Top 5 Benefits of a Facebook Sweepstakes or Contest

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Lately we have been asked to help set up and manage Facebook sweepstakes. Our clients are putting in a lot of time and money into social media and they want to see their efforts produce results. Facebook contests and sweepstakes are a great promotional tactic that helps engage and increase fans.

Benefits of a Facebook Sweepstake or Contest

  1. Likes – Yes, the almighty top-level metric and warm blanket of congeniality for brands. A sweepstake or promotion will attract more of your target market to “Like” your page. You can offer the sweepstakes or contests to all current fans and new fans must “Like” your page to enter. The goal here is that once they “Like” you, your posts will appear in their news feeds. This offers a chance for re-engagement with your brand during and after the promotion.
  2. Emails – You can get richer profile information on your fans by asking for email, date of birth, gender, address, zip code, mobile phone or other information as part of the entry form. This is also an opportunity to ask research or poll questions.
  3. Engagement – All brands want customers speaking positively about them and to them. Watching metrics like post consumption, link clicks and positive feedback will allow you to measure how well you’re doing in this area. By increasing engagement, you’ll also push your page updates to more fans, increase awareness, and rank higher in graph search (Facebook’s search engine).
  4. User-Generated Content – A photo, video or story contest will produce valuable content created by fans. This is the kind of content that fans love to share with their friends. They are proud of their pictures and stories and want to tell their friends about them. In return, your brand reaches new audiences through loyal fan ambassadors.
  5. Market Research – We recently asked Pet Supermarket fans to “Tell Us What You Love About Your Pet” as the sweepstakes entry. The answers were moving, funny, sometimes sad, but mostly endearing. People love their pets and love talking about them. The most interesting result was that this promotion helped us better understand Pet Supermarket customers and hear their feelings behind their relationships with their pets. These sentiments can be used later to refine the way Pet Supermarket presents its messages to customers. Think of entries as valuable market intelligence and potential ads for your brand written by customers.

No Goals, No Glory

Before you start, set your goals. How do you know you had a successful Facebook sweepstakes if you don’t know the end goal? Goals will also help you plan your sweepstakes and determine how big the prize (incentive) and promotional effort should be. Goals can include:

  1. Increase in total Likes by X% of current fans
  2. Increase in new emails by X% of current database
  3. Increase engagement or awareness

Types of Facebook Promotions

Sweepstakes – The simplest and most popular, this type of promotion collects all eligible entries and selects a winner(s) randomly. Sweepstakes usually get the most participants because they are easy to enter. Just fill out the entry form and you’re in. If gaining “Likes” or increasing your email database is the objective, sweeps are a good choice.

Contests – These require that participants present some skill within the required contest guidelines. Participants compete against each other and/or within a judging criteria. For example, a simple contest can ask participants to add a photo caption to a photo you provide or it can ask entrants to show the best picture of a sunset. The barrier to entry is higher than a sweepstakes (make sure you have a good number of fans before starting), but engagement is also higher if that’s your goal. In a contest, you’ll also need to decide how you’ll choose the winner. This article on judging and choosing a winner will help.

If you’re going to set up a Facebook promotion, give the new Facebook guidelines a look to ensure you’re compliant with their rules. If you need any help, let us know.

How to Judge a Contest: Guide, Shortcuts and Examples

How to Judge a Contest

What is a Contest?

A contest is an activity where skill is needed to win. Unlike a Sweepstakes where a random draw identifies the winner, in a contest the participants has to take an action that requires some degree of skill. That degree of skill depends on what the promotion or event is asking the participant to do. For example; in an essay where participants enter and compete by submitting original writing.

The Judging Criteria

Contests also have an element of competition that requires the Sponsor or agency to set clear contest judging criteria so participants know how their entries will be judged. This criteria will also tell the judging body what to look for and how to assign value or rank entries. As a marketer, you can save yourself a lot of potential trouble, and complaints, if your judging criteria is clear to all participants and judges. For example: “Essay Submissions must be in English, comply with Official Rules, meet all requirements called for on the Contest Website and be original work not exceeding 1,000 characters in length.”

The “How-To” Guide for Judging

In a contest, the judging criteria is an attempt to focus the participants, as well as the judges, on the expected outcome of the entry. Properly designed judging criteria aims to minimize the judges unconscious biases and focus their attention on the qualities that are going to be weighed and assigned a value or score. For example, a judging criteria score sheet may rank values as “33.3% for creativity, 33.3% for originality; and 33.3% for adherence to topic.”

