal images need to be 1080 x 566.


LinkedIn is another great social media siteLinkedIn is a very different type of social media site. It has always been strongest among men and with the more affluent. Interestingly, LinkedIn users are slightly less likely to use other social networks. Run timely articles about your products and industry to appeal to its users.

Excellent photos are vital to your success on social media. These are 2 fun, easy apps I really enjoy using to make my photos more interesting.

PicMonkeyPicMonkey is free to use and offers a myriad of options from adding filters, to text to frames. They even let you touch up such things as wrinkles and skin tones (something I’m particularly fond of).  PicMonkey Royale is only $33 a year and I think it’s well worth the price to get the added features.

CanvaCanva is also free and provides a lot of different design options from Facebook cover photos to posters to invitations. They also supply excellent tutorials on how to use the Canva service.


If you run out of ideas for posting every day, consider showing some other sides of your business.

Post a photo of:

  • The employee of the week
  • How you start your day
  • Your shop’s surroundings
  • A satisfied customer
  • Your window display
  • A holiday memory
  • A DIY tip
  • A recipe for a holiday treat
  • Something you’re thankful for
  • A fun gift idea
  • Unique holiday decorations
  • A funny story or customer experience

Make sure your website is up-to-date and choose the correct social media outlet based on your target market. Here are my suggestions:

Children’s Consignment                  




Young Women’s Clothing Consignment




Women’s Upscale Clothing Consignment




Furniture Consignment




Men’s Consignment




3 steps to add a little Facebook TLC

This message is reprinted from October 2013

Don’t forget your daily Facebook TLC

Facebook, in fact all social media, is about engaging your followers. According to Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted, “it’s called a conversation – a conversation with a goal or strategy in mind.” The problem with social media is that being “social” requires a commitment of time. Whether it’s posts, tweets or updates, you’ve got to stay on top of it and do a little Facebook TLC. Moritz provides a great way to remember the importance of engaging your followers in a systematic, timely fashion.Always offer a little Facebook TLC

1.) T is for TWICE

Moritz writes, “Regardless of how you post on Facebook (even if you use a scheduling tool) be sure to come back TWICE per day to check and respond to engagement on posts. Don’t post if you don’t intend to follow-up with your fans!” If you’re also running Facebook ads, be sure to monitor those too. Here’s how you get started: 8 simple steps to creating fantastic Facebook ads.

2.) L  is for Like

“Be sure to ‘Like’ every comment (easy to do via mobile). Even if you can’t comment back just yet, this is a great way to let your followers know that they are being heard and appreciated. A little like-action is easy to do!” To add more likes, consider running a Facebook contest. Read Why you should use Facebook contests to get started.

3.) C  is for Comment

“Leave no comment unanswered. Use your two visits per day to check and respond to each and every comment. Aim to have the ‘last word…in a nice way'”

Facebook is an excellent tool for building relationships with your shoppers, consignors, dealers and those who donate. In fact, having a store Facebook page is the #1 social media site for retail and resale shops. Never neglect your Facebook fans. It not only weakens the connection you’re making, but makes your shop appear uncaring or worse, closed. Whenever possible, make it a two-way conversation by asking questions and offering suggestions. That’s what Facebook TLC is all about. Remember, “it’s not what your fans can do for you, but what you can do for your fans.”

If you’re wanting to know more about what not to do with your store’s Facebook page, read 8 Facebook failures you don’t want to make.

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New consignment features. New website. Same great software.

You’ve got to see our new website and new consignment features

Change is exciting. With SimpleConsign, our software is flexible and always improving. That’s where our website and new consignment features come in! I’m thrilled to be able to share them with you.

We’ve designed new consignment features to make life easier for you

Nowadays, everyone is jumping on the eCommerce bandwagon. SimpleConsign makes it easier than ever for you to smoothly integrate online sales with your brick and mortar store. Choose from a templated eCommerce site or have a custom site created specifically for you. Sites are designed for desktop, tablet and mobile shopping. Plus, every transaction is reflected in SimpleConsign. It’s the easiest way to broaden your selling opportunities.

