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You’re doing it all wrong: 8 terrible Facebook contest mistakes companies make

8_mistakes-facebookZimbabwean company have been joining the ‘new’ marketing channel that is Facebook in droves lately. One shortcut to audience building they have been using probably already is Facebook promotions/competitions/contest. The assumption is this method delivers results fast but that hasn’t been the case largely because of some mistakes that the guys over at Bizsetup Group have identified and wrote about in an article entitled “8 Terrible Mistakes Companies Make with Facebook Contests“.

It will be a terrible disservice on our part not to share their thoughts. So here goes.

Here are 8 mistakes that social media brand managers are making that are seriously limiting their social and bottom line results. If you’re going to do “it”, do it good, that’s my take on it. 8 Terrible Mistakes Companies Make with Facebook Contests

1. Your Facebook Competition is Inconsistent with your social media strategy
Most brands just shoot in the dark hoping that they will hit something and haven’t made the effort to establish where they are, in regards to their online presence, and where they’d like to be. Once you know where you are going, it becomes a whole lot easier to get there!

The mistake here comes when companies just want to see a short term result (a spike in “Likes”) and decide to do a giveaway to get there. I’ve seen brands that are also attached to certain events and because they are partnering/sponsoring the event, they quickly have a back office discussion to “draw up something” and giveaway some tickets and/or prizes.

No planning goes on in this regard and it is very ad-hoc. So no-no.

You can’t shoot in the dark hoping to hit something and when you haven’t made the effort to establish where the right client prospect are. Contest will get you likes in numbers but the quality of likes is more important. Each contest should fit well into your Facebook brand strategy and lead generation.

2. Giving away an iPad/smartphone

Say no to Ipad

I’m still trying to reach out to the gods of Facebook prizes’ and find out from them why they chose iPads and smartphones as THEE prizes in any contest.There is little value for a clothing retailer giving away an iPad which does not directly that type of business! Rather, giving vouchers and/or discounts to followers that can be redeemed in store can increase increase their patronage.

A friend recently explained it to me this way “It’s like giving a girl you like complementary tickets to an event, only for her to choose another guy to go with. Bummer right?”

3. Violation of Facebook’s rules and regulations for Pages

Facebook is not your back yard or your website. You’re playing on someone else’s turf and they got their rules and regulations if you want to continue to “play”. Facebook has certain guidelines that Page Owners (Zimbabwe included) are supposed to abide by to keep their pages and contests active (yes, they can delete your page if you go over board).

There are top two common infringements made on Facebook by Zimbabwe Page Admins on contests.Firstly, Facebook does not allow pages to have a contest that requires an entry to do ANYTHING on their personal timeline. Secondly, your competitions should always exonerate Facebook from any liability, involvement or endorsements on the competition.

4. Vague instructions or steps for participation

confusing competions suck

Simple instruction are simple to follow. The greatest “failure” for many potential participants to submit their entry into your contest is that the instructions are vague and ambiguous. Have clear instructions (usually in bulleted format) detailing what needs to be done. KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

5. Missed opportunity of not like-gating your Facebook contest
Running your contest on Facebook presents a great opportunity to reach more potential players and grow your social media following. When you run a contest and give away prizes one of your main aims is to gain new followers that hadn’t liked your page already and to interact with them

Unfortunately, MANY local Facebook pages don’t take the opportunity to have all entrants to their contest FIRST LIKING their page before they can either enter or vote. This is easily done through a third-party application (as having people comment and getting friends to like just won’t do it).

6. Not mobile compatible
Need I state the direction the usage of the internet has taken in Zimbabwe? With companies like Econet allowing subscribers to access certain websites FREE and Facebook for the reasonable fee of $3 per month UNLIMITED usage. That being said, we have seen from the many Facebook pages that we’ve handled for brands that a large number of users are on mobile (you can check it for yourself – on comments that are made on your page, next to the time it’ll reflect “via mobile”. It is expedient that your promotions take into consideration that users are on mobile.

The means of entry that you use, the images that you employ, the conditions that you set out should all be mobile-friendly. Failure to do this will leave out a LARGE number of potential participants and hence rendering your contest ineffective.

7. Not promoting the contest enough
What good is it having a competition and nobody enters? Worse still, you cannot ask your contestants to “Share” your post as a means of entry due to Facebook’s rules and regulations as stated above and how many of us will share a contest so that we can get more people to come and compete against us? So what can you do? Promote, promote, promote. Make as much noise as possible about at. Tell everybody, through whatever means that you have. When you do a contest on your timeline (in the form of comment and get likes to your comment) you are VERY limited as to the means of promoting.

Have a custom Facebook cover photo done for it. Make regular posts highlighting your contest and directing people to enter. In fact, I’ll post a separate article on how to DRIVE entries to your contest so that you get the MOST value out of it.

8. Inadequate duration

not enough time

When you run a contest be sure to get ALL the mileage that you can get out of it. One of the biggest mistakes that Page Admins make is to create haphazard, last minute, “gotta get it out there” promotions. When there is no social media strategy, just about anything goes anytime. And the danger of these kind of promos is that they are ill planned, not formally structured and seldom effective.
Be sure to have a plan/road map of what you want to achieve, how you are going to do it and when it will be accomplished via social media.

So as you can see, there are a lot of ways poor planning can limit your results with Facebook contests. I hope now you’re better equipped to execute better and more effectively. From me and the Social Me team…happy Facebooking!

William Chui, the writer of the article, is a Director and “Facebook Contest Manager” for SocialMe.

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