Welcome to the tried, tested and proven formula for running a Facebook competition that gets you more fans for free…
Are you prepared for the day when organic Facebook reach goes to zero?
In the meantime, what are you doing about it?!
To keep your organic reach up – while you’ve still got it in your social media armoury – Facebook competitions and giveaways remain one of the most effective ways to reach more of your fans, while converting their friends and family into fans as well
…if you do them right.
Oh, I see you’ve just put your judgey pants on.
What am I doing telling you to get more fans?
Yes, when it comes down to it, you’ll usually hear me going on about my old friend email marketing and newer friend inbound marketing.
If you’ve read Want More Customers? Ignore Social Media then I don’t blame you for getting all high and mighty with me.
But that’s the catch.
You start by growing your Facebook page likes first (the easy bit, after all you’re in the place everyone hangs out); then convert them from your rental (Facebook) to your owned property (your email marketing database).
So, while you politely ignore my excessive use of brackets and lack of full-stops, consider this step one, in:
How to run a kick-ass Facebook competition to grow your fans
I’m a big believer in trial (usually without too much error) to prove what really works on Facebook.
As a result of having the pleasure of working with and for so many
guinea pigs trusting companies, I’ve managed to do just that, using their Facebook pages as my testing ground.
Here’s what I’ve learned…
1. The ideal Facebook competition giveaway copy
Yep, short is sweet!
Short top copy is best, not because of short attention spans (though it helps), but so that none of it is hidden on mobiles.
With over 50% of users now accessing Facebook solely on their mobile, and 90% using both their mobile and desktop, you can’t ignore how much copy gets cut off in mobile view.
Too many companies put excessive copy in competitions and/or save the good stuff (the prize) for the END of the copy #doh
So get to the point, and while you’re at it, get the word WIN in the first line too.
TIP: A good trick is to add a hashtag before the word WIN so it turns blue and to write it in all caps for more attention in the newsfeed.
TIP: Ideally add the word win to the image also but keep in mind minimal copy in the image is still better, even though Facebook’s relaxed the 20% rule, as if you want to boost your competition (and yes, you do, more about that shortly) you don’t want to have to re-do your image.
2. Tag other pages in your competitions
A more recent addition to the Facebook algorithm is when you tag another page in your update, that page’s fans are more likely to be shown your post too.
So if you’ve been smart about choosing a prize that will be high-appeal for your fans, tagging the provider of the prize is a great idea as the other page’s fans should make for a great potential new audience for you too:
3. Emoji your heart out
See those heart emojis in the screenshot at the top and the red balloons above?
I’ve tried competitions with and without emojis and emoticons, and adding emojis appears to lift reach (yes, I know, it’s hard to prove that’s the only reason, but like WIN in blue and capitals, this is most likely because emojis help your post stand out more in the newsfeed).
Here are the many Facebook emojis and emotions you can copy and paste into your copy.
TIP: Go for emojis that look recognisable even when they’re black (as some phones and browsers don’t change the emoji into colour, and the default black version can be quite different from the shape you intended).
4. Boost Me Baby! If you boost, get the timing right
Um, yeah, I’m not sure where that headline inspiration came from. I’m a die-hard alliteration fan so let’s put it down to that.
Yes, you can run a giveaway with no ad spend as – if they’re done right – they should perform very well organically without being boosted.
Even though Facebook’s relaxed the 20% rule, it’s still smart to keep text to a minimum in case you do decide to boost it later to save needing to redesign, so do at least add the word win to your image, but check you’re in the safe zone.
Check your image gets a green tick for not having too much copy by uploading it to the new Facebook overlay tool.
If you are considering boosting a competition, I’ve had better results boosting it early on or ideally straight away, rather than waiting.
This is because Facebook’s ranking algorithm takes into consideration how well other users engage with it when deciding whether to show it to more people.
Since the first 2 to 3 days are the best for organic reach but you need initial engagement to trigger this, a boost early on to a wider audience gets the organic reach humming 🙂
5. Put the entry details in the right place
Add the entry details below the image as a comment. It’ll stay as the top comment automatically.
