I recently ran a Facebook contest to increase my page likes & my email list. Here’s exactly how I did it, the results it had, how I marketed it, the apps I used & more!
Be forewarned: This is an epic post. If you’re interested in social media marketing, I’d recommend bookmarking it and coming back.
OK — here’s what happened:
For a long time, I was interested in running a facebook contest for OutdoorEquipment.com. Organic Google traffic growth was slow, far slower than I anticipated. But the community of people who had found it were passionate about the site. I strongly believed that building a Facebook presence would pay off.
And while the pay off is yet to be proven, I learned a lot about running Facebook campaigns. Update: You can see the results of my contest here.
How Facebook Fangate Contests Work
Some disclosure real quickly: I’ve run one previous Facebook marketing campaign designed specifically for increasing Likes. That was for my Glacier Facebook page. That was also before Timeline. Back then, you could create a custom landing page for everyone who is not a fan and encourage them to Like your page. Things don’t work that way anymore. If you are going to link directly to your Facebook page, you can’t choose what page they land on. So, that’s why you need to run a Fangate Contest.
In a quick nutshell, assuming you have a Facebook Page built, here’s how a Facebook contest/fangate works:
- Choose a platform to run your contest
- Hire a designer to design your contest
- Build your contest on that platform
- Market the contest
For this tutorial, I’m going to assume you have a Facebook page built already. If not, there are plenty of tutorials out there to help you. That’s not what this is designed for. This is specifically for those looking to build more Likes to their Facebook page.
OK — let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Step 1: Choose a Platform to Run Your Contest
There are a few things to consider when choosing what app platform to run your contest on. Here are the elements I used:
- No Authorization Required – Nothing is worse than clicking on a link in Facebook and being asked to give an app authorization to access your profile. That discourages engagement, plain and simple.
- Like/Fan Gate – Not every platform has this feature and I believe it is essential in running a successful campaign.
- Ability to Add Email Addresses – In addition to growing the number of Likes your page has, a Facebook contest can be used to gather email addresses. Kill two birds with one stone, right? I needed an app that enabled users to submit their email address AND asked them permission to email promotions.
- Popular – If the biggest brands in the world aren’t using it, why should you or I?
- No Fancy Coding – I’m not a developer. I can hack together some code, but I wanted something that was out of the box friendly for a webmaster like me (note: there’s a very big difference between webmasters and developers/coders).
- Reasonable Price – No need to spend an arm and a leg on something that I have no idea if it works
- Ability to Go Viral – I want people to get more entries into the contest by sharing and allow my contest to go viral.
After spending hours combing the web, here is what I narrowed my list down to:
- BuildChatter – Nothing overwhelmed me here. It was hard to navigate their site and understand exactly how they would help me. Also, the pricing table was very confusing. I passed.
- Wildfire – They seem great. Lots of big brands are using them. But there were no video tutorials or blog posts walking me through their products. I passed.
- Votigo – They have all the features you could possibly want. However, the pricing was too prohibitive for me. Again, passed.
- Strutta – Looks great. Their site is slick and pricing is decent at $99/month. However, you need to go with the ‘Pro’ to unlock mobile accessibility and that is garbage. It seems like they are targeting enterprises primarily and offered the Small Business package as a way to entice our market. But they’ve left off key elements. Pass.
- OfferPop – Seriously, seriously considered. I might even give them a go next time around, as they offer a 30 day free trial. They offer all the apps and elements needed. Why did I pass? I got woo’d.
- WooBox – This is what I chose to build my contest on. WooBox offered all the elements you could want for only $29/month. While they do offer some packages for free, in order to run a sweepstakes you need to cough up some dough. Why did I choose them? Because they pre-sold me with fantastic content and demos on their site. I had a clear idea of what I was buying and the support seemed fantastic. It was perfectly designed for what I want. Plus, they have plenty of other apps to launch other types of sweepstakes. Finally, they have the viral element. This allowed people to share the contest with others and get more entries. This reduces my marketing costs dramatically. For this sweepstakes, I wanted a Static HTML app where I could insert an image… Anyway, getting ahead of myself…
- NorthSocial – Just found these guys. Wow. They have an awesome system set-up with video tutorials walking you through every step of the way. Pricing is as competitive as the option I went with… Next time, I am going to give these guys a shot and see what I like more. They also seem to have more in-depth analytics than WooBox (WooBox’s analytics have been confusing and uninspiring).
