Ah, the sweepstake. The cornerstone of increased social media engagement, and an enduring source of following around social networks.
It’s rising in popularity among businesses who continue to vie for the attention of their audiences.
Facebook added a layer of ease to running a sweepstake. On the network, people are already looking at their News Feed. If the giveaway is interesting enough, taking part isn’t that big a deal.
But the ease to take part isn’t just what Facebook offers. Through participation, audiences get more out of the giveaway than just the discount code or whatever the prize is: They get a chance to communicate with a brand and become ambassadors.
For businesses, a Facebook sweepstake offers the following benefits:
- User-generated content that people love to share (Sweepstakes are just behind coupons in highly engaging post types)
- Valuable insight about the preferences of target audience
- Strengthened relationship with customers
- Promotion of products/services at a reasonable cost
- Increased email subscriptions
- Increased website traffic
Running a successful sweepstake on Facebook
Sweepstakes are easy to run, but when done wrong, they fall short and your business may end up giving away expensive prizes for a little engagement or other return. The flood of engagement, sales, advocates and subscribers is hardly ever the result without a clearly defined strategy.
So let’s run down what you need to do in order to succeed with a Facebook sweepstake:
1. Set goals
Set practical goals that actually support your company objects. Do you want to boost your email subscriptions? Or do you want to generate brand loyalty and increase social media engagement?
Looking at Facebook Insights can help you towards goal setting. For instance, if insights show your page already has a high level of engagement (shares, comments, likes), your sweepstake can be directed to achieving some other goal.
It’s also a good idea to go through Facebook’s Terms of Service and Promotion Guidelines to make sure you don’t violate any terms. For example, Facebook’s default features (such as liking a page) can’t be used as a method of participation. Also, the winners can’t be notified via Facebook personally, through posts on timelines & pages, chat, or personal messages.
2. Select an appropriate tool
You’ll need a tool that streamlines your sweepstakes tasks. For instance, you can use AgoraPulse Sweepstake app to schedule your draws’ date and time, easily identify participants who abuse the sweepstake and ban them, export your participants list and their information, execute multi-lingual campaigns, limit access to the sweepstake by country or age and visualize the conversion funnel at every stage of your campaign. Here’s a live demo:
There are plenty of apps to choose, but make sure you choose one that is customizable, can be embedded on your Facebook page as well as your website, and has mobile capabilities. Lastly, make sure the app displays the winners – this is a great way to show that your business doesn’t influence the results.
3. Giveaway something great
The bait matters! You need to giveaway something unique that both your fans and potential fans would find interesting. Choose something highly exclusive as a giveaway item for your sweepstake to perform well.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a high value product, but should resonate with the interest of your audience. Everyone wants a tablet, but how many gadget hunters are going to be your brand advocates if you’re an owner of a coffee shop?
Diamond Candles, a company that sells candles with real rings, ran weekly sweepstakes. Instead of offering a clichéd prize such as an iPad, they gave away their own product: candles.
Sephora did something similar with their Hello Kitty Sweepstakes. The Hello Kitty memorabilia made sense for the company because they sell Hello Kitty cosmetics. Further, young girls who attend school are their target audience of Hello Kitty cosmetics.
The takeaway? Offer a prize that encourages more people from your target audience to enter your contest, rather than those who’re simply entering to win, claim and leave. That’s how you make long-term customers and brand advocates out of sweepstakes.
4. Leverage trends
Whether it be national holidays, Black Friday, Cyber Friday, international sporting events, or major movie releases, leverage the opportunity to use trends to get more engagement with your sweepstake than otherwise you’d receive had you done a normal sweepstake.
PetSmart followed this strategy during the holiday season. They asked fans to vote on their favorite holiday items for a shot at winning a $300 gift card.
Apart from holiday trends, you could collaborate with tons of charities to conduct a sweepstake that’s not only valuable to your business, but to your audience as well. What connects them on a motivational level? Is it contributing to the society? Then with such a sweepstake, both you and participants will enjoy the warm and fuzzy feeling of making a positive impact, while your company is recognized for a notable cause.
5. Promote your sweepstake
After setting up your sweepstake and making it live, you’ll need solid promotion if you want to accelerate participation and hit your goals. In this case, you have a plethora of options to achieve good results. Here are the top promotional tactics you could apply for a sweepstake campaign:
- Promote to your email list
Send a newsletter to your subscribers announcing the sweepstake and provide a link to the page for them to enter. Promoting the sweepstake to them is a good idea because when they enter and share the giveaway, they’ll attract interest from their family and friends.
- Promote on Facebook
You can post about the sweepstake on your timeline and also promote it via Facebook ads. In case of ads, you can use tools like AdEspresso to identify the performance of your Facebook ads sooner, so you don’t end up wasting time and money on underperforming ads. Such tools will also allow you to save your preferences for particular demographic so they can be reused.
- Promote on other social channels
Utilize all your social presence for your Facebook sweepstake. You can even incorporate the element of video by partnering with YouTube channels. Search for channels relevant to your niche and reach out to them (mostly those who review items) in order to get them to talk about your sweepstake.
- Promote to customers
If you ship to customers, you can include a card inside the shipping box telling customers to enter your Facebook sweepstake. Just because they are already your customers doesn’t mean they won’t talk about the giveaway with their family and friends.
Sweepstakes are a resource that businesses can’t afford to neglect as an optional novelty (as they often do). The tips and examples mentioned above give an insight on how just valuable a Facebook sweepstake can be for your business. Even for companies with small budgets, they can be used to gain social traction.
What is your take on Facebook sweepstakes? Do you have any additional tips to add to this list? Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions with us.