If you’re looking for a creative way to promote your merchandise, AdKiosks Marketing is for you. Add Simple AdKiosks to your current website and Facebook page. You can attractively display every item in your inventory with a photo and description. Then, customers conveniently contact your shop to purchase the item. Simple AdKiosks let your shoppers browse in real time when it’s easiest for them. The best part? Once an item is sold, it’s automatically removed from the AdKiosks. There’s nothing for you to do.

SimpleConsign has developed our very own Photo App. Download our photo app and take pictures of both your inventory and customers. Every photo is automatically saved into your SimpleConsign account. Obviously, it makes entering inventory for eCommerce and AdKiosks a breeze.

Consignor Central has been available for awhile. However, this is the first time I’ve talked about it. Consignor Central automatically notifies consignors about the status of their individual items. Are a consignor’s items going into a grace period or expired? Let Consignor Central send a message for you. Are you looking for specific best-selling items? Consignor Central will put the word out. Plus, Consignor Central lets you generate, view and print customizable consignor contracts. It’s one more way we free up your time.

This new feature is perfect for shops that have vendors and dealers. It gives them the freedom to enter inventory remotely. Then, they come to you to have their tags printed. With Dealer Remote Item Entry, every tag in your shop looks the same. Therefore, checkout is efficient and you save time.

These are just a few of the exciting features we’ve added to our new website. Head over to SimpleConsign and check out the rest of our site. Let us make your life easier.

8 Facebook failures you don’t want to make

Facebook failures from real-life resale shops

My job involves marketing SimpleConsign on social media. In addition, I watch the Facebook pages of our customers and potential customers too. Facebook is the window into a shop’s soul. It shows how vibrant, busy and successful a shop is. Likewise, Facebook failures reveal how unorganized, unconcerned and unsuccessful a shop can be. Each one of the examples shown below is from a completely different shop, in a completely different part of the country. All of them are currently open for business. What does your Facebook page tell about you?

Not answering questions

1. The question asked in August of 2015, “Do you still have a storefront?” Obviously, this shop isn’t doing a good job of looking open and busy. Plus, their business hours either aren’t posted or aren’t being regularly kept.

2. Over a month later, a similar question is asked, “Did you all move or just close?” Notice this question is being asked at 4:07 pm which is a perfectly reasonable time to assume the shop would be open.

Not answering questions or comments has to be the number 1 Facebook failure. After all, Facebook is about building community and a social relationship with your fans. Answer every question that’s asked on your Facebook page immediately. Because 2 people who were eager to shop didn’t know if the shop was even open, they lost potential income. Remove older questions after a certain amount of time. There’s no reason to still be seeing questions that were asked almost 2 years ago. Especially if they weren’t even answered.

Not paying attention to your cover image

Facebook Failures like a Store Closed Sign3. Not only do you need to know the correct size for a Facebook Cover Image, you need to be selective about the photo you choose too. A picture of the front of your shop is perfect for your Cover Image. Before posting though, take a good look at the photo. Preferably, the only sign you want to see is your business sign and never a “Closed” sign.

Constant Contact provides a great cheat sheet on all of the sizes you should use on social media.

Facebook lets you test the look of your image before you post it. Take the time to view it beforehand and make sure it conveys the correct message.

Not updating your merchandise images

Another Facebook Failure4.  Once again the question is, “Are you still in business?” Asked at 1:16 pm, so there is absolutely no reason for this Facebook failure.

5. Almost a year ago, another person asked about merchandise. There are no new photos. In fact, the photo at the top is of a chair that was featured in 2013. Either that chair has zero chance in he** it will be sold or someone isn’t updating their Facebook with photos of new merchandise.

6.  When your shop goes online with social media, potential shoppers can view your merchandise at any time of the day or night. This customer was obviously browsing into the wee hours of the morning, a perfect time to look for a new couch or dress. By posting in all caps, she’s a bit peeved about the lack of attention too.

7.  It’s been over 3 years since the last photo of new merchandise was added. This Facebook failure is why customers are wondering if this shop is even open. 

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Not claiming your Facebook Business Page

Facebook Failure8. A Facebook page may already exist for your business even if you didn’t create it. Facebook gives a number of reasons why a page gets created. You need to check Google to see if an “unofficial” page is sitting out there. If it is and you haven’t set one up for your shop yet, be sure to claim it. 