**DOUBLE UPDATE**- I’ve launched a Facebook contest using NorthSocial. I highly encourage you to read our NorthSocial review. I feel it is the best platform for launching social media contests. It’s the only platform we use now.
Step 2: Hire a Designer to Design Your Contest
The next step is actually building your contest. I knew from glancing around Facebook exactly what I wanted to build. You can take a look at Facebook’s AdBoard to find ads that are targeted to you and click on ones that are contests. This is a great area for inspiration.
Here’s what I learned that I needed:
- An image that clearly explained what my contest was about
- The image has to direct users to LIKE my page
- An easily customizable image that I could then apply to future contests
- The image MUST be 810px wide. This is HUGELY important as that’s the amount of space Facebook gives you. Make sure to take up all of it.
Since I’m not a graphic designer, I went to Elance to find a designer and get my graphic done. With plenty of experience on Elance, I knew how to weed out the good guys from the bad. And apparently, not many graphic designers have experience building Facebook FanGate pages.
Here’s what I used as my job description:
I need a flyer created that will be used as a Fangate for entry into a Facebook contest.
Every month I will be giving away a free piece of outdoor gear, so here’s what I need:
1. My Logo
2. A place for 2 images of the outdoors
3. An arrow pointing to the LIKE Button (preferably something like this: http://michaellorinfriedman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Screen-Shot-2012-02-23-at-11.27.22-PM.png). And then ‘Like Us for Your Chance to Win OUTDOOR GEAR’
4. Text saying ‘One of our fans will win this awesome piece of outdoor gear. Just Like Us and you’ll be entered into our awesome contest!’ And then a 360×200 image holder next to this text’
Can you do this? Then apply!
A few important details:
- I mentioned everything in explicit detail that I needed in order to scale and reproduce the graphic for future contests
- I gave samples of what I like
In the end, I received proposals ranging in cost from $109.59 to $45.00. I made sure to examine everyone’s portfolio very carefully and asked for specific examples of Likegates that they have designed. Nearly every single designer came back saying that they did not know what a Likegate/Fangate was, but that they could create one. I wasn’t willing to gamble.
One person replied with:
Thank you very much for the invite.
I’d love to work on this job. I’ve been doing this since Facebook had a 500px width restriction.
I do understand your need and would like to work this out and provide a visual transformation to your requirements. Please find below some sample work of mine for facebook clients. (and then some samples)
That was my guy and I hired him immediately. He had ZERO jobs previously on Elance, so it was a risk. But he clearly explained that he was competent and knew far more about Facebook Fangates than I did.
After a few renditions, this is what we came up with (quality is reduced for this tutorial):
Step 3. Build Your Contest on That Platform
Talk is cheap. Let me show you the backend of WooBox and show how it functions (please keep in mind, these videos are a little rough. I am walking you through everything I did, without knowing what to do beforehand):
Video 1: Creating & Launching the Campaign
Video 2: Finishing the Launch and Marketing
Step 4. Market The Contest and Track Your Progress
The final step is marketing the contest. There are a few methods to marketing your contest:
- Post it on your site. Important, but you’re only reaching people who already know about you.
- Contact other sites in your industry.
- Pay Facebook.
Paying Facebook has been the most effective. I launched the contest on November 27th. Today is December 5th. So far, I’ve received 118 Likes and 19 newsletter subscribers. I’ve paid Facebook $83.60 in marketing costs.
Here’s what my WooBox dashboard currently looks like:
It’s important that when creating Facebook ads that you test different copy and target different regions. The narrower you can go, the lower your costs will be.
Here’s what my Facebook Advertising Dashboard currently looks like for this campaign:
This isn’t going to be a lesson in Facebook advertising. You can check out SocialMediaExaminer for that (although I’ll write a tutorial soon, too).
Here are the two ads I used so far:
I’m going to swap the demographics of these two ads later this week to re-market to my most successful segments as many, I’m sure, have become ad-blind.
That about does it on this tutorial for running Facebook contests to increase likes & your email list subscribers. The contest is only 1 week old and there’s 3 weeks left to go.
There’s more that I learned, but that’s for another post. And of course I’ll follow-up with a detailed description of the results once the contest is over. Update: You can see the results of my contest here.
If you’re interested in launching a Facebook contest for your brand and would like to hire an expert to do it, feel free to drop me a line.
Have questions? Ask below! I’ll answer any questions you have.
Update: Official Contest Rules
Below are the rules I used when launching my contest. Feel free to copy and use for your own contest.
Please remember, I am not a lawyer and this is not intended to be legal advice. You should consider consulting with your attorney first.