So, we’ve talked strategy, we’ve talked unique content to keep them coming back, but how do you get them there in the first place? This is the holy grail of questions, and surprise, surprise… another question without a clear-cut answer for every brand. But by attempting a combination of what I’ll explain in the following sections, and monitoring their success, you’ll find something that will work for you

Put it Everywhere

Let’s start with the most obvious. Tell people. In Part 1 we talked about placing a call-to-action to visit your social media channels on everything from your business card, to elevator posters, to key cards, to POP displays…. But let’s keep that ball rolling. The front desk people can remind them as they check-in, or check-out. An online comment card that’s placed in-room. (e.g. set-up your comment cards as a tab on your Facebook page). Place calls to action on any currently running advertisements as a secondary mess. Use your own website as banner space to promote your social media channels. Long story short, if you print it, place it, talk about, or have thought about it… plug your social channels. Don’t let anything slide. And when you are running any sort of promotion  within your social channels, (which we’ll talk about next) promote that even more.

So, what are Facebook promotions? The possibilities are virtually endless, and the type you choose should ultimately coexist naturally with your content strategy, but they can basically be broken down into three categories that include: Sweepstakes, Photo Contests, and Video contests.

The obvious advantage to a sweepstakes is that, if done correctly, it is extremely fast for the end-user and doesn’t take up much time, which means the end-user doesn’t have to jump through hoops and get frustrated after hoop number two, only to turn around and jump ship. This is usually preferable for brands trying to build a large fan base from a relatively small one to start with, but is equally effective with brands starting with large fan bases.

The advantage to photo contests or video contests is that, although it is more work and requires a bit more connection on the part of the user, the voting for said photos and videos comes from the fans themselves and their friends — so there is a larger possibility for the reach to spread organically and virally. If you are a brand who already has a following of over 10k and pretty solid content base and personality, this can be a very viable option.

One best practice for either of these is to make sure that your contest has a “like-gate.” This ensures that in order to participate, the user must “like” the page before entering, which by proxy converts every entry into a “like”.

Another best practice, especially effective for sweepstakes — where the winner is chosen at random — is to offer a friend-referral incentive. For example, for every 5 friends that are referred and enter, THAT user (the referr-ING user) receives an extra entry, up to 50 friends (or 10 extra entries). That motivates a viral growth to the contest as well.

The last best practice, which almost goes without saying, is that the success of your contest can almost perfectly be estimated beforehand based on the quality of the prize. $1000 in American Express Gift Cards is going to have a higher success rate than a new pair of Converse. (Unless the Converse have a $1000 American Express Gift Card in them, in which case you can expect me to sign up for your contest AND invite 50 friends.)

As a general rule of thumb, running a monthly sweepstakes over the course of a few months, or a weekly contest over many weeks, is more effective than a one-time short contest. (i.e. 3-5 weeks being a short contest) The sole reason being, that because oftentimes it takes more time than one would think for the virality of a contest to reach its peak. And truth be told, we here at Navigant have never actually seen a drop off in entries after periods of time as long as 3 months. So, if you can run a longer contest, it will benefit you numerically.

Speaking of the virality of a contest, that brings up the question “Now that I’m running this great two month sweepstakes and giving away a pair of Converse with a $1000 gift card inside… how can I promote it?”

PPC

One way to promote Facebook Contests, via Facebook, is through PPC ads (or Pay-Per-Click ads).  Simply put, you pay a few cents per click, (depending on what you choose) up to the amount that you choose to stop. So, for example, if I want to run $30/day in advertising, and each click charges me $0.10, then this buys 300 clicks’ worth of visibility. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but keep this in mind. Maybe 2% of the people will click on it. That means that 98% more will at least have it show up in their right side rail… awareness. That’s roughly 30,000 impressions a day, for $30… that’s not bad. And the numbers are usually much higher than that, in all honesty.

As for PPC ad creation, that also has a “best practices” technique, which you can view HERE

Sponsored Posts

See PPC ad, except instead of creating an ad, you just pay for the promotion of an existing status update. Sponsored Posts get you a slightly larger space and better location, but its slightly more expensive. Otherwise… very similar. Something to note about Sponsored Posts, however, is that as of recently Facebook now creates one of these for every PPC ad created. The Yin to its Yang, let’s call it. You don’t HAVE to run them, but our experiences with them so far is that they typically yield lower reach but higher clickthru’s overall.

Stay tuned for a future post about PPC / Sponsored Posts / Etc as that requires its own finesse and monitoring that we can’t even begin to cover here.

Blog Seeding

Wanna push your contest from off Facebook, onto Facebook ? And for free? All it takes a little time, patience, and good attitude. If you Google “sweepstakes forum” you get 6,900,000 results (20,800, 000 if you Bing it, I don’t wanna play favorites.)

But despite your favorite search engine, the take-away is that there are A LOT of sweepstakes’ forums out there, with folks just seething to find out about more sweepstakes and contests that they can sign up for and win. So if the dogs are hungry… throw them a bone.

Grab a sandwich, and a cup of coffee, maybe some Doritos if you like, and settle in to your desktop for an afternoon of joining sweepstakes forums and telling their inhabitants about this GREAT NEW CONTEST THAT’S JUST OPENED UP AND IS GIVING AWAY A PAIR OF CONVERSE WITH $1000 AMERICAN EXPRESS GIFT CARDS INSIDE! 

Pro-tip: Do this under a secondary e-mail address so later you can keep track of your usernames, passwords, the sites you’ve already posted to, AND, so you don’t get 1.7 billion e-mails a day moving forward.

Speaking of a sandwich and a coffee, (and in this case, Doritos are going to be mandatory) I’ve spent so much time writing this, I’ve forgotten to eat. So I hope that this has been helpful in starting up, or bettering, your contest/sweepstakes experience. And remember, if you have any problems with any of these, consult a professional. Namely me, at Navigant Marketing.

Or any of these fine companies:

And for the final installment of this 4-part series: Monitoring. Stay tuned. Or set your DVR. Or whatever it is that people do to make sure they don’t miss their upcoming favorite episode of something really, really cool.

NOW… READ PART 4 HERE