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At the beginning of every month, I check HubSpot’s social media calendar to see if there are any interesting holidays coming up that I can use in my digital marketing. Everyone in the office appreciated my celebration of National Doughnut Day, and it was a lot of fun getting my coworkers to participate in National Selfie Day.
Tomorrow, June 30, is Social Media Day. I put it on my calendar and started putting some thought into what I could do with it. Finally, I realized this is a perfect opportunity to try out a Facebook contest! I’ve been wanting to try it for a while and never had time to work on it. But by combining it with my weekly blog post, I can kill two birds with one stone.
So for your reference, here’s a step-by-step guide of what I did to prepare for this giveaway—and I’ll update it later to include the results. Let’s get started!
Decide on a Goal
Contests and giveaways are a great way to collect leads or simply to boost awareness. In this case, I decided awareness would be my priority, with a specific goal of increasing Canopy Facebook page likes. It’s on my list to do one for lead generation someday, but I wanted to start with something simple—no forms or landing pages to prepare, just a nice, clean Facebook giveaway.
Decide on a Prize
I have to admit, I puzzled over this for a bit. Your prize needs to be something that people want—and if it’s relevant to your business, all the better! Unfortunately, I can’t give away free services (I’m sorry, I tried) and we already offer free consultations, so I went with the next best thing: cupcakes! Who doesn’t love cupcakes?
I contacted JoZettie’s Cupcakes to ask about getting a dozen for my giveaway, and they were incredibly helpful. I definitely recommend giving them a try if you’re in the area. (Photo from their Facebook page.)
Decide on Rules of Entry
Since my goal was to promote the brand, I knew entry didn’t need to be complicated. A quick check of Facebook page rules reminded me of what I could and couldn’t do—for instance, it’s against their policy to ask people to tag friends or require them to share your post on their own timeline to enter.
With this as a starting point, I decided to ask people to comment with their favorite cupcake flavor and like the Canopy page in order to enter. It’s topical and a little friendlier than just asking for a post like. I wanted to see some engagement!
I also limited entry to those in the Montgomery area, since shipping cupcakes might get a little messy.
Decide How to Promote
It’s a good idea to cross-promote a contest or giveaway across all social media channels you use. At Canopy, I mainly utilize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Originally, I ruled out cross-promoting on those platforms because the majority of our followers there are not local. But after giving it some additional thought, I decided it couldn’t hurt to include them—I could use location specific hashtags to narrow the audience, and I knew the Facebook post would specify that the winner had to be local to Montgomery.
Create the Assets
Here’s where it gets fun! There’s an app I’ve seen advertised on Facebook called Ripl. It takes still images and text and adds animation to make short videos—and you know how effective video marketing is.
I found myself a nice stock photo of a cupcake, installed the app, and started experimenting. Ripl provides some nice free templates to work from, plus a handful of fonts and audio tracks. You can also customize your colors inside the template you choose.
In order to get the full experience, I went ahead and subscribed to the Pro version, which unlocks a bunch of additional templates, fonts, and audio. It also allows you to replace their watermark with your own logo, or leave it out entirely. At $10 per month, I’m not sure I’m going to keep it, but it was nice to have.
After an hour or so, I was finally happy with my results and saved my video. You can upload directly to social media from the app, or if you spend the money for Ripl Pro, you have the option of saving it to your phone. Which I did, because I wasn’t ready to post yet.
Post the Contest and All Applicable Info
Wednesday afternoon, I created the contest post on Facebook, including my new Ripl video, the contest rules, and the disclaimers. I also put the video on Instagram and a similar graphic on Twitter, directing anyone who wants to enter to Canopy’s Facebook page. For good measure, I boosted the post, as well.
Choose a Winner
As I covered in my earlier post on running Facebook contests, there are several options for randomly choosing a winner. I chose to sign up for a free Woobox account, which offers a very helpful pick-a-winner function.
Once you’ve connected it to your Facebook account and page, you can navigate to the Posts tab and see a list of your recent posts, each of which has a “Pick a Winner” button next to it. Click that, and then you can specify whether the winner needs to have only reacted to the post or commented on it. You can further specify that users only get one entry, even if they commented more than once. And then, done!
The winner is selected, and you can go about contacting them to collect their prize.
(Updated July 5, 2017)
As it turned out, I improvised a little when it came time to choose a winner because there were really only a handful of people who followed the rules exactly: specifically, just four who both liked the Canopy page and commented on the post with their favorite cupcake flavor. Other commenters were ineligible, either for being WCOV/Canopy employees (which is wonderful, I was glad for their input!) or because the commenter didn’t also like the Facebook page as instructed.
So instead of using the Woobox pick-a-winner feature, I took the names of the four eligible contestants, assigned them a number according to who posted first, and then used Random.org to roll a die for the winner. Then, since there an additional 11 people who liked or commented on the post (but not the page), I wrote their names down in the order in which Facebook displayed them and used this Random Name Picker to choose a runner-up.
That wasn’t the original plan, but I didn’t want to rule out a bunch of people who were interested but didn’t get it quite right. The first winner is getting a dozen jumbo cupcakes; the second is getting a dozen regular.
All in all, this was a pretty painless process. Over this two-day period, our page likes increased by 5.6%, which is less than I hoped for, but not bad for a first try. The results improve when you take into account the promoting I did for National Selfie Day—together, they increased our page likes by 15.4% in 14 days.
In addition, the organic reach of this one post reached 540. Taking a quick average of our previous 10 (non-contest-related) posts showed that we usually only see around 45. That’s an incredible 1,200% increase in reach.
When I do my next giveaway, assuming it's for the purpose of gaining awareness and engagement again, I’ll make one small change to the entry rules. Instead of requiring a comment and a page like to enter, I’ll give one entry per comment, page like, and post like, limiting it to one of each. That way no one will accidentally be ruled out for doing one thing and not the other.
What have you learned from running social media contests in the past? Let me know in the comments!
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.