Facebook Contest

Working and living in social media now for over a third of my life, I’ve come to know a few things:

  1. While it won’t be going away, it does evolve and change quickly.
  2. Social Media Marketing saved my life (but that’s for another day).
  3. You MUST use third party apps on Facebook to run contests, promotions, and sweepstakes.

This information that I’ve held to be true has been shared on hundreds of Bad Rhino client meetings, social conferences, and at the classes I teach on Social Media at Villanova University.  Well, as of last week, another Facebook evolution now leaves me singing a different tune and realizing that no matter how much you think you KNOW about social media marketing, it can all change in a second.

Facebook has lifted their enforcement of Third Party Apps to run Contests, Promotions, and Sweepstakes, which removes the truth behind my third bullet point.

A company can now run a social media contests on Facebook right from the timeline, news that brings cheers to some, and shrieks to myself and other social media marketers.

There’s a time and a place to use Third Party Apps (95% of the time if you ask me), and a time to use the Timeline to deliver contests.  This blog post is part 1 of your guide on the Pros and Cons and When and When Not to use Third Party Apps for Facebook Contests.

Pros of Using Third Party Apps for Facebook Contests

  • Fan Gating:  Most Third Party App providers provide a capability that requires participants, voters, and general viewers to “like” the page.  This is called Fan Gating and it can quickly increase the amount of “likes” on your page, which increases leads, website traffic, and your Social ROI.
  • Information Capture:  Along with Fan Gating, apps also allow a Form to be embedded into the promotion.  You can now gather their e-mail address, first and last name, phone number, favorite product that you sell, or really anything that you wish to learn about your potential customer.  Instead of only gaining 2,000 “likes” on your Facebook page (which would be great by itself) you can now also gain their emails and learn more your online audience.
  • Contest Organization:  A ton goes into the success of an online promotion.  You need to set Submission and Voting Dates as well as a way to count the votes that is fair.  If it’s a sweepstakes you’re running, you need to make sure you have each submission in order and ensure it’s a random selection.  Third Party Apps ensure your contest is organized and keeps you feeling safe and secure.
  • Branding & Customization:  Your online community will love the look and feel of a contest app.  They make it easy for them to enter, easy to share with their friends, and easy to come back to view.  You can customize the apps to look and feel like your brand with graphics and images, and it will escalate the cool factor of the contest.

Facebook Contest Fan Gating

*The above image is an example of a Customized Image we created and tied it to a Fan Gating system.  This forced participants and voters to “like” the page and fill out information in order to participate.

Cons of Using Third Party Apps for Facebook Contests

  • Can be Expensive:  Depending on the size of your community, apps can be anywhere from $20/month to thousands of dollars.
  • A BIT Technical:  While you don’t need to know coding to implement and design a contest, it can be helpful to really customize the look and feel of your contest.
  • Longer Contest Duration:  If you’re just looking to run a quick promotion, then an app may not be for you.  We suggest promotions and contests that are at least a month, to give your brand enough time to gather new community members and collect entries.

The Time and Place for Third Party Apps

Certain situations will call for utilizing a third party app for social contests.  There will also be times where you can simply toss in an update on your Timeline to kick off a quick contest.  Sadly, we’re going to have to wait until Part 2 (read Part 2 now) of this series to discuss this.

Check back next week for Part 2 of this series.  We’ll be discussing contests that work well for Third Party Apps and talking about which contests would be OK without them.



Interested in developing online social media contests on  Facebook that will blow your current customers away and generate new leads? Contact us here and let’s brainstorm together!