14 Creative Ideas for your Next Facebook Timeline Contest

Posted on March 7, 2014 by

As you know, you can now run contests directly on your Facebook Timeline, without the need of third party applications. That’s great news! But before considering that option, I highly recommend reading these 7 things to consider before running a contest on your Timeline.

Once you’ve decided this is the best option, you’ll need to find that creative idea that will make your contest a blast. To help you with that, we’ve picked and listed 15 creative ideas below to help you make it fun and engaging for your fans.

Try your next contest with our Facebook Timeline Contest Manager. It allows you to run Sweepstakes, Quizzes and Photo Contests directly from a Timeline post, and pick your winners with ease.

Before we dive in, keep your business objective in mind!

Timeline contests are not cheap, the tools to run them may be cheap (or even free), but the prizes are not, nor is the time you’ll need to spend to preparing, promoting and managing it, contacting the winners and shipping the prizes. This will require an investment on your part, like any other marketing initiative, so let’s make sure you get some positive results as a result.

There are too many blog posts on this subject that have totally forgotten that the purpose of a Timeline contest. Like any other Facebook marketing initiative, it’s not about getting thousands of post likes for the sake of likes, it’s about reaching your goals, whether they be driving more foot traffic into your store, gaining more registrants to your event or more free trials on your latest software, etc.

Don’t run a Timeline contest until you are clear on how it can improve your bottom line!

Now, here are our creative ideas! We’ve divided them by the type of campaigns our Timeline Contest Manager offers:

1 – Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes300x300

#1 – Like to win: “It’s GIVEAWAY time!  Click “LIKE” for your chance to win (your prize)! Winners will be randomly selected at (your selection time) and their names will be posted on our Facebook Page and in the comments of that post (this will allow you to tag them and make sure they’re aware of it)!”
Then, you’ll need to randomly pick the winner(s) among the people who liked the post.
Pros: very easy way to get a LOT of likes.
Business Tip: make sure the prize offered only appeals to your core audience. Offering prizes that appeal to a very broad audience will drag down your reach in the long run and will not help your business.

#2 – Fill-in the blank: Enter a sentence with a blank asking your fans to fill it in, then randomly pick a winner among the commenters. Ex: “For my next vacation, I’m heading to ___________”. There’s no right or wrong answer for this kind of contest.
Pros: this is an easy way to get a LOT of comments on a post- a little more engaging than a ‘like’ sweepstakes.
Business Tip: make sure the prize offered only appeals to your core audience. Also, make sure that the blank you’re asking your audience to fill in is related to your business. The example above would be good for a travel brand, but if it were on our page, I would have asked: “The next post I’ll promote on my Facebook page will be about __________”.

#3 – Tell your story: “Tell us about your latest experience with (your brand) and we’ll randomly pick X winners from the comments”. Then, you’ll need to randomly pick the winner(s) amongst those who commented on the post.  Your new Timeline Contest tool has a setting which only allows one comment per user in the draw option.
Pros: this is a great way to collect highly valuable testimonials you can use later.
Business Tip: You can use the Agorapulse Timeline management tool to tag the best comments for future reference.

#4 – What should we do next?: “Tell us what (product/feature/service) you’d like to see next from (your brand) and we’ll randomly pick X winners from the comments”. Then, you’ll need to randomly pick the winner(s) among the people who commented on the post.  Again, your new Timeline Contest tool has a setting which only allows one comment per user in the draw option.
Pros: this is another great way to collect highly valuable testimonials you can use later.
Business Tip: You can use the Agorapulse Timeline management tool to tag the best comments for future reference.

#5 – Like + tell us why you should win: It’s GIVEAWAY time!  Click “LIKE” for your chance to win (your prize) and tell us why we should pick you in the comments! Winners will be randomly selected at (your selection time) and their names will be posted on our Facebook Page and in the comments of that post (this will allow you to tag them and make sure they are aware of it)! Then, you’ll need to randomly pick the winner(s) amongst the people who liked and commented on the post.
Pros: more engaging than the like or comment sweepstakes alone!
Business Tip: This is a very efficient tactic to promote an event.  Since users will write meaningful comments about your event for their friends to see, it will have a very good viral impact. You should definitely include a tracking link in the post to make sure you measure the impact on your bottom line. This tactic will also work for any products or services that can be purchased online.

Facebook management tool Agorapulse

2 – Quizzes

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#6 – How well do you know our product?: A quiz can be an entertaining way to test your customers or prospects’ knowledge about your product. Or, to let them know about a feature you offer they may not be aware of! In our case, this could be “How many types of Facebook contests can you run with Agorapulse?”
Pros: a good way to engage in conversation with users who know your product and use it.
Business Tip: use this contest type to showcase your least known features and educate your customers.

 

#7 -What is the name of our latest feature? This is an interesting variation of the previous quiz type.
Pros: a good way to increase awareness of your latest features.
Business Tip: As the goal here is to make sure that the maximum number of users will be aware of your latest feature, don’t hesitate to promote that post with Facebook ads or run different variations such as: “what is the latest feature released by Agorapulse?” and “what is the name of our latest feature?” and “Our latest feature is: A) powerpoint export, B) fan ranking, C) Photo contest”.

