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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

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The Wrong Ways (and right way) to do Contests or Giveaways on Facebook

Facebook Contest

There's a trend on Facebook that simply won't die. Many dealership pages continue to offer giveaways, contests, and even "exclusive" games on Facebook in order to get more fans. It has been proven over and over again to be ineffective at getting targeted, high-quality fans but there seems to be an insistence on continuing it in order to bulk up the numbers.

The problem with this is that it actually hurts a page more than it helps, especially for localized businesses.

The example above demonstrates a "popular" dealership page that has over 250,000 fans. In 14 hours, it's been able to accumulate three likes and likely a handful of clicks, but the important thing to note is that it leads to an app that forces people to like the page in order to play the game and have a chance to win a million dollars or an iPad Mini. This cannot be stated more clearly - you do not want people to like your page because they think they're going to win something or get to play a game. The people that like the page for these reasons will not be engaged. They're not interested in your content. They aren't there to buy a product. They're on you page to try to win something or to play a game.

It's important to understand what this does to the page. The Facebook algorithm is very picky when it comes to presenting business page Facebook posts on news feeds. Every negative action as well as non-actions count against your posts' likelihood to be seen. It's not just the people who hit "hide" or "report" on your posts. They are bad enough, but the people who simply pass over your posts are also counting against your future posts' abilities to be visible on news feeds. Every time someone sees a post and scrolls right passed it without liking, commenting, clicking through, or sharing the post, they are less likely to see future posts... as are their friends.

The Facebook algorithm is designed to reward authenticity. It's made to allow their users to be presented with the content that they are most likely to enjoy, which means that for a business page to "coax" people into liking their page is a localization disaster.

Posts should be real. They should be designed to encourage engagement and to offer people what they expect to see. If they like a business page because they want to see things that the business knows about (such as information about their business and industry) as well as special deals that can come to them as a result of being a fan, then that's exactly what they should be delivered. It's the type of content that will get them more engaged and help them to spread that engagement to their own friends. Using contests or giveaways to bribe people into liking a page demonstrates an obvious misunderstanding of how the algorithm works and how Facebook itself can be useful for a local business.

There is, however, one type of contest or giveaway that can be effective. It's the type that rewards local people for visiting the business itself. These types of giveaways and contests can be golden. It would take a couple of blog posts to go into details about how these types of contests and giveaways work, but the important thing to remember is that a giveaway or contest should be an incentive for physical visits, not to try to accumulate worthless Facebook fans.

Heather Brautman
Good post. We did this (we're a check verification company) and within one day, had 1,000 new likes. But as you say, they're worthless. People create dummy accounts for FB and simply use them to enter contests. It's basically the same as buying Likes. In fact, shortly after the contest ended, I posted a note on our FB page and asked something like "What else can we do to make your experience better?" I did the answers as multiple choice with one of them being, "I don't care, I only forgot to unlike you after I didn't win the iPad mini." Wouldn't you know it...
JD Rucker
Ouch, Heather! I wish I could say that I never made the mistake, but we did as well. The best teacher is experience.

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