Judges (ideally more than one) should be experts or have some degree of expertise in what they are judging. This is not a requirement, but it helps the Sponsor or contest administrator select the winner. The contestants also gain a sense of fair play when they see the winner was chosen by experts.

How to Pick Judges for the Contest

If you can’t find expert judges, then individuals or a group with a clear understanding of the judging criteria and no conflicts of interest or bias could serve as judges. Beyond the judging criteria, the judges should have seen enough examples of the work being judged to determine what is considered poor, average and exceptional within the criteria.

Judges Goals

Ultimately, judges aim to assign a total value or points to each entry and select the winner based on total amount of points earned.

Judging Shortcut

A shortcut to judging large numbers of entries is to use social media networks to judge on your behalf up to a certain degree. For example, you can run your contest on Facebook and have the fans vote for the top five entries. From there a more formalized judge or contest administrator can select the winner based on the criteria. This can work well, but there are risks associated with fan voting. One of the risks is that participants can simply ask their friends to vote for them regardless of the quality of the work. It undermines the promotional effort when a poor entry gets lots of votes. This is why we don’t recommend that fan votes make the final decision on who wins.

Protect Your Contest With Judging Criteria

Having your judging criteria set will also protect the integrity of the contest and guide judges if there is a tie. A well-articulated judging criteria will explain what to do in the event of a tie. For example; “In the event of a tie for any potential Winning Entry, the score for Creativity/Originality will be used as a tiebreaker.” Or “If there still remains a tie, Sponsor will bring in a tie-breaking Judge to apply the same Judging Criteria to determine the winner.”

Bottom Line: Contests are a Great Marketing Tool

Contests are worth the effort and repay the sponsor handsomely. They’re fun and generate a lot of buzz, awareness and potential sales for the sponsor. Just make sure your judging criteria are set in place.  If you need any help with your contest let us know at support@sweeppea.com.

Want to build a sweepstakes by text? See our features and pricing.

How to Choose the Right Sweepstakes Prize

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Offering a prize that resonates with your target audience is key in attracting future customers. We like to say that, whenever possible, your prize should be your product or service. If you’re a pet product retailer, giving away a year’s worth of free pet food is a good idea as it’s something your customers would want.

But if giving away your product or service is not possible or simply not very exciting (like free tax return services or a year’s worth of car insurance) this is when you need to get creative about your prize.

Yes, you can always give away cash or a gift card, but the idea is to tie your business to a prize that is attractive to your customers.

You want to be speaking to your customers even if it’s through a third-party brand.

Here’s what I mean… let’s say you own a chain of ski rental shops. Your business is renting skis, not selling. Awarding $1,000 worth of ski gear may be out of the question, plus it does not fit your business model. Not a good mix.

What you know is that your customers are skiers and visit ski resorts and facilities.

One prize that would work very well would be an all-expenses paid ski trip to the Four Seasons Resort in Vail, Colorado, with rental ski gear provided by your business.

You get to speak to skiers, your prospective customers, by offering them something they would love to win. It’s also a way to tie your brand to a bigger brand (Vail, Colorado and the Four Seasons) or a brand that reaches new customers for you.

Think of Regal Cinemas partnering with Pepsi to offer a trip to the Oscars. Regal Cinemas is piggybacking on the Pepsi brand and the Oscars event to elevate their brand and attract new customers. And you can do the same, no matter what niche you’re in.

How to Pick The Perfect Sweepstakes Prize? Answer the following questions…

  1. What market is my business in? (Sports retail, pet products, insurance, car rental, etc…)
  2. What does our ideal customer look like? Gender? Age? Marital Status? Geographic location? Income level?
  3. What’s your budget for the prize?
  4. What is the prize you will give away? How many?
  5. Is the prize something that people will get excited about? Not just want, they have to desire it!
  6. Does this prize resonate with your target audience?

Here’s an example:

Market: Fashion
Ideal customer: Female, ages 21-35, single or married, income level of $45,000+
Budget: $4,000
Winners: 1
Prize: $4,000 Shopping Spree
Is prize exiting to your prospective customers? Yes
Is the prize relevant to your business? Yes

Think creatively when selecting a prize. If you are an action sports retailer, a professional photography session of the winner and friends surfing your local break would be a great prize. If you sell Ford cars, a trip to meet the 2015 Ford Mustang Master Sculptor Kevin Goff at the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center sounds awesome. Both prizes tie well into and enhance the brand. The right prize is key to designing a successful sweepstakes and is also fundamental to reaching new customers and elevating your brand.

