As Originally Published on Forbes.com.
Whether you run a brick-and-mortar store or a home-based business, Facebook promotions can be a great way for your business to drive traffic and gain brand awareness. But before you just start giving something away, pulling off a successful Facebook promotion takes more work than you may realize. Here are six simple tips to get you on the right path for a successful Facebook giveaway:
- Check out Facebook’s Pages policies.
Before getting started, read Facebook’s Pages terms. They get updated often, so it’s important to review them before creating each contest in case rules have changed since your last promotion. This page provides Facebook’s conditions for running a promotion, including required content, administration of the promotion and compliancy requirements.
For example, each promotion on Facebook must not only offer a complete release of Facebook by each participant but also acknowledge that the promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook. While this may seem excessive, it is easy to handle. You can place both the release and the acknowledgement copy into the terms and conditions for each promotion.
- Determine your goals.
It is important that you establish what your goals are before you start your business’s promotion. What do you want to achieve from this promotion? Is your goal to gain more fans or likes to your business page? Are you trying to promote a new service or product? Maybe you want to create brand awareness. Take time to figure out what it is you’re trying to gain. Make sure you’re being realistic. Your goals should be tasks you can actually attain.
- Decide on a promotion type.
From sweepstakes to photo contests and even fan votes, which promotion is best for your business? Your goals will help to determine what type of promotion you should run. “Liking” a post to win, answering questions, creating captions, posting photos and other types of promotions are all great ways to get people to enter.
For example, if your goal is to garner more word-of-mouth for your brand, then a photo contest could be a good promotion to run. You could ask customers to post a photo on your page or in your group of them using your product. Then, you could share the photos you receive and ask followers to “like” their favorite one.
You can even take it one step further and use the photos — with proper permission set in the terms and conditions, of course — on your website or in your advertising.
- Create official rules.
Create a complete description of the promotion timeframe, who can participate and how the winner will be chosen, and post that on your website. Be sure to put a link to the rules in each advertisement for the contest.
Keep the descriptions of these rules as specific as possible. The timeframe is completely up to you, but it is important that you include the timeframe in all of your promotions, who is permitted to enter, where the promotion is void, how the winner will be chosen and notified, as well as a method where entrants can email or call to find out who was chosen.
If it’s a nationwide contest, be aware of the differing rules of each state. There’s a lot of work that goes into the rules. Your best bet is to work with a lawyer to create a set of rules that can be used as a template for comparable promotions in the future.
At Clearbridge Branding Agency, we determine if the promotion is a giveaway, raffle or contest and then proceed with the legal next steps. Depending on how consumers can enter to win and how the prize winner is picked determines the type of promotion. And each state has its own set of laws based on what type of promotion your business is hosting. This can affect things like possible payment to the state to hold the contest, registration and who qualifies to enter.
- Reward with purpose.
Remember that promotions are to benefit your business. Stay away from cliché prizes. Give away a prize that is related to your business. For example, cash prizes are great, but is the user really connected to your business or the prize?
Instead, give away a prize that will turn the user into a customer. A sample of your product could work, as well as a complimentary service from your business. Reward the winner with purpose.
We’ve helped assist clients with promotions to help accelerate their brand. The advice we often give is to ensure the prize not only ties to their brand but is something that will continue to provide a benefit to the winner. It’s also important to ensure the prize is something the winner will want to talk about online and with friends and family, creating positive word of mouth for your brand.
- Make it shareable.
A common mistake is believing that all you have to do is publish your contest. It takes a little more work to get a substantial number of participants. A great way to obtain participation is to make sure your contest is shareable. Although this is a Facebook contest, you should ensure your contest is able to be shared on all social media platforms. Tweet about it. Put a sign in your store. Send out a notice in your newsletter. You want people to share this contest with their friends and help you get the word out.
Just because you have something to give away doesn’t necessarily mean that you should post that prize up on Facebook to try to get a few likes or reactions. In addition to understanding and adhering to Facebook’s policies, there are state-level policies that must be followed as well.