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Social Media Marketing for Business

Shane Johnston


April 11, 2013

The 7 Most Important Tactics to Launch a Successful Facebook Contest

April 11, 2013 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

They all Laughed at our tiny business when we Launched a Facebook Contest until we added 900 New Fans in Less Than 4 weeks and booked our little establishment solid for 3 days straight  …Now they’re all knocking on the door wanting to know how we did it!

The number one thing to understand is that it’s NOT about the technology (sorry Heyo).  Well, there is one very important component of the technology too, but more on that later.

A lot of businesses tend to focus 90% of their efforts on technology and only spend 10% of their effort in crafting the offer and planning & executing key sequences in the launch strategy.  Truth is, you need to flip that around and spend most of your efforts on crafting the offer & launch strategy.

So, in this Blog post you will learn about the 7 must-have launch tactics needed to achieve successful results for your Facebook contest launch.

It seems like everywhere you look on Facebook, someone is running a Contest or Giveaway to win a prize lately.

The big question on a lot of Business owner’s minds is “Are these crazy shenanigans serious enough to be considered a strategic part of our marketing and will it produce the results we are after to actually bring in more leads and customers?”

The answer is – “it depends” …on how you launch it that is.

There are a ton of these facebook contests that are not achieving the desired results.  It usually has to do with one of these factors;

  1. Right offer (prize)
  2. Right audience (people who want/need the prize to help them achieve their own desired results)
  3. Promoted well (launch sequencing, traffic generation, helpful content, easy to enter)

When you launch your Facebook Contests the way I’m about to explain, you will be assured great results just like this one;

facebook contests

The 7 Most Important Tactics to Launch a Successful Facebook Contest

#1 Pre-determine Main Goals of the Contest 

Establish your specific desired results in advance.  Set targets for what you want to achieve and select an appropriately targeted prize.  Document where you are at right now.  You can just take a few screen shots of your Insights data.  Potential goals could include;

  • Build Fans & engagement
  • Build an email list
  • Build a Mobile text list for SMS marketing
  • Get your content in front of lots of prospects to help them achieve their goals
  • Promote a new offer, product or event – Weekly Deal, VIP Program, new product launch, Sales Event


#2 Partner with a good App Builder 

This kinda goes without saying, but ensure you partner with one of the fantastic Tab App Builder platforms.  Remember it’s against Facebook TOS for Promotions to run a contest on your open wall.  You will need to build a landing page inside of your tab apps.  There are tons of App Builder platforms out there to choose from, but make it easy on yourself.  Don’t get caught up in evaluating all the various platforms or you will never get to your launch.  The biggest criteria here is to use one that is quick and easy to deploy because once you get hooked on launching these contests, you will want to do more of them and so you want to be able to launch them quickly.  I have used at least a half dozen different platforms, but I always come back to Heyo for its drag n drop easy to use dashboard, done for you templates, plus the ability to save your work as a template to be used over again.  I also like the fact that you can enable a mobile app within seconds just by utilizing the tab app you already created in Facebook.  Plus the team at Heyo is amazing with support and a constant supply of ideas on how best to use their technology for your business …in other words, they are a software company that doesn’t get caught up in their software features alone.  It’s not about the Technology and Heyo lives that every day.

#3 Map out the Contest Funnel Flow Chart 

I call this the Dunkin Donuts back of a napkin blueprint (or Tim Horton’s if you’re from Canada, or Starbucks if you like the latte’s but then you likely won’t be able to afford to promote your contest if you drink latte’s all day at Starbuck’s 😉  This should be a simple diagram outlining where you will find your prospects, targeting, contest landing page, and follow up email.  You may actually have more than one of these funnels per contest.  Launch your contest and then monitor it closely for the first few days.  Record your conversions and track how well your funnels are converting.  Tweak them to increase the conversions or throw them out entirely if they are not achieving the desired results you outlined in step #1 above.

facebook contests

 #4 Launch Phases 

[Don’t underestimate this seemingly simplistic tactic – this is probably The MOST important of all the tactics outlined here]  There are three phases which you need to utilize to get the full momentum for your facebook contests;

  • Pre-launch Attraction Phase (Traffic)
  • Pre-launch know, like & trust phase (Buzz)
  • Launch & take action phase (Launch)

facebook contests

I like to refer to the first phase as foreplay.  You build up the excitement and anticipation so much they can’t stand it anymore.  You can and should advertise during this phase, but basically during this phase, you are just going to attract your ideal target audience by being cool to them and sharing great content that helps them get closer to their desired goals.  Once you start getting some engagement with your Fans and content, you can even ask them to do a quick survey where you can allude to something exciting coming up and you would like them to answer a couple of quick questions so you can make sure you give them exactly what they need during this next big exciting thing you are planning to do for them.