I have a lot more examples of Facebook failures that I’ll share with you in the future. For help in keeping up with your Facebook page, read another blog post titled, 3 steps to add some Facebook TLC.

8 simple steps to creating fantastic Facebook ads

Facebook ads are easier than you might think

Facebook has truly become a necessary evil. The only reason I say “evil” is because you have to pay to play. Plus, they’re constantly changing something. Take for instance their most recent change, the layout. The beauty of this change is it’s actually better for your shop. You get the whole cover photo space all to yourself! They’ve moved your “logo” image to the left of the cover photo and all other tabs are listed underneath. Plus, your call-to-action button is big and blue. It can’t be missed. One thing that hasn’t changed (at least for the moment) is how to place Facebook ads. Don’t let this seemingly overwhelming process keep you from using them this holiday season.

The key to Facebook ads is walking through every step making sure you’re taking advantage of all the possibilities. There are a lot of them too, but don’t let that keep you from being creative.

1.) Let’s begin

Begin your Facebook ads hereStart creating your Facebook ads by clicking on the down arrow at the top right of your page. From there, click “Create Ads.”

 2.) Your Campaign

Facebook ads need to have an objectiveThis is where all of those overwhelming choices begin. Determine the purpose of why you’re running an ad. What’s the objective of the campaign you’re creating? Choose anything from promoting your Facebook page to getting people to claim a coupon or a one-time offer. Let’s say, for the purpose of this post, you’ve decided to create a special offer that you would like shoppers to take advantage of.

 3.) Give your campaign a name   Name your Facebook ads

If you plan on running several ads over time that offer a special coupon or discount, you’ll want to give this campaign a very specific name. For instance, if you’re offering a special deal for Shop Small Saturday, call it by that name. Consider adding the date too if you plan to run the offer every year. This is especially important when you begin to compare the results of ads over time.

4.) Choose your pageFacebook ads include conversion pixels

Just prior to creating your offer, you’ll want to list your shop’s Facebook page and consider choosing a “Conversion.” A “conversion pixel” is code that’s added to your website to track visitors who take advantage of your special offer. These are used when you want to drive traffic to your website. They help you determine your Return On Investment (ROI) for your ad. I continuously run ads for SimpleConsign’s 15-day free trial where I send people to that page on our website. The pixel helps me see if the ad is effective. Facebook offers full instructions here.

5.) Create your offer Facebook ads let you tailor your offer

Facebook has some definite rules about offers. Clearly state the terms of your offer and any limitations, plus follow local and state laws. Also, your offer is required to have an end date. When shoppers click on your offer, send them to your website to shop if you have an e-commerce site or give them more details. You can create an offer with a percent off, an amount off, a buy one/get one or even offer something free.

6.) Choose your audience

Facebook ads let you choose your target audienceIn my opinion, creativity begins here. As you can see, there are any number of options to choose from. A Custom Audience includes those customers you already know. Click “Create New” and choose “Custom Audience.” You can easily add your current email list to a “Customer File” that you’ve saved as a CSV. There are a number of options, including creating a “Lookalike Audience” that mirrors your customer list or Facebook page visitors.

Next, choose your location. The map allows you to drop a pin on the exact city, neighborhood or even street where your shop is located. Select the age, gender and language of the shoppers you want to reach. Those factors will be determined by the type of merchandise you sell. Detailed targeting lets you choose consumers with certain interests and behaviors. For instance, you can choose people with specific interests like “consignment,” “furniture” or “children’s clothing.” Just begin typing and see what suggestions Facebook gives you. You can even exclude shoppers with certain characteristics. The possibilities for reaching your market are endless and downright creepy if you really think about it.

Below this is “Placements.” All of the possibilities are pre-checked for you. The only reason you would want to un-check placing your ad in a specific location is if you were narrowing your offer for mobile users only. As you choose interests, demographics and other categories, you will see the estimated daily reach of Facebook users change on the right.

