Running promotions on Facebook can be a tricky thing. There is a lot of work that goes into it, but if you do it right, it can be rewarding. Let’s look at the facts.

In a recent survey by, a little over half (58%) of business owners have created a Facebook contest on their page. 82% of those business owners said that running a contest helped them meet their goals. And the kicker: The #1 reason people follow brands on Facebook and Twitter? Special offers and deals.

In my experience, a good contest really can help accomplish your goals. But before you jump in, here are some things to figure out:

Your goals. If you don’t set goals, how can you measure what you accomplished?

The type of promotion. Are you going to run a photo or video contest? Will there be voting involved? Or will you stick with a general sweepstakes?

The premise of the promotion. Here is your time to get creative. What is the promotion all about? How does it relate back to your brand? What branding can you involve throughout the promotion? How are you going to make it fun for your fans? How is it going to help you accomplish your goals?

The prize. Making a promotion fun is a prize in itself, but if there is no reward, you will have a much lower entry rate. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but just think: would YOU enter this contest?

How you will run the contest. Which third party app will you use to run the contest? Running a contest through Facebook’s features (like button or wall) is a big no-no.

Case Study

We recently ran a contest for a small local travel agency. In phase 1, we asked fans to submit a photo of their favorite vacation photo.  In phase 2, we asked those who submitted a photo to invite their friends to the page to vote for their photo. The person with the most votes would win a $200 gift certificate to the travel agency.

This is my favorite way to run a promotion, because it really gets people buzzing about your brand. Now here were the results.

My client DOUBLED the amount of fans they had, in 3 weeks. They started off with 235 likes, and by the end of the contest they had 470.

The “people talking about your page” metric is a great way to measure word of mouth. You can see here there was a ton of buzz created around the page once we started the voting process. Now, once you’re finished running the contest, it’s important to take advantage of your newly-created fan base. You don’t want to lose the momentum you’ve created. Plan a post-contest strategy to engage your new followers!

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