Building a Fan Base
A great way to improve an online fan base and increase engagement is to promote a Facebook competition. This can be a fantastic way to kick off a brand new Facebook company page or even to augment your current social activities. Facebook is the perfect platform to reach your customers and build a closer relationship with them. This is yet another evolutional step that marketing has taken, where consumer’s voices are heard and companies aim to react and respond to their needs and wants accordingly.
Facebook brings the friendly, relaxed side of your business to the forefront of your promotional activities. It enables your brand to show off its character, its flair and uniqueness. It also enables fans to see what your brand is all about and for them to input on future products and decisions. It makes them feel part of the brand which is great for two reasons – you will obtain brand advocates who just simply love your products and also, fantastic consumer research.
With so many other social profiles that businesses can possess (google+, linkedin, twitter, flickr, instagram, pinterest etc.) Facebook really is the optimum place to deliver truly creative and inspiring competitions.
Facebook apps provide the platform to deliver the creative side of a competition. This facility enables traffic to be driven straight to your Facebook company page, keeping fans active on your social hotspot. There are several paid and free Facebook app services which will allow you to either choose specific templates or you can build your own by coding it or by using various widgets. These templates can vary from simple forms to photo upload competitions, essay contests or even video upload competitions.
A few things to be careful about are getting the sizing right for timeline (which many companies get wrong) and of course those little app images (which often get forgotten)!
Get Creative & get sharing
The first step to creating a competition is deciding on what types of competition do you want to run. Do you want lots of user generated content? Photo and essay type competitions would be ideal to complement this idea. Video competitions would certainly be the next step up, however you need to analyse your audience. Are your fans likely to spend the time creating and uploading a video competition entry? Do you want to make it as easy as a form entry, where you try to simplify the entry process to enable a larger amount of entrants? However, you need to consider the amount of impact this will have if you’re looking for large fan engagement and excitement.
The best competitions combine beautifully built Facebook apps with engaging entry methods.
It’s also important to consider sharing – you want to be able to include functionality into your Facebook app competition. So when it comes to the end of the entry stage you want to make sure the pop-up box appears with your company logo and a message to say for example – “I just entered (company) competition to win a holiday for 2 in Corfu”.
This will help the competition entries appear in fans newsfeeds and increase the reach of your competition. Friends of friends will pick up on these posts and will want to enter as well.
Expanding the reach of your competition
A Facebook app for your competition is a great way to visually announce your brand and to drive traffic and fans there. However, don’t just stop there! This is only one outlet and your competition can expand its reach socially via more channels.
Twitter for example is a brilliant tool to accompany your Facebook competitions. Here unlike Facebook you can actively target and announce your competition to fans. Go tell followers about your competition and tweet to twitter users who you think will enjoy your competition. A specific hashtag can be set-up to create a further buzz about your promotion.
In fact one great way of finding related hashtags of your company & industry is to use hastagify.me a brilliant site which helps you find hashtags that you might not necessarily know about before, but which can really improve the reach of your campaign.
Competition sites will also improve the expansion of your campaign. Sites such as Loquax – receive thousands of visits each month and loyal readers will spot your competition as soon as it’s live. These competition sites also tend to have Twitter accounts and will retweet if you’re lucky!
Finally, Facebook ads offer another option for additional promotion. These small ads will drive extra traffic to your competition page and can be set-up very quickly. They will appear in the ads section on the right hand side of related Facebook user accounts. Make sure your image is enticing and has a clear call to action.
It’s important to not let the competition lie static, constant posting will keep the competition fresh. If you’re running a photo competition, then you can upload the competition entries to a photo album and fans will enjoy seeing their photos on your brand’s page – comments and likes will then ensue. Weekly reminders, especially on Fridays and weekends will help improve the uptake of entries.
Competition countdowns spur on entries as the promotion comes to a close. Posts should become more frequent in the last week of the competition in order to remind fans and friends of fans to get their entries in.
Voting competitions allow fans to have more input and engage more with your Facebook page. Therefore, when the competition closes, engagement will continue as the rounds of voting and selections should be posted and excited fans will be happy to post away.
Finally, as Facebook rules state, the winner should be contacted outside of Facebook before they are announced as the competition winner – so be careful!
Depending on the type of prize, a blog post can be generated by the winner and be placed on your company blog. This is a great way to show fans how great your company is and how amazing the prizes that your company gives away.
Build for the future
Now that you’ve built up a fan base that are engaged with your brand you can start to think of future plans. Try and plan your year around specific promotions. Think about what kind of prizes you can offer to fans no matter whether they are big or small – Christmas is the perfect time to do a mini promotion. Learn from what worked last time – which competition sites gave good referral traffic, contact the Twitter followers that know you will respond and will retweet your posts. Get back in contact with the bloggers that gave you previous exposure and try to build upon each promotion.
The main thing to consider here is that, fans will grow along with excitement of your brand on Facebook thanks to constant promotions that enable fans to be winners and ultimately brand advocates.
Facebook competitions are without doubt one of the best ways to improve your social fan base. They are also a fantastic way of getting your brand noticed and developing constant engagement online. Get your ideas clear of how you want to develop your app and be sure to promote it via other social channels and you’ll be well on your way to making a success out of your Facebook promotions.
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