5 Key Takeaways for Launching a Successful Facebook Sweepstakes

So, you and your marketing team have been brainstorming ways to increase engagement, extend the reach of your posts, and grow your Facebook fan base in the New Year. If you want to knock all of these goals out in one punch, hosting an exclusive Facebook sweepstakes is the way to go.

Over the past year or so I have seen some awesome sweepstakes that have increased key performance indicators (KPI’s) tenfold. On the other hand, I have also seen some sweepstakes that, well, as they say in the south…”Bless their hearts for trying.” What I have learned and observed along the way can be summarized in five key takeaways that everyone should read before launching their next Facebook sweepstakes!

1) Define Your Goals BEFORE You Launch

Launching a sweepstakes arbitrarily because “everyone else is doing it” without having specific goals defined is the biggest mistake that I have seen companies make. In the development stages of your sweepstakes, one of the first things that should be discussed is what the purpose of the sweepstakes is and what you are looking to achieve. Here are a few examples of questions you should be asking yourself:

  • Are you looking to grow your e-mail database? If so, by how much?

    • If this is an important goal for your organization make sure that you require those who are entering to provide their email addresses.

  • How much are you looking to grow your fanbase by?

    • Depending on what your goal is here, this will help shape the promotional aspect of your sweepstakes.

  • Are you looking to raise brand awareness or introduce a new product?

    • Setting reach goals and encouraging “sharing” will be important here.

  • How many people are you targeting to reach?

    • How many people does your average post reach? Set your goal based off that. How you promote your sweepstakes will directly impact the reach.

  • Is gaining market research important? If so, what type of questions should you be asking?

    • If you are a candy company giving away a year supply of chocolate, maybe you ask your participants:“What type of chocolate do you prefer? Milk or Dark?”

2) Select The Best Sweepstakes App For YOU!

With all of the different third party sweepstakes apps out there, it can become overwhelming to decide on which one to use. Determine what your budget is and how often you plan on running sweepstakes or contests throughout the year before you commit. Two tips I can offer you when narrowing down your options: 1) consider an app that encourages social sharing in return for more entries, and 2) make sure you implement an app that is mobile friendly and allows users to enter from their mobile devices!

Here are a few of the more popular sweepstakes apps out there:

  • WildFire

Pricey! But effective. Allows for multiple types of promotion that fit your business objective. Promotional formats include:

    • Sweepstakes
    • Coupons
    • User-Generated Photo, Essay, and Video Contests
    • Quizzes
    • Trivia
  • Wishpond

There are different pricing options available to fit your budget depending on what you’re looking to accomplish and the type of sweepstake or contest you’re looking to run. Prices range from $19/month – $97/month. One thing I like in addition to the variety of apps within the Wishpond dashboard is the option to run Facebook ads from here too!

  • Woobox

Their pricing model is based on how many fans you have on your page which differentiates them from Wishpond and WildFire. This works for many small businesses with limited fanbases. Woobox also offers “bonus entries” for those who share the sweepstakes to encourage social sharing.

  • Northsocial

Northsocial does a nice job at offering a variety of apps included in their monthly package in addition to the sweepstakes app. What I like most about Northsocial is their customer support and their CRM tool to manage all of the entries. Pricing is affordable and is also based on how many fans you have on your page.

3) Choose the RIGHT Prize

Another common mistake that I see companies make is selecting a prize that does not align with their goals or their target audience. This really comes into play with B2B companies vs. B2C companies. Sweepstakes can be used in both instances, however, the prize is what will capture your target audience. B2C companies tend to have more flexibility in their giveaways than those of B2B, but this all boils down to the goals that are defined.

For example, if you manage a gym, you might want to give away a year membership for free vs. a McDonalds gift card or something unrelated to your target audience. (This example might be a little extreme but you get the picture!) If you’re a B2B company, consider giving away your services, or a “small business grant” to award businesses with services vs. a random consumer prize that might attract the wrong type of audience.

4) Promoting Your Sweepstakes

Okay, so now your goals are set, your prize is selected and you know which app you’re going to use. Now it’s time to map out a plan of how you will promote your sweepstakes. If you think that you can just announce your sweepstakes to your fans and have it be wildly successful, think again. If you’re looking to maximize your success, market this sweepstakes as you would any other new product or offer. Consider the following:

  • Cross promote with partners or team up with another company

  • Advertise on Facebook and promote posts

  • Share (and advertise) on all of your social media platforms

  • Spend time researching sweepstakes bloggers and ask them to feature you

  • Have a space dedicated on your homepage or most visited webpage to promote

  • Consider print media, either as direct mailers or leave behinds at trade shows and conferences

  • Support the campaign with PR efforts, especially if there is any goodwill or charities involved

  • Include in your monthly e-mail campaigns to your existing client database

5) Entry Form

My suggestion is this…KISS the contact form. Here’s what I mean: Keep it simple, stupid! Don’t over complicate your submission form or make it ridiculously long. This will turn off  your audience, limit engagement, restrict fan growth and as a result, you will have a small number of people who actually participate. Limit your entry form to the bare minimum and only include the necessary fields that are valuable to your organization.  One thing I like to do with the “thank you” message after an entry is complete, is to reward the contestant for entering by giving them a special offer such as a coupon code. This will let them know you value their entry and also encourage them to visit your site and make a purchase!

The above tips should help guide you to a successful Facebook sweepstakes. If you have had experiences using any of these apps, or managing a sweepstakes in the past, feel free to comment and provide your insight!