#8 – How well do you know our industry? It may be a good idea to keep it about your industry instead of harping on and on about yourself and your products. This will give you more creative contest ideas to consider! Agorapulse may want to test our fans’ knowledge about Facebook. An example could be: “You can create Facebook custom audience targeting with A) Home phone numbers, B) zip codes, C) website visitors”
Pros: This opens up a whole new fun world of creative ideas and keeps putting you in front of your fans while preventing them from getting sick of hearing about you

#9 – What are we launching next? Preparing to launch a new product or service is a great opportunity to run a quiz and do a little teasing at the same time! If you’re a restaurant launching a new dish, you could ask the following: “We’re launching a new menu item at our restaurant this weekend!  Answer correctly to win a $30 voucher for dinner.  Winner announced here this Thursday at 3 p.m. EST Is the new menu item (a) fish  (b) chicken (c) steak, or (d) turkey?”
Pros: a good way to get your fans excited about your new item, while getting early traction and feedback.
Business Tip: Make sure your post proposes 3 or 4 possibilities users can choose from. Otherwise, the results of your quiz may not be accurate (quiz filters match exact keywords).

Final tip: The quiz contest filters a keyword, or a set of keywords. It’s always better to propose a defined set of possible answers to make sure the spelling of your keyword or phrase will match. However, you can still use the quiz to ask open questions without requiring a right or wrong answer. In order to do this, and still get all comments through the filter, ask the respondent to add one hashtag in their answers. like “#quiz”. That way, you’ll filter the comments with the hashtag and get all the comments entered. You’ll then be able to read them all and choose your winner.

3 – Photo Contest

Facebook Photo Contest on timeline

#10 – Share a photo of yourself in our store (hotels, or restaurant). If you have a store, ask your visitors to take a photo of themselves while visiting. Then, ask them to tag themselves (they just have to appear on it!). This can be a very efficient way to spread the word about your location for free!
Pros: a great way to get a lot of visuals of people in your store and free publicity.
Business Tip: This type of contest is great for hotels and restaurants! Definitely ask the participants to tag themselves in the photo so it will appear on their timeline and give you a lot of free publicity. According to Facebook rules, they just have to be present on the photo and this cannot be a condition to enter, just an option.

#11 – Share a photo of yourself with our product. This a variation of the previous photo contest type. It will do the job for online retailers who don’t necessarily have physical locations. It can also help those with physical locations to gain more participants since they won’t have to be physically present in the store to enter.
Pros: Great for brands that sell their own products (not so much for retailers that sell products from others, like wal mart). Great for increased participation since participants don’t have to be in your store to enter.
Business Tip: Here again, definitely ask the participants to tag themselves in the photo so it will appear on their timeline and give you a lot of free publicity. According to Facebook rules, they just have to be present on the photo and this cannot be a condition to enter, just an option. You should also ask them to share a personal story about how your product as helped/entertained them to gather even better material for your testimonials!

#12 – Show us how you use our product. If you have a product that can be used in many ways, this type of contest could be a very good idea to uncover creative uses you may not have thought of. It can also be a great way to educate other customers or convince prospects of the many things they’ll be able to do with your product.
Pros: Great to create educational materials on how your product can be used and how creative your clients are with it.
Business Tip: Only go for this type of contest if you have a product that can be used creatively!

#13 – Show us your favorite feature of our product (with a screenshot). If you’re selling software, this is the ideal type of contest. Ask your users to take a screenshot of their favorite screen or feature of your product and explain why they like it.
Pros: A great way to get feedback on what your current users like and to create marketing materials showing what your users love and why with real life visuals.
Business Tip: Definitely ask them to upload a screenshot and a short description about how they use the showcased feature.

#14 – Show us your least favorite feature of our product (with a screenshot). This is a variation of the previous type of contest. It may sound counter intuitive to ask for negative feedback, but finding out what your users want you to fix is probably just as important (if not more) than knowing what they like.
Pros: A unique way to learn the flaws of your product and fix them. Users also appreciate transparency and your willingness to fix what is not working today.  This is a great PR tool for a brand that is suffering.
Business Tip: Ask participants to be as detailed as possible in their description of what they’d like you to fix and award the prizes to the ones that have submitted the most constructive feedback or have uncovered the most important flaw.

You can analyze the success of your contests with the gorgeous Facebook reports in your Agorapulse dashboard.

Facebook reports in Agorapulse
(Want your own Facebook report from Agorapulse? Get it during your free trial. Sign up today!)

Don’t forget to add your disclaimer on to the end of your post: “Rules/Disclaimer: This promotion is open to those 18 and above in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia (change age and countries as necessary).  Void where prohibited.  By “Liking” you enter and agree that this promotion is in no way associated with, administered by, or endorsed by Facebook; and acknowledge a complete release of Facebook by your participation.  You should also write official rules to protect yourself or to respect your local laws. Your official rules should declare the start and end date, describe the prizes offered and the way they will be awarded. The easiest way to make your rules available to your fans is to save the file in your public dropbox folder, or on Google drive with public visibility.  Just shorten the link and insert it in your post.

If you’re looking for creative ideas to run a contest using a Facebook app, check this other article: The 9 Best Facebook Contests of 2014 and How They Can Inspire You

Any other creative (and business oriented) idea you’d like to share with us in the comments? Your turn!

Richard is a Client Happiness Jedi for Agorapulse, based out of San Francisco and Paris, advising agencies and brands across the globe on Facebook page management and marketing. He sings Bachata in the shower and dances salsa 3x a week whether he needs it or not.