How to Choose the Right Type of Facebook Contest

social media how toAre you thinking of launching a Facebook contest or giveaway?

Is your goal focused on recruiting new fans? Collecting qualified emails? Engaging your existing fan base?

How can you be sure the type of contest you choose fits your Page and your goals?

Choosing the right type of contest to run on Facebook can be a challenge.

To help you decide what will work best for your goals, here are six types of contests you can run on Facebook.

#1: Sweepstakes Campaigns

A sweepstakes is a great vehicle for collecting email addresses from existing or new fans.

Participants enter and a winner is chosen by a random draw on a specified date.

sweepstakes example

A sweepstakes campaign shows your participating friends and provides various sharing features.

Sweepstakes are the contest of choice if you want to maximize the number of participants without spending a lot of time on the effort. But it has its drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know:

The pros: Sweepstakes are easy for the Page admin to set up and easy for participants to use. An excellent choice to engage your existing fan base and recruit new fans. The entry process is generally fast, which helps you to convert a higher percentage of participants and get more fans through the process quickly.

The cons: The user experience is a non-event. And they aren’t always as fun as some other promotion formats, so your participants’ experiences may not make an impression for your brand. A sweepstakes contest is not good for leveraging viral reach through share, invite buttons and any other of Facebook’s automatic sharing options.

If you want your participants to remember you next year, this is not the contest for you!

#2: Instant-Win Contests

Instant-win contests are an excellent choice for recruiting new fans and they engage your existing fan base.

Instant-win contests are almost as simple as a sweepstakes, except the contest works like a slot machine. So users know immediately whether they’ve won or lost, and are encouraged to return for another chance.

instant win contest example

An instant-win contest where you can see the latest winners.

Due to the fast-paced user experience, you’ll convert new fans more quickly. This promotion format is a little more fun than the sweepstakes, so it’s slightly more memorable and may leave a lasting impression for your brand.

The pros: Instant-win contests are easy for the Page admin to set up and easy for participants to use. This format is a good choice for maximizing the number of participants without your team spending a lot of time and effort on management. The user experience will likely be more memorable than the sweepstakes, as participants will not have to wait to know if they have the winning ticket!

The cons: The instant-win contest still doesn’t cut it as the ultimate brand awareness tool. Given the nature of the contest, you’ll probably not experience high virality through share, invite buttons and other Facebook automatic sharing options.

Choose one of the more “fun” contest options below if you want a contest to help you create brand awareness.

#3: Photo Contest

You’ve got a hot product, and your fans can’t wait to share what they’re doing with it! If you’re looking to engage and reward your existing fan base while driving up interactions on your Page, look no further: Facebook loves photo contests!

timeline activity

Facebook frictionless sharing will share each participant’s vote on their timeline and on their friends’ ticker and newsfeed. Make sure your contest has frictionless sharing built in.

As votes play a role in the selection of the winners, some people will try to game the system. Be sure to choose an app that has built-in fraud protection and moderation.

photo contest example

Here's an example of a photo contest.

In the image above, the MV Agusta Brutale Page allows fans to showcase their bikes through a photo contest.

The pros: Photo contests are relatively easy for Page admins to set up. An excellent choice to engage your existing fans who must take an active role in the game by submitting their entry and/or voting for others. Fans will remember their experience more than with a contest that does not make them part of the process. Every vote a photo receives will contribute to your Page’s viral reach as the vote is shared on the voter’s timeline, ticker and newsfeed.

The cons: While fans love photo contests, the necessary effort required to enter may inhibit participation of existing and new fans. Poor fan recruitment also means poor email collection. If your goal is to collect a lot of qualified emails, stay away from the photo contest.

Managing a photo contest will require more time and attention than other promotion formats. You’ll have to monitor the game closely, which means you’ll have to spend much more time on the contest than on a simple sweepstakes or instant-win campaign.

#4: Let Your Fans Vote

Fan vote is the win-win contest for engaging your fan base. You’ll get helpful insights from your customers on your newest product or idea, and your fans get to participate in creating their next purchase.

Simply provide some examples of your next product model, color or menu item, and let your fans choose which one they like best!

fan vote

A fan vote can also be just for fun: this fan vote contest lets you choose your favorite president during the 2012 presidential election.

While not as time-consuming as photo contests, fan vote contests come with the same great viral reach opportunity. Every vote will generate a story on Facebook.

The pros: Fan vote contests are easy for Page admins to set up and manage. This type of promotion is easy for fans to participate in, requiring just one vote to participate. An excellent choice to engage your existing fan base. Fans who participate are generally interested in the outcome and will remember their experience. Every vote will contribute to your Open Graph viral reach.

The cons: Fan votes offer poor fan recruitment as there is usually nothing to win, but this can be improved by integrating a sweepstakes among your voters.

#5: Quiz Your Audience

So far we’ve drawn a line between engaging your fans and recruiting new ones. A quiz does both.

Though quizzes generally don’t have the same draw as a photo or fan vote contest, they can offer a fun experience to the fans you already have. To drive up participation, you may need to offer a mixture of prizes to random participants and your highest scorers.

quiz question

An example of a quiz to find out if you’re a Facebook marketing expert.

The pros: Quizzes are excellent for recruiting new fans (for popular organizations or themes) and engaging your existing fan base. The format offers a positive and memorable user experience and promotes viral reach through Facebook sharing options as participants share their score and challenge their friends.

The cons: Quizzes are time-consuming for the Page admin, as they have to write the copy for questions and answers as well as find one visual per question. Quizzes also require more work for setup. Because participants are asked to invest a few minutes of their time to answer questions, participation may suffer.

#6: Take a Personality Test

Personality tests are another popular contest for fan engagement.

Brands can create personality profiles that reflect facets of their products and services and fans who take the quiz are given a brand-related personality profile based on their answers.

Participants and their friends love to discover and share each other’s profiles, so you can rack one up for viral reach.

personality test

A personality test to discover which kind of Facebook marketer you are.

The pros: Personality tests work well for recruiting new fans and engaging your existing fan base. The format gives each user a positive and memorable user experience. Viral reach is extended through Facebook sharing options as participants share their personality and invite their friends to participate. With a little creativity, this type of contest can be a really fun experience for your fans.

The cons: As with a quiz, a personality test will be more time-consuming for an admin as they will have to write the copy for the questions, answers and profiles, as well as find one visual per question. This format also asks participants to invest a few minutes of their time to answer questions so participation may suffer; presenting a creative and/or fun test will be key to getting a good conversion rate.

Don’t approach this type of contest unless you have time to draft creative profiles and questions to associate with them.

Use the Contest That Best Suits Your Needs

Facebook contests are a great way to engage your existing fan base and recruit new fans. The contest you choose should depend on the experience you want to give and the goal you’re trying to achieve.

People who don’t know you well will be more likely to respond to something quick and easy. So when it comes to recruiting new fans, the simpler the contest process the better. The less effort required for people to enter, the bigger the number of participants you’ll have. Aim for a sweepstakes or an instant win.

Think about the experience your contest participants will have and what they will respond best to. When it comes to offering a “fun” experience, contests such as a quiz or personality test are much better options than a sweepstakes or instant win that offer hardly any experience at all.

What do you think? What is your experience with Facebook contests? What contest type do you love or dislike? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About the Author, Emeric Ernoult

Emeric is the founder of AgoraPulse, an all-in-one Facebook Page management software offering custom Facebook applications, contests, statistics, Timeline moderation and fan ranking to SMBs and agencies. Other posts by »




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