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5 Tips for an effective Facebook Contest

5 Tips for Running a Successful Facebook Contest
Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic, Marketing Director, Saffire Events

Facebook recently announced that they’ve changed the requirements for running promotions on their site, making it even easier to administer contests for your event’s fans. They’ve removed the requirement to use a third-party app, and now allow entries to be collected via comments and “likes” on your page posts as well as using “likes” as a tool for voting on your page. With these changes in mind, here are 5 tips for running a successful Facebook contest.

  • SET GOALS: As you prepare your Facebook contest, consider what you’re trying to achieve prior to getting started. For many events you’ll be looking to gain interactions on your Facebook wall including Likes, Shares and Comments. All of these interactions not only increase the awareness of your event as fans spread the word to their friends exponentially growing your audience, but they also have an impact on your site’s search engine results. If increasing Facebook interactions is your goal, then the new promotions rules will be perfect for you as you ask your fans to either “Like” or “Comment” on a post to enter for their chance to win. This will be especially helpful in the weeks leading up to your event as you create a fever-pitch of anticipation and excitement.
    However, if your goal is to increase your newsletter distribution and you want to collect email addresses as part of the promotion, you may still want to consider using a third-party app to help administer the contest. Keep in mind the more information you require the greater the barrier to entry. Requiring your customers to enter personal data will decrease your response rate, but that may be a calculated decision in an effort to collect more valuable data. Consider this tactic after your event is over and you’ve created even more loyal fans willing to take that extra step.
  • CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE – Think about “who” your event appeals to and how you’d like to attract that audience. This will be important when determining the prize package to ensure it garners a response, but it also may affect the times that you post about your contest. According to Zephoria, highest traffic on Facebook occurs mid-week between 1:00 & 3:00, while Thursdays and Fridays have much greater engagement; but you want to reach your fans specifically. Facebook has improved their reporting of data on your page, and this information should be utilized when running promotions. By clicking “View Insights” in the top section of any Facebook page that you administer, you will find a wealth of information regarding your posts and what your fans are responding to. The default view is the “Overview” tab but by selecting the “Posts” tab, and the “When Your Fans Are Online” option you’ll see both a chart of days of the week as well as times of day that your fans are on Facebook. You can also switch from “When Your Fans Are Online” to “Post Types” to see the response each post has received so you can determine the best type of post for your audience.


  • DETERMINE THE CONTEST TIME FRAME – In a recent study by Wisemetrics, a post had about 2.5 hours to reach 75% of its maximum impressions. However, Facebook has recently announced a new change called “Story Bump,” which pushes posts back into fans’ timelines if the post received a lot of interactions, giving your posts a slightly longer life span if your audience is engaged. This is great news for marketers as each “Like” and “Comment” entry to win increases the odds that even more people will see the post in their news feed. With this quick engagement, fans typically expect a similarly quick turn-around in results. Consider running a new contest each day in the weeks leading up to your event. A single post that asks fans to vote for their favorite attraction, food item or musician by the end of the day for a chance to win a prize package should garner a quick surge of engagement, and by continuing to run similar daily contests you’ll keep fans checking back to your page on a routine basis.
    For more in-depth contests that ask people to submit personal information, consider a longer time frame with multiple posts reminding users to enter to win, over the course of a week or two.
  • CREATE A PRIZE PACKAGE – As event and venue coordinators you have a unique advantage in having access to lots of things that people really want. Individual tickets, multi-day passes, VIP access, concessions or ride vouchers and merchandise are just a few options to consider that would come at a low cost to you with a potentially high return in Facebook fan engagement. Keep in mind the level of interaction you’re asking of the fan and let the prize package reciprocate their effort.  Asking fans to Like or Comment is quick and easy and the prizes can be smaller to reflect that. If you’re requesting more information, offer a larger and more desirable package to encourage fan engagement.
  • PLAN THE FULFILLMENT – This final step is often overlooked, but is crucial for maintaining your fan loyalty. Knowing how you will quickly deliver the prize to the winner will prevent the possibility of turning an elated Facebook fan into an angry Facebook fan. Consider the size of the prize, shipping or pick-up options, and timing of contest compared to prize’s expiration date.

With these new contest rules in place, engaging your customers on Facebook has never been easier.

Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic has a comprehensive background in online marketing, social media, account management and project planning & strategy. In 2007, she joined Wright Strategies, managing online projects for clients including KEEN Footwear, Nike and Frito Lay. Two years later, when a large rodeo approached Wright Strategies to develop a website, the company discovered a need for an “online solution” in the event and venue industry.  In 2009 they created Saffire Events: software developed to give events and venues a beautiful, interactive online destination, including content management, mobile, social, ecommerce, email marketing, texting and more. From 2009 through today, Jessica has played a key role in planning and developing how Saffire looks and how it works. She has served as the Senior Account Manager working directly with clients as they prepare to launch their new websites, and is now the Marketing Director developing strategy to help Saffire continue to grow. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s in Education from National-Louis University in Heidelberg, Germany where she and her husband were stationed from 2000-2002 as he completed his Army service. Prior to Wright Strategies, Jessica gained valuable experience in project and client management at a design agency. In her free time she loves to travel and experience other cultures (especially their food and art), as well as spend quality time with her family.

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