In the ‘how to enter’ comment below the image, always mention: Click ‘see more’ to see all 3 steps… at the top of the comment (or however many entry steps there are).
This is mainly because the default view for long comments is collapsed – but also because making it clear there are ‘3 steps’ means more people complete their entry in full (ie: more engagement and as a result, more reach).
Ideally put the entry details and short T&C’s both in the comment, otherwise put the entry details in the comment and add a link to the T&C’s as a Facebook note or web page if the T&C’s are quite long.
Here’s an example of combining both into the how to enter comment below your Facebook competition post:
6. Facebook promotion guidelines: Know the conditions of entry you can (and can’t) ask users to do
You are allowed to request a page like as a condition of entry.
Just make sure you write your page name with the @ symbol so it links to your page.
You are allowed to require adding a comment as a condition of entry.
You are not meant to specifically mention ‘tagging’ a friend, but you can say ‘…and tell us who you’d share this prize with if you won’ (or similar) which to the user means the same thing 😉
You are not allowed to require a share as a condition of entry, however you can make it optional.
You just need to make it 100% clear it is optional and is not a requirement of entry. I recommend mentioning this in the T&Cs as well as in the 1/2/3 section like the example above and coming up below.
I find no more than 3 steps is best for conditions for entry, the fewer the better.
The most valuable conditions of entry for organic reach are comments and tags. They are more likely to be shown to the entrant’s friends than an image like.
TIP: Having ‘add a photo’ or image as a condition of entry – or asking people to leave Facebook and come back – reduce engagement and reach quite significantly (a lot of people will put that requirement in the ‘too hard’ basket), however if the prize is very high value or high appeal, people will do almost anything to enter!
7. Facebook competition terms and conditions
You must include this statement in the T&C’s:
This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed by or administered by Facebook.
Like this example below:
If you don’t put the full T&C’s in the comment itself, ideally you’d add something like:
Please read the terms and conditions before entering: link (which would link to the notes page on FB or sometimes to a page on your site).
Insider TIP: Turning likes into fans
Once the competition is running, click on the names of the people who have liked the image.
Beside each person’s name is a button which will say either liked or invite:
Click ‘invite’ and they’ll be sent an invite to like your page.
The ‘invite’ button changes to ‘invited’ and when they do like the page, it’ll change to ‘liked’. Very handy for checking later that your selected winner has actually met the requirements of entry!
TIP: Do this at least once a day when your Facebook competition’s running so that the invite to like your page (which is a condition of entry after all) follows soon after the user’s interacted with your competition.
8. How long should a Facebook competition go for?
I’ve tried all sorts and found the ideal competition length is no more than 7 days.
Most entries come in the first 2 to 3 days but longer than 7 days and people lose interest.
9. Run a Facebook competition often, but not too often
There’s no perfect formula for frequency but for a consumer-focused company – especially if you’re a retailer – I like keeping to a high-value, brand-beneficial giveaway every 6 to 8 weeks.
Not so frequent that you’re always incentivising engagement, but often enough to reward your fans.
TIP: Take advantage of your boosted reach after the competition
High performing posts also boost the reach potential of your following post, so make the next ones real goodies!
As a competition post gets high engagement, Facebook sees that as a ranking factor for who and how many people should be shown your next post after the competition.
Plus new fans are more likely to see your content also, so make the most of it!
10. How to announce a Facebook competition winner
Always announce the winner/s in a second post. Winner announcements also tend to perform well organically.
Plus it builds trust by proving your giveaways are genuine and real people do win them, which boosts entries and engagement for your next competition.
Add a comment below your winner announcement instructing the winner on how to claim their prize.
However for a prize you are happy to send to the winner, only ask them to contact you via Facebook message (as that way you can be sure it’s them).
For pick-ups, ask them to bring ID when they message you.
There you have it. My 10 tested, proven steps to running a kick ass Facebook competition that gets you more fans absolutely free (though I really do recommend a little boost at the start to kick-start your engagement).
Got any questions? Need a hand? Connect with me on LinkedIn or just get in touch direct >
PS: Before you go, if you got value from this rather epic ‘how to’ article, please click that green share button and email or share this with your network. Thank you 🙂