Contests are a great way to gain publicity for your business and create new customers. When you’re thinking about running a promotional contest, your first reaction may be to use a social media website like Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great idea, but there are a few things you need to know before you delve in too deep.
Rules and Regulations for Hosting Contests on Facebook
People post a lot of crazy things on Facebook, so you probably think there are no rules when it comes to publishing a contest there too. Wrong. Although Facebook doesn’t have an overabundance of rules, they do have some pretty strict ones. Take a look at Facebook’s Page Terms, Section E:
“If you use Facebook to communicate about or administer a promotion (such as a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including the official rules, offer terms, and eligibility requirements (e.g., age and residency restrictions, and compliance with regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered in connection with the promotion (e.g., registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).”
There are many more rules that go along with hosting contests on Facebook. In order to administer a contest, you need to do it on a Canvas Page or Page App from Apps on Facebook.com. Before you start your contest, make sure you carefully read and understand all of the rules and regulations.
Rules and Regulations for Hosting Contests on Twitter
Since Twitter is much more restrictive in what you can do—compared to Facebook, that is—their rules and regulations are fairly logical: discourage multiple tweets, discourage contestants creating multiple accounts, ask contestants to reply at you when sending a participating tweet. Read Twitter’s contest guidelines before you start your contest on the site.
Hosting Social Media Contests from Beginning to End
Now that you understand the rules and regulations for hosting contests on Facebook and Twitter, let the games begin! Here are the steps you should take that will take you from the beginning all the way to the end of your contest.
Consider Your Goal: Why do you want to have a contest in the first place? Maybe you want to attract new customers. Maybe you’re using the contest as a word of mouth marketing strategy. Or maybe you just want to reward your loyal customers.
Pick a Prize and How Many: Will you have just one winner? Will you have first, second, and third place winners? Figure out what your prize(s) so you know how to advertise your contest.
- Develop Your Contest Guidelines: Now that you know your goal and your prizes, you need to figure out all the bells and whistles. What is the contest? How many times can people enter? When does it begin? When does it end? How old do you have to be to enter? Is it restricted to geographical locations?
- Pick a Medium: How will people submit their entries? Options include contestants liking you on Facebook for entry, tweeting you a video or photo submission, and writing a short essay as to why they deserve to win.
- Promote Your Contest: Whether through Facebook, Twitter, or both, now is the time to promote your contest. Create graphics and flier to post on your business website. Link to them on Facebook and Twitter. Announce your contest in your monthly newsletter or email marketing campaigns. Get the word out about your contest so you can attract as many participants as possible.
- Engage with Contestants: If someone tweets you a question or leaves you a comment on your Facebook contest page, be sure to respond to them in a timely manner. You want your audience to know that you’re not a machine, but a real human being capable of communicating with other human beings. Engaging with your contestants will also give you insight as to what you should do differently next time.
- Thank Your Contestants: Once the contest has ended, thank everyone for participating and let them know when you’ll announce the winner(s). If your prize is really cool, people are going to want to know if they’ve won right away, so make your decision as soon as possible.
- Announce Your Winner(s): When you announce the winner(s) of your contest, let them know if they need to contact you for shipping information. If your winner doesn’t respond within a certain timeframe, pick and announce a new winner.
- Ship Prizes Immediately: If you don’t ship the prizes to your contest winners in a timely manner, the word will spread and your next contest could very well be a flop. Show your contest winners that you appreciate them just as much as paying customers by treating them with the same kindness and courtesy.
About The Author:
Meghan Faye Wolff is the senior copywriter and marketing specialist for Instabill Corporation. Instabill provides international, offshore, and high risk payment processing solutions to e-commerce merchants worldwide. Meghan writes about social media marketing, tips for start-up businesses, and e-commerce and payments industry news on the Instabill blog.