Successful Facebook competition strategy

Facebook contests are now as common as any competition or give-away. From high-value holidays, cars and cash prizes, to more modest cinema tickets, haircuts and ice cream, businesses of all types are harnessing the potential…

Facebook competition strategy

Facebook contests are now as common as any competition or give-away. From high-value holidays, cars and cash prizes, to more modest cinema tickets, haircuts and ice cream, businesses of all types are harnessing the potential of Facebook competitions for their brands.

We work with many start-ups and SMEs and help them establish a social media presence. Facebook giveaways are a great way of doing this and are as relevant and available to smaller businesses as they are to large organisations. Lower budgets doesn’t mean lower engagement, it just means a different strategy should be applied. If done correctly, Facebook competitions can have a huge impact. What is important is understanding the effectiveness of a contest before you start it, and that applies to the marketer (us) and the customer (you).

The popularity of a social media competition doesn’t have to rely on the RRP of the prize; it’s the perceived value your audience places on the giveaway that is important. It’s subjective but understanding your audience; their behaviour, what makes them tick and what they consider a valuable prize, is key. This is why Facebook competitions can, and do, work so well for SMEs and local businesses, not just big national or global brands. Tap into the psyche of your followers and you’re on to long-term social media success!

The likelihood of winning is a big pulling factor for entrants. For example, if there’s a competition by a popular reality TV show, or prime-time morning chat show, you may believe tens of thousands of people will enter and your chances of winning are slim. For an SME or local business with a much smaller audience, potential entrants may consider the odds to be more in their favour and be more likely to enter. Competitions with multiple winners will also drive higher engagement; 10x pairs of tickets, 100x bottles of beer, 1000x mobile phone cases etc.

A major element in the success of any contest, online or otherwise, is how easy it is to enter. Simple ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Facebook competitions are by far the most successful. Minimal effort on the entrants’ part, but maximum exposure for your business in terms of Facebook reach and impressions.

Whilst the internet and social media are powerful and mostly positive tools, an appreciation of their limitations is needed. Fake accounts, scammers and hackers pose an ever-present online threat, and can drive scepticism, particularly in relation to competitions and giveaways. Proving the credibility of your contest is another vital factor for would-be entrants. A photograph of the prize taken at your premises, with a recognisable staff member or something associated with your business is advisable. If the prize is external from your business, i.e. 2x tickets for a gig, a mention of the competition by the artist or venue on their official social account will boost reassurance and your entry numbers.

A recent example of a successful competition we ran was for a local Indian restaurant based in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester. To promote the launch of their new Sunday afternoon and mid-week tea-time buffets, they gave away a buffet for 2 every day for a week in the run-up to the launch. All entrants had to do was ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ the post to be in with a chance of winning. Buffets are priced at £10 per head on a Sunday and £8 on a week night. In the grand scheme of things, it was a low value prize, but their loyal Facebook followers (currently at 6,705 – no mean feat for an independent, stand-alone local restaurant) went crazy for it! Within a few hours of the competition going live on the Indian Ocean Restaurant Facebook page there had been over 200 entries. We announced a new winner every day at 12pm, and posted regular updates, encouraging more entries. By the end of the week, and the competition, there had been 311 Likes and 361 Shares which generated a reach of 12,673. Again, not bad for a local independent restaurant.

The competition had all the attributes described above; high perceived prize value, high likelihood of winning, easy to enter and credibility. These qualities are easier to achieve for local businesses with an organic fan-base of real, loyal followers who they have already have a relationship with, as in this case.

If you are interested in learning more about running social media competitions and campaigns please get in touch with our social media experts. We handle accounts for large organisations, SMEs and start-ups and can help build, engage and excite your audience with a well-planned and well-executed social media strategy. Please call 0161 236 3939 or email

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