We spoke recently about Facebook contests.

They’re a particularly good way to vary your activity on the world’s most popular social network. And frankly, you should probably run a few.

The trouble is, how do you know what kind of contest to run? There are more than a few. And, like so many things, they’re not all created equal.

We can help. We’ve blogged on the subject before. And now, today, we’re going to compile the top posts for you so you can run the right contests the right way, for the benefit of your bottom line.


1. Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes are a great all-around choice.

They work particularly well for growing your fan base, of course, but they fare well against other objectives too.

It’s partly because they’re simple to build and simple to enter. As you might expect, you just offer a prize and sign contestants up. But as you also might expect, there are right and wrong ways to do it.

Take your prize. If it’s not relevant to your company – that is, if you’re just offering iPads to everyone you’ll attract all kinds of contestants. Not all of them will be honest. Few of them will be interested in your Facebook presence long-term. And you probably won’t convert them, either.

You should also be aware that sweepstakes aren’t very social. You just sign up. Your friends may see – and comment – on the activity. But that’s it. The simplicity of the contest has a price.

Still, they’re a solid all-around choice. Definitely consider one.

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[Tweet “Sweepstakes are the jack-of-all-trades Facebook promotion.”]


2. Instant Win

Like a sweepstakes, instant win campaigns are easily launched and interacted with.

The name is appropriate, too. Like a slot machine, you instantly know if you’ve won or not. If you don’t win you’ll probably try again a few times. It’s pretty easy, after all. You just play on the page. And that’s the draw.

Unsurprisingly, instant win campaigns drive

  • Interactions
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  • Page Views

That said, there are a few drawbacks, too. As with sweepstakes, instant win campaigns aren’t particularly social. They don’t require much user investment at all and your players likely won’t interact with one another. They’re just clicking a few times, really. Unless a few of their friends comment on a notification post, there won’t be much talk about the process.

Still, you get broad and easy visibility. You get reach. And that’s not bad.

Another simple - and effective - Facebook promotion.

Another simple – and effective – Facebook promotion.

[Tweet “Get more interactions per Facebook user with instant win campaigns.”]


3. Fan Vote Campaign

These are easy to understand. You ask your fans to vote on something.

It might be a name for an upcoming product. It might be selecting a product to re-release. It might be what to fix, what to add, or even what kind of packaging to put it all in. It could be anything.

You just ask your customers to vote on it. You’ll get two key benefits:

  1. You involve your customers in the business process, which builds a relationship
  2. o

  3. You get a reliable focus group – for free!

Of course, there has to actually be something to vote on. You can’t just run a fan vote campaign for anything; it’s not as general-purpose as a sweepstakes.

Moreover, your response rate will be lower. The investment is higher. They actually have to think about what to vote on, not just click a couple times on an instant win campaign.

But, you might just discover that, say, an earlier iteration of your product was very popular. That there’s money in launching it again. These campaigns can be surprisingly lucrative.

Just make sure, if you offer a prize – which is suggested – it’s relevant to your company. The usual rules apply.

Engage your fans by asking what they think.

Engage your fans by asking what they think.

[Tweet “Need customer engagement and brand awareness? Try a fan vote campaign on Facebook.”]


4. Photo Contest

The good news? Photo contests have one of the highest rates of virality and engagement you can get.

The bad news? They have an unusually low response rate.

And it’s not hard to understand why. Media like pictures and videos have an easier time catching on. They’re more immediate, more engaging to begin with.

But, they also require more effort. If you just ask your fans to vote on a picture, that’s one thing. You’ll get more or less the same response as you would from a fan vote. But, the virality and engagement will be comparable, too.

It’s when you ask them to upload or take a picture that things can really take off. They’re actively promoting your brand this way – especially in the latter case. Photo contests require effort. So, you’ll lose a lot of potential players.

Naturally, you should have quite a few fans to begin with, so you can account for getting fewer of them onboard. On top of that, you need to put in more effort, too. You have to review entries, be mindful of cheaters and people abusing your contest, and generally take a more active role in the process.

High effort, high yield.

High effort, high yield.

[Tweet “Go viral with a photo contest.”]


5. Quiz

Quizzes are versatile.

It doesn’t matter what your industry is. You can sell to consumers, you can sell to businesses, you can sell products, and you can sell services. You can sell anything, really, in any way. As long as you’re selling, you can ask questions.

And, on Facebook, you can do it in quizzes.

Quizzes don’t just get your fans engaged, they also get you valuable customer insights.

Try asking them what kind of market segment they’re in. Don’t call it that, of course. Brand it a little. But if you ask the right questions the right way, you can build customer personas from their input – which has a generally higher response rate than what you’d get with an interstitial web survey.

But, of course, this isn’t a low-maintenance app. You’ll get fewer respondents, even though you’ll put in more work. However, the responses you do get will be very valuable.


Get customer insights with a Facebook contest quiz.

[Tweet “Discover who your fans are – and how to sell to them better – with Facebook quizzes.”]


6. Personality Test

And at last, we come to the personality test.

It’s definitely more involved. It requires considerable effort from your participants. They’re filling out questions about themselves that actually require a bit of thought. And though it’s fun, it won’t catch on quite the same way a low-effort sweepstakes will.

Still, personality tests are valuable. Very valuable, even. The experience itself is good. The brand awareness is even better. And though there are more time- and cost-effective ways to add more volume to your email database, it’s one of the best ways to discover and nurture brand ambassadors.

And, the return on brand ambassadors can be high.

What’s more, prizes aren’t necessary here. Of course, they don’t hurt – when done properly – but personality tests are generally a good time. They are entertaining, in and of themselves.

You have to be creative, though. Make it a good quiz. Tailor it to your brand, your product, or your industry a bit. This isn’t a plug-and-play contest. It requires a bit of work.


[Tweet “Personality tests are one of the few promos that don’t require a prize.”]


Sometimes it’s not enough to just post things.  Mix things up. Surprise your fans. Engage and reach them in new ways, and you’ll stay in their feeds.

Contests work really well for this, so give one a try!

Let us know about the contests you’ve run in a comment below!