Update: Read our Case Study about How to Run an Effective Facebook Sweepstakes Campaign!
A popular way to gain fans to your Facebook page is to host a sweepstake contest. In plain terms this means that you are giving out a prize (or several prizes for that matter) between everyone who participates in the contest. Here are some basic guidelines and imporant things to consider when you decide to run a Facebook sweepstakes.
Set rules and conditions!
Add a set of your campaign rules to your sweepstakes application, preferably in the footer section of your application. If you get into trouble, you can refer to your terms and conditions of your sweepstakes contest. These rules include who is allowed to participate, what are the prizes, legal disclaimers (such as the prize cannot be exchanged for cash), etc.
Make your sweepstakes application shareable!
Make it so that users can easily share your campaign message by clicking on a share button which is on your application. The share should go something like this:
Title: Win 1000$ worth of prizes!
Body copy: Company X is hosting a Facebook sweepstakes contest where we are giving out X, Y and Z prizes. Don't miss your chance, enter now by clicking on this link!
Include an ‘invite friends' button!
‘Invite friends' will send an application request to the friends that you decided to invite. Simple as that. This feature is as important as the share button. Make it easy for others to spread the word.
Have a specific action for participation!
What do you want the users to do in order to participate? It could be as simple as clicking on a single button which will ask them for application rights. Another great but simple action might be to make entering your email address as an action of participation. So, in other words – enter your email address and you have a chance to win X (scroll below to see an example).
For example, in order to participate in Clinique's Facebook sweepstakes competition, one must enter several fields such as their first and last name, email address, birthdate, etc. It's a bit too much if you ask me as the more form fields you have, the higher is the drop-out rate. Unless you are giving out a multi million prize that is.
Take participant's email address!
Getting the participant's email address means you have another channel for communication to help your business spread your marketing message. It's smart to integrate your marketing channels, so that you take the connections you establish through social media and add them to your mailing list. Also, as it's a sweepstake, email address can be used to contact the winners.
Follow Facebook's Terms of Service!
It's mandatory to follow Facebook's Terms of Service and Promotion Guidelines to make sure that you're not doing anything that violates them. For example, sweepstakes must be organized on Facebook applications. You cannot use Facebook's own features (such as liking a page) as a method of participation. Also, to quote the promotion guidelines: “You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages”.
Pick a desirable prize!
As with any sweepstakes, your prize will play a huge part and it might determine if your campaign is successful or not. Choose your own products/services or something very appealing to your target audience. By default, the prize should be directed towards those who actually are interested in what you have to offer. I've said it a couple of times already and I'll say it again – don't give out an iPad if you are a fishing supply store. Give out your own products or better yet, something exclusive that is not available for everyone to purchase.
Give out several small prizes!
In addition to having a main prize, you might want to consider issuing out several small prizes such as some gift cards few times per week. Even these small prizes should be appealing to your target audience. The participants will have a chance to win the big prize or some gift cards, either way – chances to win something are increased significantly!
Post regular updates on your wall!
Announce the winners on your Facebook wall, you can announce something like “We have drawn another lucky winner named Jane Doe. If you haven't participated yet, do so by doing the following steps…” Usually these kinds of announcements will generate likes, comments and shares, all which have the potential to increase your sweepstakes viral effect.
Use like-gating features
While you cannot use “like” as a method of entering a Facebook sweepstakes competition (Facebook Promotion Guidelines), you can make it so that only users who have liked your page, can participate.
Don't forget to use a call-to-action!
Whatever your sweepstakes message is, include several call-to-actions in your copy such as “Enter to win!”. Use these call-to-actions in your copy text, in your sweepstakes buttons, in your share texts, anywhere and everywhere.
Choose your campaign length!
Usually, an optimal sweepstakes campaign length is about 2-4 weeks. Don't make your sweepstake last for more than that. If I want to win something, I want to know about it ASAP, not in 6 months time. By that time I've already forgotten about your brand and moved on.
Measure your results!
How many participants did you expect and how many participants there actually were? What did you learn that you could do to improve your future sweepstakes competitions? These are all important questions that need to be answered in specific numbers. Analyze, ask for feedback from your target audience and improve!