6 things you need to know to run a successful Fan Vote campaign on Facebook

Posted on October 7, 2013 by


  • Will this meet my goals?  Why run a fan vote campaign?

Because they’re awesome!  Duh!  Customers love telling you what they think.  Just take a look at your Facebook page!  They’re dying to be a part of the process that delivers.  Why not give them a chance to choose the color of your next product, or your next product?  Restaurants can tantalize their guests with potential items for the next menu.  Bars and nightclubs can receive insight on which band to invite out for Friday night.  Just want to engage and have some fun?  Why not get all sentimental and ask your customers to vote for their favorite early models of your products?

Fan vote campaigns are a good fit for any audience- B2C, B2B, groceries, luxury products, car parts, sports fans, music lovers, lawyers, bankers, high tech, low tech…  shall I go on?  And, they create a powerful draw even without offering prizes.  They’re always productive, whether you’re receiving insight on your next product, or just razzing your customers up about your brand.  Rumor has it, the College of Cardinals selected the last pope via a Facebook fan vote contest, but that’s just a rumor  😉

The more established your brand is, the more popular and active your campaign will be.  Obviously, a campaign to choose the next model corvette will stump the next exotic coffee to serve at Joe’s.  But, Facebook loves fan vote campaigns, and if your app is integrated with frictionless sharing, like all Agorapulse apps are , each vote produces a story in friends’ newsfeeds and tickers.  Voting for the new stuff you can get is addictive. So is voting for the stuff you used to have, especially if your friends are doing it, so don’t think for one minute that Joe won’t benefit from a powerful and fun brand awareness tool.  You’ll recruit new fans and collect emails (though, not as many as you would in a sweepstakes or instant win), excite your customers and deepen your relationship with them while throwing a little gasoline on your brand awareness machine.

mustache campaign

A Fan Vote campaign on mustaches!

Whatever your goals or audience, a fan vote campaign is a good fit.


  • Boost recruitment!  Offer prizes!  But…

Want to boost your campaign’s recruitment and email collection?  Offer prizes!  Woo-hoo!  But, avoid offering attractive prizes that have nothing to do with your brand. A free holiday will not attract fans of your beauty products.  Everyone wants to win an iPad. But, how many online gadget hunters are potential customers for your hand made jewelry, motorcycle accessories or exotic coffees?  An appropriate award will deflect prize hunters, who will hide your posts or unlike your page as soon as your campaign is over.  Eventually, this kind of activity will drag your EdgeRank score down, thus fewer of your true fans will see your content.

The prizes you offer should interest participants who are already your customers, or will be in the future. If your contest prize attracts contestants who have no reason to become your customer, change it!

Lord and Taylor

Lord & Taylor, a female online fashion retailer, awards fashion accessories from its website.

If you’re an airline, why not offer more miles to fans who are already members of your loyalty program, or an upgrade on their next flight? If you’re offering trips to resorts, send your winner to one of the destinations in your portfolio. If your business specializes in selling iPads, why not give away a must have accessory?  Or, an iPad?  😉

Choosing the right prize is your main guard against attracting opportunists who will drag. you.. down, man. You may have fewer entrants, but in the long run, you’ll be far better off with 100 new potential customers, than 1,000 scavengers.

Prizes can be awarded for participation in a fan vote campaign in a myriad of different ways, the simplest- a random draw.  Just export your participants, use your own random method, and say thank you with a gift.  Or, conduct a random draw amongst those who choose the product / service / older model / band… whatever, that receives the most votes or will become your next offer.  The best model may be a mix of these two- a random draw amongst all participants along with a grand prize random draw for a participant who voted for the top choice.

A great use of a fan votes campaign is to determine who will win a prize.  Have you recently run a photo contest?  Why not double the ante by allowing your fans to choose their favorite amongst the top ten scorers?  If you’re looking to boost your brand’s image, why not make it charitable? One of our favorite clients runs a campaign each month asking their fans to choose the charity which will receive a monthly donation. My local credit union recently ran an in-store promotion encouraging customers to choose amongst 7 customers who were in need of a charitable donation.  Spoiler alert: they all received donations! But, the community spirit, interactions and engagement within the bank were amazing.  Imagine those interactions and engagement on your Facebook page!

Thy sky is the limit, so be as creative as you want to be.  The rules you draft and display during your campaign will determine how winners are chosen.

example sofitel

A luxury hotel conducts a Fan Vote campaign encouraging participants to select the grand prize winner of their previous photo contest.


