Facebook contests are created to drive traffic to your page, increase engagement, reward your fans and, ultimately, skyrocket your page’s fan count. But as many failed contest attempts will attest to, that goal is much easier said than done.
At ShortStack, we provide a platform to build, install and carry out these contests. But the key thing to remember is that we cannot market your contest. And as we’ve said repeatedly, you cannot “set it and forget it” and expect your contest to work.
We decided to look at one brand using our platform that has seen enormous success with its sweepstakes and let it teach a thing or two about effectively conducting a Facebook contest.
Oxygenics is a Reno, Nev., company that creates and distributes eco-friendly shower heads to retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond and The Sharper Image. It recently decided to rapidly increase its Facebook fan count and use a contest to do so.
Oxygenics created a tab with our platform. It launched the contest March 12, when it had 117 “likes.” Every day, the company picks one random entry to win a $50 gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond. All entrants must provide their name, age and e-mail address. Oxygenics’ goal: 10,000 fans total in 90 days.
It was slow to get started. Despite an ad budget of more than $200 during the first three weeks, the page didn’t break 1,000 fans. Not impressive progress considering the initial goal and caliber of the prize.
In a late-night Google search for other Facebook contests, Oxygenics’ marketing team stumbled on a discovery: There are Facebook pages and blogs dedicated to giveaways. These pages had upward of 10,000 fans and an active audience. By e-mailing these websites, posting to their Facebook pages and offering blogs a shower head for review, Oxygenics jumped on the fast train to success. Pages such as Suburban Coupon Mom, Sweeties Sweepstakes and Freebie Junkie gave Oxygenics multiple mentions and urged fans to join the Oxygenics network and enter the contest. Fans happily obliged.
From the start date of that outreach, April 3, to April 27, Oxygenics added more than 5,000 Facebook fans. The top five references to its page are giveaway bloggers, with Sweeties Sweeps sending 2,500-plus fans.
Oxygenics accomplished this without spending thousands on ads, hiring social media experts or taking away from existing resources. This can easily be accomplished using your marketing team — or even person — and a few hours of research and e-mails.
Such fans are great for Oxygenics because:
- They are active on Facebook. Since adding contest-blog fans, Oxygenics has seen an increase in individual post engagement, with each post averaging 44 engaged users and a reach of 946 people. After adding these fans, the page has yet to post an update that goes without a like, comment or share.
- They are the company’s ideal audience. Women usually do the shopping. By attracting them to Oxygenics’ network with the contest and bloggers’ stamp of approval, the company is building trust with this audience, which is spread nationwide (Chicago, Los Angeles and New York are the top cities of the audience). Oxygenics’ stylish and eco-conscious product largely appeals to women who are concerned about their family’s bills, health and environmental impact.
- They add momentum to the contest. Instead of becoming a fan, then deserting the page, these fans enter the contest and share it with their network. Oxygenics sees more than 1,000 entries daily, and shares from those entries result in an average of three fans per post.
And the momentum has yet to stop. With each passing week, more bloggers come on board to spread the message. They’re giving multiple mentions as well, rather than a one-time deal.
Simple steps from Oxygenics for anyone looking to do the same:
- Find your niche. For Oxygenics, it was easy to start with the giveaway sites. But there is just about every kind of blogger out there, from travel to pet products, and if you have a contest that fits the scope, the blogger is likely to give you support. Find such bloggers and ask them to help in exchange for something. Oxygenics offered a shower head and said a dozen shower heads for thousands of fans and advocates were more than worth it.
- Tell them exactly what you want — and say exactly what you will provide. Lay out that you want, for example, one tweet per week and three Facebook posts total in exchange for a shower head. If you don’t have a ton of product to give away, consider making an original tip sheet or other content that bloggers can use. For instance, if you’re a tourism page giving away a huge vacation, send travel bloggers the top 10 reasons Wyoming is awesome, or something to that effect. You’re giving them something of value in exchange for their valuable efforts. Everybody wins.
- Tell them to tell their friends. Oxygenics found its true success when the initial bloggers contacted their network of buddies. Requests and promotions came swarming in. Let them know that any online comrade is welcome to participate, providing it works for both parties.
- Share the love. Give the bloggers public credit. Become their fan, tag them in your postings, tweet them; they will appreciate and reciprocate this action. Take time to thank those who directed people to your page. Oxygenics found that one blog sent more than 2,000 fans, so the company requested to purchase an ad on the blog, knowing its effectiveness.
Oxygenics still has a bit to go before reaching its overall goal. But with momentum continuing and several weeks left for the contest, the company is confident the goal is reachable and passable.
This post is by Jim Belosic, CEO and co-founder of ShortStack, a Facebook platform-based application helping businesses build customized tabs for Facebook pages that maximize their social media presence and potential.