In the second phase, you can let them know you will be telling everyone a secret tomorrow that only they will know about (make them feel special, important and exclusive).  Then you tell your Fans about the Contest that is coming up real soon but not launched yet.  Have them guess what the prizes might be.  I love to put up a quick landing page with an email opt-in at this time (remember, you can do these landing pages very quick now that you have Heyo), called “The Early Bird Notification”.  Basically, you just let them know that you will be opening the Contest early just for your Fans but they need to sign up for it.  You can even give them a little token prize as appreciation for signing up to the Early-Bird List.  Now your Fans will self-define themselves for you as to who would be your early takers.  Then 24 hours before launching the contest, you can email them to go enter.  This way you build a big momentum right out of the gate.  Often times with these type of promo’s nobody wants to be first and if you launch your contest prematurely, you might have a quiet landing page that nobody’s entering.  It’s a psychological thing, we all like excitement but we want to know that other people think it’s good too before we take the leap …”herd mentality” I suppose.  Feel free to use various social triggers here too like scarcity, secrecy, mystery, exclusivity.  People can’t resist …they want to be seen by their peers as the first ones to discover something amazing, they want to feel special, & they want others to see them as knowledgeable.

Now, in the last phase you will go ahead with your public launch of the Contest.  Make sure to use multiple modality & media to send as many people to your Contest landing page as possible.  Big momentum is still important here …you don’t want to lose the great buzz you’ve got going from your first two phases.  I like to refer to this phase as the “Brushfire marketing” approach.  If you get your message out to several different places at the same time as you have all your early-birder’s entering the contest, you will build a giant fire… a tidal wave of momentum on your first day of a launch.  It just makes the rest of your contest go smooth when you know you’ve already hit your numbers on opening day right!

#5 Promote it & Advertise it 

This one goes with the Launch phase, but it’s important to emphasis this tactic.  If you have done your homework in the first couple of launch tactics, then you should have a decent amount of buzz happening organically and the conversions to contest entries will be going well.  Now is the time to amp up the volume.  When you pay to promote your Facebook Contest, you will send it through the stratosphere.  When you have all this buzz and engagement level happening on your Page, now is the time to generate some new fresh prospects into Fans.  The ads I find most effective for this tactic are Page Post Ads …try it, you’ll like it.

#6 Make it Real –

Try to record a few videos of what’s happening at your business at various points throughout the contest launch.  People have a natural curiosity to know what’s the inside scoop through the eyes of other people …we are just inherently nosy I guess …why do you think Reality TV Shows work so well.  So let them see what’s going on behind the scenes.  This will pump up the know-like-trust factor too.  Definitely record a video of you doing the Contest drawing.  The worst thing about all these contests is that a lot of businesses don’t award a prize or worse yet, give the prize to an insider.  People want to know that your contest is real and that you are honest so show em.  I guarantee you; the next time you run a contest will be even bigger.  Sometimes people don’t participate but they watch from the sidelines the first time because they don’t want to join in and look stupid the first time …if they watched it the first time, they’ll be back to enter the next time.  Here’s the real kicker.  After announcing the prize winners, make sure you do a posting about it with the video and run a paid promotion on it to make sure everyone sees it.  Then bring the winners in to receive their winnings and do a video and photo op …make an event out of it and make them feel special.  Then post that and pay to promote it so everyone sees it.  Your cool factor just went through the roof.

facebook contests

#7 Post-Contest Offer to help monetize – Now that everyone is buzzing on your Facebook Page and you just gave them a whole ton of great stuff to help them, it’s ok if you would like to give them an offer.  A really fantastic way to do this is to use the new Facebook ads feature to upload the email list you just built for the Contest into your Facebook ads dashboard and advertise the promo offer just to them.  Make sure to customize the headline with something like “Entered XYZ Contest? You might also like this…”  They will think you are talking directly to them (because you are) only it’s through a promoted Facebook ad.  You can also email your list and place a post (pictures & video work best) on your Facebook wall.  The other type of paid promotion that works like gang busters here, is to do a Facebook Offer.  Just make sure to check off that you will promote it later so you can set it up to run continuously with proper targeting.  You can announce the winners and ask everyone to congratulate them.  But hey, you also have this fantastic special surprise for everyone else too.  Your offer can be a consolation prize where they get a discount on a new product you have or give them some extra special bonus if they buy before a certain date.  Just make sure this offer is a special one just for your facebook contest participants to show them the love.  So now they feel extra super special & not let down because they didn’t win the facebook contest …everyone’s a winner!

 facebook contests

PS: That tiny little business that was mentioned in the title headline at the beginning of this post was a real business.  It was a brand new restaurant in a crappy little plaza with hardly any pass-through traffic to speak of.  They ran a little contest with a free appetizer and entre for 4 weeks.  Then at the end of the 4 weeks, they promoted a special Valentines dinner offer to those Fans.  Needless, to say they jammed the place for 3 separate seating’s that night and had to add 2 more days to the offer to accommodate the demand.  They built up over 900 Fans on their Facebook Page plus an email list of over 400 and now any time they want to promote a new offer, they just click and send and the place is packed every time.



About the Author >>
Shane is a Coach, Speaker & Online Product Launch Expert who is the founder of Raw & Real Marketing Group. He has been featured in CIO Magazine and is currently working on a new project with Mashable for an online Reality Show type Blog series entitled “Social Media Marketing Eye for the Small Business Guy in which they select a Business Owner who needs a marketing makeover and then check back on the results after 6 weeks. Shane’s specialty is using Facebook Contests to build up buzz for a product launch. You will find him most often, passionately helping his Fans & Clients on Facebook at