  • Avoid fraud

Fan vote campaigns are among the few that are intrinsically fraud proof, even when prizes are involved.  Professional cheaters and scammers (yes, they’re out there, day in and day out, in their underwear, just trying to scam online promotions) hate them, and usually move on to more attractive campaigns such as sweepstakes or photo contests.  Most app vendors, like Agorapulse, will only allow one vote per participant for each campaign.  Still, here are a few tips on how to keep an eye on your campaign:

Make sure the app you choose allows you to identify participants and voters by IP address. If you spot numerous participations coming from the same IP address, you’ve probably spotted the use of fake Facebook accounts, and a participant who is scamming your contest.

Make sure the app you choose can makes it easy to ban the users you have identified as cheating. Once fraud is discovered, you want the concerned participants removed in one click.

Display clear rules which state cheating behaviors will lead to exclusion.   Rules determine how winners are chosen, and how users may be disqualified.  If you have to ban users, your rules for participation will clearly explain why you’ve taken this action.

suspicious users detection

Make sure your app provider offers fraud protection which gives you easy and efficient controls.


  • Triple check your calls to action

Be clear and make your visuals idiot proof regarding what you want your fans to do.  Tell them to like your page and show them where to click.  If filling a form is required to enter, let them know that is the case, and use visuals as much as possible.  Most people don’t read text or instructions on the web.

Bad call to action

if you want your fans to like your page to enter, it is better to direct their attention to the like button they will need to click. In this example, the call to action may not be simple enough to be idiot proof…

visual call to action

Highly visual calls to action are always a good idea.

  • Don’t forget mobile users!

There are 1.1 billion active users on Facebook, and 750 million active users on mobile. That’s almost 70%!

If you think mobile users will only check their friend’s stories and never use your Facebook app, think again.  Based on our internal data, 40% of fans who are offered the chance to enter your competition from their mobile device do so!

Would you close the door to 40% of your fans and prospects?

Almost 33% of this campaign’s 26,000 participants were on a mobile device when they entered.

One of our clients’ Facebook campaigns. Almost 33% of the 26,000 participants were on a mobile device when they entered.

Here’s the deal- the standard link to your campaign tab will not work.  Zuck Dawg hasn’t built Facebook tabs for mobile yet, and possibly never will (you’d have to have really super small thumbs to click on the right one anyway 😉 so, make sure your app is optimized for mobile access. App vendors, like Agorapulse, will provide you with a specific link, which detects the type of device your participants are using and optimize the format for their screen.

  • Promoting your Fan Vote campaign, Facebook ads or organic communication?

As a general rule, we don’t recommend investing in Facebook ads to recruit new fans. Even though they offer pretty good targeting options, your Facebook ads may generate new fans who are more interested in your prizes than your brand, product or services.  They’re just not that into you.

You can get rid of unwanted traffic to your website without leaving a damaging trace. But you can’t get rid of fans- they’re here to stay, unless they choose to leave. So, if a bulk of your page’s fans aren’t genuine lovers, they will probably hide your posts and never engage with you, bringing down your edgerank score.  Thus, your ability to reach those who truly love you will diminish.  That’s a pickle!

As a top-notch marketer, your goal is not to recruit more fans, but to recruit the right ones- those highly valuable fans you can build a productive relationship with.  The best way to do that is to leverage the communication channels you already own, like your email list, your website traffic or your point of sale.

Your best leverage for bringing the right new fans into your social fold is your current customer base.  These excited customers who are already trafficking your website, reading your emails or visiting your stores are probably waiting to tell the world about you!  Make sure your Facebook app provider offers an embed feature to reach them were they are.  Your website traffic can like your page, vote, and give you their email address or other valuable information without ever having to leave your site.

facebook application

Agorapulse offers an option that allows you to embed your Facebook contest right within your blog or website. A convenient way to leverage your existing web traffic and boost participation in your Facebook Instant Win.

Make sure your app is accessible via mobile, as more and more users are now checking their emails from their mobile devices.  If you’re a brick and mortar retailer, make sure you have a QR code (or short URLs) signage at the point of sale to convert these “real” visitors into fans.

This is the rollup we use on our booth when we sponsor events. Visitors are prompted to scan the QR code to install our Facebook app. This tactic converts a significant number of booth visitors into leads. You could use the same tactic to invite people to participate to Instant Win directly in your store.

This is the rollup we use on our booth when we sponsor events. Visitors are prompted to scan the QR code to install our Facebook app. This tactic converts a significant number of booth visitors into leads. You could use the same tactic to invite people to participate to Instant Win directly in your store.

Sometimes, investing a little in Facebook ads to increase the number of qualified fans can be a legitimate expense, but we recommend leveraging your own communication channels over paid ones first.  With Agorapulse’s mobile optimization and website embed options you can easily get new fans directly from your point of sale, your website, blog traffic or email list without spending a dime!



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.