 7.) The budget

Facebook ads require a budgetAh yes, the age-old question. “How much should I spend?” Experts say approximately 15 – 20% of your overall marketing budget should be spent on social media. If you have $500 to spend the week leading up to Black Friday, spend $75 – $100 on social. For SimpleConsign’s 15-day free trial, I change the graphics, the demographics of the audience and sometimes the location. Depending on my message, I’ve spent anywhere from a few pennies to several dollars to gain 1 website visitor. Over time, you can see which ads were the most successful.

You can choose your ads to run for a specific length of time or continuously. The dates will be determined by the message of your ad. If you’re offering a limited coupon, you obviously need to designate a specific time frame. Facebook will help you maximize your reach even farther by helping you schedule the delivery of your ad.

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8.) Review

Make sure at the end of the process, you have completely reviewed your ad offer and the amount you’re spending. If you place the ad and then realize you have made a mistake, you can go to “Manage Ads” and turn the ad off without any consequences.

So, that wasn’t so bad was it? Facebook ads are the perfect way to get the word out about your shop to a totally new audience that’s just waiting to find out about you. Once you start getting responses to your ads, be sure to reply to every comment. Read 3 steps to add a little Facebook TLC to find out how to stay in touch with your audience. Happy advertising!

9 ways to increase sales with online reviews

Believe it or not, 61% of Generation X (ages 35 -50) and a whopping 82% of Millennials (ages 20 to 34) say the advice of others is extremely influential in their buying decisions. Whether these generations are referring to comments from family or friends, or what they read on online reviews, the bottom line is they want to know what’s being said about you. Do you know? Many people have pre-conceived ideas about resale that aren’t positive. Make sure you’re found in as many places as possible and take charge of your online reviews.

Online reviews can make or break you. Take charge.

yelp is good for online reviewsYelp!

Yelp! is a social networking, user review and local search web site. With 142 million monthly unique visitors and 2.1 million local claimed businesses, Yelp! is the definitive source for local online reviews. Add the location of your business along with a 5-point rating and reviews, plus key business details such as hours, accessibility and parking.

Google + Brands

With the use of a Google + local page for your business, you can easily build your brand’s (shop’s) image. Google offers a variety of ways you can be found. Add Google maps, Google My Business and Google ads to give you more exposure. You can even tie Google + to videos on You Tube to give a store tour, highlight merchandise or even store personnel.

City Search

CitySearch is an online city guide that lists businesses around cities throughout the United States. They have user-generated online reviews and a 5-star rating system.

Yahoo Local Listings

Yahoo! Local has lots of potential customers every day. Add details about your business along with reviews and a map. Although not quite as popular as others, it still gets a large share of traffic for local communities.


MerchantCircle lets shoppers view merchants and their deals by cities. List your shop under Retail Shopping or find a more specialized category such as Home Decor. Gain online reviews, add your phone number and get listed on the city map. It’s especially good for reaching those resale shoppers visiting from another city or state.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The Better Business Bureau is a trusted organization that collects and provides free business reliability reviews. The BBB has a set of standards that businesses are compared to. Each business receives a rating based on that comparison.

Website Testimonials

It goes without saying, your website must have testimonials from your shoppers. Whenever possible, include a photo and a personal experience that gives the referral a friendly touch.

LinkedIn      Online reviews on LinkedIn help

LinkedIn has company pages where you receive customer recommendations. Your shoppers endorse your store and build your business credibility. LinkedIn is especially popular with males and upper income shoppers.


Facebook is the perfect site for shoppers to leave comments or ask questions. The more engaged you are with your Facebook friends, the better. Make sure you set up a Facebook page for business to gain all of the insights and feedback you can from visitors.

You can never be listed in too many locations. Take time to regularly check your reviews and respond to the comments. If you receive a negative review, don’t delete it. Answer and try to resolve the situation quickly. Experts agree that when a business has a few negative reviews that are properly handled, shoppers tend to have greater trust in that business.

5 sure fire ways to beef up your shop’s brand identity

Build your shop’s brand identity

The terms “Brand” and “Branding” are widely used in marketing. To “brand” means to set your product apart by putting your identifying mark on it. According to Entrepreneur, your brand is derived from “who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” Here are 5 easy steps to build your shop’s brand identity.

