Why Your Facebook Contest Might Not Be Working
After a recent Women In Business meeting, I was asked if I would cast my eye over a Facebook competition app because they were concerned that they had not had many entries.
Having just run a big Facebook competition it is amazing how what seems obvious as the designer is completely the reverse to someone else who has not seen the page before. I have seen the most bizarre questions but it has really helped me to look at things with a much more critical eye.
Bearing that in mind, I had a look at the competition tab in question and several immediate observations as a complete newbie to the page were obvious:
Three major reasons why your Facebook competition might have too few entries
Problem #1 The landing page from the website/competition tab for someone who has not liked the page already wa not clear enough as to what people had to do. Whilst the slogan for the competition obviously made sense to those who had designed it, for the rest of the public it was not. And, worse still, once they had liked the page, even that explanation disappeared and there was no way to go back to it… because you had liked the page, the fan gate had gone.
Problem #2 Remembering that Im pretty good with Facebook, it still took me several minutes to work out that, after I had liked the page, I had to actually click where it said ‘Enter Now To Win’ to get the dropdown for the entry form. This is crucial. It was not an obvious button.
If people cannot see immediately what to do, they will move on. You have seconds to get their attention and I was looking at it for a long time.
Problem #3 Once I had entered my details, it then took me several minutes to work out that the picture required was on a very specific theme. Again, the slogan describing the event was confused and the accompanying image not specific enough.
I would suggest that these three things were a major contributory problem for the lack of entrants – and increasing your fan base can be the main metric for measuring the success of any contest.
Not promoting your competition on your wall
Their next problem related to actually getting people to the tab in the first place. Whilst the Facebook link on their website took the viewer direct to the competition tab, both the title and the image for that tab on the FB page itself did not stand out at all.
Then on the wall, there were no promotions drawing attention to the tab. Each tab on your page has its own URL which you can use in status updates so people can click and go to the competition. You should be trying to push people into that interactive funnel at every opportunity. You need status updates reminding people it’s there, others talking about great entries that are up there – you might want to number any images as well as name so that it’s easy for other people to find them.
Not promoting a Facebook contest on other people’s personal profiles
You need to have share buttons on each entry so that people can share their entry on their own walls after they have uploaded them and thus highlight the competition to their own friends and encourage them to go to the tab and vote for their picture.
You also need to make it possible for anyone who does vote to share that fact on their wall too. And that function needs to be really obvious. In the example I viewed, you had to hover over the image before you got a chance to vote – and then it was called a hype. You had to read the small print in the rules to learn that a hype was a vote. Remember, I’ve just run a competition and I didn’t understand what that was all about. And if people didn’t hover over the pictures, they didn’t know that they are able to vote for them. There were no instructions.
Not staying within Facebook’s rules for competitions
August 2013 update: Facebook have just changed the rules for competitions. You can now run these on your business page. You can ask people to like or comment on a status update as a condition of entry. You cannot ask them to share it.
You must get a ‘complete release of Facebook from each entrant or participant’ and you must acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
I’d say that makes it still a better bet to run your contest through an app rather than directly on the wall. You don’t want to get caught out with no proper terms and conditions because Facebook are going to wash their hands of any responsibility.
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