My Company Wants to Do a Facebook Contest – Now What?

by Affect Team on August 26, 2010

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Ah, Facebook. It’s so embedded in popular culture, there’s even a movie about it! But savvy B2B marketers have realized that Facebook also holds true potential when it comes to promoting new services, products or even contests. And it’s tempting to start a contest or promotion right from your Facebook wall – you throw up a few status updates, create some buzz and give away a few prizes. No harm done, and now you have a hundred new fans to boot.

Wrong.

Facebook actually has strict guidelines when it comes to hosting contests and promotions, and these guidelines prohibit posting any kind of contest or sweepstakes on Facebook, including collecting entries, judging entries or announcing winners on your wall. Exceptions are made however – if you’re willing to purchase at least $10K in Facebook ad buys over the course of three months.

For many companies, this can be cost prohibitive, but there are several contest platform providers that can serve as a cost-effective alternative. Contest platform providers like Strutta.com, Wildfire and Votigo all offer services that can help you navigate and create a microsite for your contest, with built-in Facebook integration that allows entrants to share their entries with their friends on their own pages or to become a fan and “Like” your company’s Fan Page. Some services even include a contest widget that can be embedded within Facebook’s FBML application with your Fan Page, taking interested visitors directly to the contest microsite. Additional functionality from these types of providers includes the ability to:

  • Create a custom, branded microsite
  • Design entry or inquiry forms, with custom Q&A requirements from entrants
  • Accept photo, video and text entries
  • Create photo and video galleries for all entries
  • Vote on entries, or to conduct a judging round from within the platform
  • Review and analyze contest analytics and top-referring sites

Wondering what one of these sites looks like? Check out the “Show Us Your Office” contest site from our client, Regus. To encourage business growth opportunities for companies nationwide, Regus launched the “Show Us Your Office” contest to award one lucky business owner a year of fully furnished, fully equipped office space at one of Regus’ 400 U.S. locations. Using the Strutta platform, Regus created a microsite, www.showusyouroffice.com, where interested entrants can submit a photo or video of their less than ideal workplace for the chance to win. Site visitors also have the chance to vote on each entry, and the top 10 entries will advance to a final judging round. The best part? Fans have the option to browse the entries right from the Facebook Fan Page via a custom contest widget, giving Regus the chance to further interact with current and potential new Facebook fans.

A well-executed Facebook contest can provide your company with additional sales leads, a plethora of new, engaged fans as well as additional buzz and excitement over your products and services. Have you seen any well executed Facebook contests, or have you used a contest platform provider service? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

kev 12.02.11 at 1:56 am

Interesting read, I was about to make a contest and make a status about it. I had no idea this was against the rules. Thank you for bringing that to my attention! Is this still the case as of 2011? (I notice this article is 2010).

If you know this would be very helpful, I see this happening all the time so naturally I assumed it was ok to do.

Thanks for your time.

Kate Ryan 12.02.11 at 10:05 am

Thanks Kev! This blog post from our partner, Strutta, actually gives a great update on the rules that Facebook revised at the end of 2010: http://www.strutta.com/blog/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-running-a-contest-on-facebook. Let us know if we can help put you in touch with them for more how-to.

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