Defining your brand

To define your store’s special brand, Entrepreneur asks you to answer these important questions:

What Is your store’s mission? 

Can you list specific benefits and features of your store?

What do your current and potential shoppers already think about your store?

Can you list qualities you want them to associate with your store?

1.) Your logo

Your brand foundation is your logo. You need a solid, easy-to-read image that can be instantly recognized as you. Whether it’s your name in a particular typeface and color or an actual design image, make sure you use it consistently. Remember, this is the first impression a shopper may have of you so splash it across everything.

2.) Your profile photo on social media

Although obvious, some shop’s forget that your profile photo is the picture that appears in a Facebook news feed comment, a reply or a retweet. Your profile picture should always be your logo. However, sizes vary for profile photos. What works for Facebook may not work for Pinterest, Instagram or other media sites. If your name and/or logo is a different shape or ratio than the standard size, consider recreating it into a square format. Never cut off any text or part of your logo design.

3.) Talk the talk

Much of this week’s newsletter ideas came from Facebook Marketing for Small Business by Christina Sullivan. She encourages businesses to be “crystal clear” when communicating their brand identity. Consistency is key. If you want to be known as the expert in consignment, resale or antiques then you need to communicate it. If you want to be viewed as a trend maker or the friendliest shop in town, then make that clear in every piece of advertising that goes out of your store. Choose your purpose. Then, come up with a slogan or tagline for your shop that matches.

4.) Your cover photos

Looking for a great way to communicate who you are and what you sell? Take advantage of the larger space on your Facebook and Twitter Cover Photos. Don’t be afraid to change it up. If you’re looking for customers to return time and time again, you have to give them something new and different.  Use bold images and graphics. Make sure the typeface remains consistent through all of your headlines and subheads. As followers scroll through your Twitter and Facebook feeds, they should get a consistent feel for your business and your brand identity not only by what they read, but also by what they see.

5.) Don’t let your boards be boring

Pinterest is also an area where you can easily build your brand. Create different boards that convey your message. A board titled, “Be In The Know” can be used to give history lessons on fashion, furniture or art. A board that features employees, owners and other staff can build your brand awareness as the friendliest place to shop. By remaining consistent you can answer all of the questions that define your brand.

3 lessons learned from my Facebook contest mistakes

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.


Why you should use Facebook contests

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve jumped headlong into Facebook contests. Everything I’ve read says Facebook contests are the best way to build traffic, engage with your fans and add likes to your page. Needless to say, it’s been a brain challenger ever since.

Begin by setting goals for your Facebook contests

What do you want to accomplish? If your goal is to boost sales, use contests to create urgency, offer a coupon or give away a specific product. A sweepstakes helps to build your fan and email list because it’s very easy to enter. If you are looking to generate content that can be used in other ways, then you’ll want to do a photo, video or even a Pinterest contest. I chose a photo contest, but for all the wrong reasons. My goal is to boost engagement but also add to my email list. Starting with a Sweepstakes may have been a better choice and here’s why…

Choose your contest

A. Starter Contests – The participant is only required to enter their contact information and click a button to enter. Examples are a Sweepstakes such as a random drawing for a prize. Or, a Voting Contest where participants enter their vote on your current merchandise or possible future offerings and then receive a coupon.

B. Intermediate Contests – The participant is required to submit some type of user generated content in order to enter. Examples are Photo Contests where participants provide the photo, Photo Caption Contests where you provide the photo and participants title it and Essay Contests.

C. Advanced Contests – These Facebook contests require participants to do more time-consuming activities and should involve a major prize or cash award. Examples of these include a Video Contest. Or, set up a Pinterest contest that asks participants to create a board and submit the link to enter. Never one to do the easiest thing first, I thought a photo contest would be a great way to get started. Unfortunately, I learned about the challenges after I had already started.

Using your Facebook timeline vs. a 3rd party contest app

At one time, Facebook required you to use a 3rd party app in order to run a contest, but that has changed. Now, you can run a contest directly on your Facebook page timeline. There are, however, specific rules to follow. I chose to use a 3rd party because they offer a tremendous amount of assistance. Plus, the contest ultimately looks more professional. There are a variety of them to choose from. I chose Heyo.