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With nearly 1.2 billion active users and still growing, Facebook is a social media platform that holds major potential for brands and businesses. However, with every pro comes a con. This booming usage makes it increasingly harder to stand out on Facebook feeds. Luckily, Facebook contests are an ideal way to catch attention, and ultimately, drive traffic and engagement in a short period of time.

Facebook App and Social Media Letters

Facebook contests are great for small businesses and big brands alike. Because they appeal to emotion—or utilize the concepts of scarcity, urgency and exclusivity (“FOMO“)—contests on Facebook greatly encourage social media engagement. In addition to generating user engagement, Facebook contests also boost brand awareness, increase page Likes and more. If you’re interested in starting a Facebook contest for your business, read up on Facebook’s official contest guidelines to make sure you won’t be violating any rules and regulations.

Though there are several variations of Facebook contests, we narrowed it down to the big four. Objectives vary across contest type, so choose wisely.

4 Facebook Contests to Consider For Your Business

No. 1 Sweepstakes

Objective: Gain Facebook fans.

Sweepstakes is a form of a Facebook contest that requires user entries. Because the form of entry typically requires a Facebook page Like, sweepstakes are best for small businesses with low amounts of Facebook fans, or for brands who are simply looking to drive more traffic to their Facebook page. In addition to liking a Facebook page, contestants are also prompted to enter their email. Sweepstakes are ideal because they require little effort and generate leads through little information.

Think sweepstakes would work best for your brand or business? There are several third-party apps to help you create your sweepstakes page. Before launching your contest, ensure that you have a compelling contest title, visual and description, as well as a relevant prize for your contestants. Your prize should match your brand identity; for example, if you’re an apartment community, an ideal prize would be an IKEA gift card, not a makeup gift set.

No. 2 Timeline Contests (Like/Comment to Win)

Objective: Encourage on-page engagement.

Facebook Contest Example 1

Timeline contests are a great way to stir more on-page engagement if your Facebook page already has a substantial amount of Likes. Contestants typically enter a timeline contest through Likes and comments on a post. This contest results in more valuable engagement than a sweepstakes contest, because contestants are encouraged to do more than just click buttons. For example, in the Halo Top Creamery Facebook contest above, they ask users to write a comment telling them how much they love strawberry ice cream.

Unlike sweepstakes contests, in which the winner is chosen at random, timeline contests can also choose the winner based on the quality of their entry, such as whichever contestant wrote the wittiest comment. Timeline contests allow brands and businesses to be more creative, which gives them the ability to better align the contest with their identity. Because these on-page Facebook contests require more effort, we recommend a highly appealing incentive (I mean, who wouldn’t want ten free pints of ice cream?!).

No. 3 Photo or Video Contests

Objective: Build UGC, or user-generated content.

Photo or video Facebook contests are great for big brands who want to hear more from their existing fans. Generally, these contests ask people to submit a photo or video that aligns with a brand or business’ message or identity. For example, a skincare brand might ask for a creative video submission that highlights how their products can be used. Once all the entries have been received, they are posted on a platform and others vote.

Typically, fans who want recognition for their brand loyalty will participate in these digital media contests. Rewards for photo or video contests can range from brand merchandise to simple recognition (ex. being reposted on a highly-followed Instagram page). Keep in mind that asking too much will result in a negative ROI; stricter rules inevitably push potential contestants away. For instance, asking for the contestant to be dressed in brand swag from head to toe isn’t the most feasible idea.

Contestants aren’t the only ones who benefit from entering these photo and video contests; the brand or business that hosts the contest receives a huge incentive, too. A plethora of contestants means a wide selection of user-generated content that you now have in your arsenal.

No. 4 Text-Entry Contests

Objective: Increase brand awareness.

Facebook Contest Example 2

Like photo or video contests, text-entry contests also put loyal fans to the test. These Facebook contests ask people to enter through comments or wall posts; the winner is the contestant with the most-liked entry. This method of victory drives contestants to ask others in their network to “Like” their entry, hence, increasing brand awareness. To put it into perspective, those who may have never landed on your Facebook page in the past are now engaging with it because of a contest. See how Chipotle Mexican Grill bumps their chances at page exposure with their text-entry contest, above.

Don’t forget, SOCi offers you with contest creating options, too. When creating a post through the  Scheduler, simply select the contest check box. From there, you can choose if the winner of your contest will be random, or a user with the most-liked comment.

Which of these Facebook contests will you try next?

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