Checklist For Running A Successful Facebook Contest

A 7 point checklist for running a successful Facebook contest.

FB contest checklist

Facebook contest guidelines

I may not be aware of all the back and forth that happens between the client and agency before, during and after a campaign, but what I do know is that I am a consumer at the end of the day and as a consumer what does not appeal to me will not appeal to the community too. And ultimately, it is the brand who suffers.

Having reviewed Facebook contests for a while now, I’ve come across some perfectly designed contests  along with some not so perfect ones and some which are absolutely clueless about their existence. Here’s a basic checklist derived from my reviews, which might be good to refer to when conceiving a Facebook campaign:

1. Is my campaign aligned with my objective?

Time and again, I come across campaigns that do not seem to add any value to the brand at the end of the day. If you wish to achieve a million fans on Facebook, so be it, but the million fans need to resonate with your brand and thus your campaign.

Besides, a ‘like’ campaign is worth it only if you follow it up with relevant engagement, otherwise it leaves you with an inflated set of fans who might eventually ‘unlike’ you. If you are promoting your latest product, then make sure to share relevant links about it or incorporate its features within your campaign.

Recently, Nokia India had launched the ‘One Minute Songstar’ contest on Facebook  to highlight the one minute download feature in the new Nokia Asha 305. The campaign is a brilliant one as it is perfectly aligned with the brand message.

If it is brand re-positioning that you seek, then design your campaign around the new message with the maximum visibility possible. A crowdsourced venture can bring great results here. When Nerolac Paints wanted a new ad jingle to introduce its new environment-friendly paints  that resonates with the younger consumer who is environmentally conscious, it held a crowdsourced contest on Facebook ‘Kuch change karein, Chalo tune badlein!

2. Have I read through the Facebook guidelines?

One cannot afford to overlook Facebook guidelines which clearly state principles for creating a great user experience and being trustworthy. The Facebook timeline is for a specific purpose and brands need to respect that. Here are some basic pointers to take care of, so that Facebook does not disable or remove your page.

a) Ensure that you do not run a contest on the wall – You cannot run contests on the wall. All contests must be hosted on a Facebook application or a canvas page. Facebook has removed pages in the past for not complying with this policy. The Cadbury Bournville Facebook promotions for the Dark Knight Rises saw a number of contests being run on the wall, which is blatant disregard of the Facebook guidelines.

b) Ensure that you announce winners on the app – As per Facebook, you cannot notify contest winners through Facebook messages, chat, timeline or Pages. So you are left with the contest app to notify the winners. A good idea would be to use this opportunity to your advantage – announce the contest winners on your blog or site, thus generating traffic for them!

c) Use the ‘like’ button wisely – As per Facebook guidelines, the ‘like’ button can be used to reward users provided the incentive is open to all new and existing users who like your page. Included here are the common ways of rewarding for ‘likes: (i) offer coupons or discounts, (ii) give access to exclusive content, (iii) grant eligibility to enter a contest, and (iv) make a charitable donation based on number of Page likes.

All other marketing gimmicks with the ‘like’ button are strictly dealt with.

d) Ensure your app requests for permission – If you are hosting the contest on an application, then do ensure that your app asks for required permissions. As per Facebook analyses, fans tend to move away if you have more than 3 permissions.  Also, it is not good to force entry into an application only upon a user selecting ‘allow’ for all requested permissions.

As a best practice, you should request for permission only at the times it is required. For instance, when the user wishes to share the contest score on her Timeline and so clicks the ‘Share’ button on your app, you can request for permission to post on her wall.

e) Ensure that you show the content before posting on the user’s behalf – Now that the user has granted you publishing permission, don’t surprise her! Every action that you take on her behalf must be expected by her and also consistent with her actions. For instance, if she wants to share her score, then show the content that you will be posting on her behalf, for her to then choose whether she wants to post it or not.

f) Create the Terms & Conditions for the contest – Any contest or promotion that you run needs to have a Terms & Conditions page mentioning the eligibility criteria, mode of judgement, contest dates, etc. Also, the T&C document should be easily locatable on the app and if you cannot have it in the app, then create it in Facebook Notes and provide the link.

In addition, Facebook requires: (i) a disclosure that all information provided by the participant is going to your company and not to Facebook, (ii) an acknowledgement that the contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

It was a struggle searching for the T&Cs in the Renault Duster campaign.

3. Am I offering relevant prizes for participation?

The incentive provided to the fan for participating in your contest must be in keeping with your campaign objective and also a gratifying experience for the fan. Fans would always be delighted to receive a small gift as a token of appreciation. In the recent blogging contest, MelbourneNOW, every blogger who participated was promised a limited-edition Melbourne pen drive.

If you are celebrating the million ‘likes’ milestone, make it grand for your fans so that they feel well appreciated. iPads, Kindles or dates with celebrities are cool prizes but it makes more business sense to offer your own product.

If it is for promoting a product then give it away as the grand prize, which is going to be really painful if it’s the new Audi! But the point is to offer something as spectacular as your product. Tata Nano had partnered with MTV for India’s first social road trip ‘Drive with MTV’ and gave away the Nano to the winning team.

4. Have I listed the steps to participate?

Often I’m at sea as to how to participate in a particular contest. This could be easily avoided if one creates a set of instructions or steps to participate. In the recent campaign by NDTV Good Times TV show ‘Swiss made dreams’, I was absolutely confused about the method of participation, since the ‘instructions’ tab was missing.

A good idea is to list out all the action steps required by the fan and not expect her to guess it!

5. Am I using the Facebook ‘virality’ options?

Facebook is primarily a network for family and friends of the user. Brands come in much later. So when you run an exciting contest on Facebook, you could do yourself a world of good by incorporating the ‘Sharing’ features like ‘Facebook Share’ and ‘Facebook Invite’. This is a small but significant feature that is often ignored by campaign makers, but if implemented can help spread the word in the community.

6. Have I debugged the contest app?

The last thing a user on Facebook wants is non-working apps. Test the functionality before deployment and also during the contest.  Please check that users cannot submit blank entries, blank images or videos and display your ‘Thank You’ message only after all the required entries are taken. One smart way to do this is to disable the ‘Submit’ button till all the fields are filled.

The ‘Screamville’ campaign by Jabong invited fans to scream and win a stylish makeover on a TV show for the highest voted scream. A fantastic incentive for a style-conscious fan but the webcam did not load!

Sometimes, big contests get hijacked by miscreants midway through the campaign duration and the Leaderboard starts to look fishy.  Imagine how horrifying would it be if the contest were to award points for every friend invited and the ‘invite friends’ option does not function!

A good practice is to communicate, resolve and clarify the next steps even it is an unfortunate thing to happen to you. Remember that giving away a super grand prize cannot save your brand from a super frustrating user experience.

7. Am I moderating the entries and taking care of Copyright laws?

Most campaigns revolve around fans getting creative be it story-writing or photography contests.  Now you don’t want racially discriminative or even stolen content to become a part of your digital property, hence it is necessary to have strict moderation and copyright laws included in your TC sheet. The Vicks India Cheer for Champions contest where fans had to record their cheer for the Indian cricket team was well moderated.

Hope this 7 point checklist for running a successful Facebook contest helps you. Do let us know if you have more to add to the checklist.

Slider image courtesy: Kjtire.com