Comments? Tell me on Facebook, Twitter or email me at marcos@momares.com.

3 Good Reasons Why QR Codes For Sweepstakes Entry Are a Bad Idea

Instead of making the process of entering a sweepstakes easier and faster, QR codes make the process of getting to the sweepstakes entry form cumbersome.

  1. Participants needs to understand what to do with the QR code. Does your target understand what the pixel black squares are  for?
  2. Participants needs a QR a code app to read the QR. Do they have a smartphone? Doe sit have a QR code reader app? Do they have to download a QR code reader app?
  3. It takes 3 additional steps to get to the sweepstakes entry from a QR code. 1. Launch QR app. 2. Scan QR code and 3. Go to the destination website.

You are better off just printing your sweepstakes entry page URL or simply asking participants to send a text message  to enter the mobile sweepstakes. Ex. Text BRAND to 65047 to enter.

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The Anatomy of a Mobile Sweepstakes Campaign

Sweepstakes, contests and giveaways used to be reserved for Fortune 500 companies. That’s because companies needed large budgets to advertise the sweepstakes, hire a fulfillment house to deal with thousands of paper entries and organize participant entry information. It was a labor intensive process.

Those days are quickly passing. With a mobile phone in everyone’s hand, a participant can simply text to enter an SMS sweepstakes (Text KEYS to 65047 to enter now!) or complete a mobile entry form from the comfort of their smartphone (www.floridakeyswin.com). This makes the creation, management and prize giving of a sweepstakes far more cost-effective than ever before.

Sweepstakes (where random winners are drawn) and contests (where a skill is needed to win) are tried and proven marketing tactics that work. In the U.S., some early examples of its use date back to 1941 with the Parkway Margarine “Free Food” Contest. Today, sweepstakes and contests are everywhere, including ongoing programs, such as McDonald’s® Monopoly Instant Win Games, Coke ™ Rewards Sweepstakes and of course Publisher’s Clearing House. They work and work very well, offering many advantages to marketers.

The benefits of mobile sweepstakes and contest marketing:

  • Buzz: sweepstakes create tremendous word of mouth. The Florida Keys “Win a Florida Keys Vacation and Experience Key West BrewFest” sweepstakes (above) generated a huge reaction in social media and on blogs, sweepstakes sites and elsewhere. In the first 3 hours alone, it received more than 1,000 visitors and nearly 400 “likes” and 600 “shares” on the Florida Keys Facebook fan page.
  • Increase Your Email and Mobile Database: Sweepstakes and contests usually ask for name, email and address. Mobile sweepstakes take it a step further by gathering the mobile number as well. This increases the email and mobile marketing database tremendously and allows marketers to contact subscribers via text message and email after the sweepstakes is over.
  • High Return on Investment (ROI): The cost of setting up a mobile sweepstakes is far lower than the cost involved in traditional “paper entry” sweepstakes. The mobile entry component makes it very easy for the participant to enter. No forms to fill or staff needed to gather them. Mobile text-in entry increases the number of participants substantially. And the more participants you have, the lower the cost per entry. The ROI can be calculated by total entries or total qualified leads generated. ROI can be taken a step further by factoring in social media reach and new website visitors.

The Main Elements of a Mobile Sweepstakes

Goal: The objective of the sweepstakes needs to be clarified and kept top of mind in all activities. If it’s lead generation, the participants should be pre-qualified upon entry to facilitate the sales follow-up efforts. If it’s for branding, then promotion and related marketing and social networks should be leveraged as much as possible. If market research is a priority, then a survey can be included as part of the entry process. A marketer should plan beforehand what he will do with the data once it’s collected and how that data will turn into actionable analysis and a marketing asset.

Privacy: A lot of personally identifiable data is collected upon entry, especially when participants enter from their mobile phones. Marketers need to have and adhere to a solid privacy policy and a strong data management platform to protect the participant’s data. And always offer a way to opt-out and completely eliminate that participant’s personal information from the database.

Prize: Bigger isn’t always better. It’s crucial to pick the right prize– a prize that appeals to the target audience your product or service is trying to reach. Are you a college targeting high school students? A cruise trip for two to Alaska may not be the best option for high school students, but a new iPad mini will be.

Legal “Official Rules”: Because of their potential for abuse, sweepstakes are heavily regulated. In the U.S. all states have laws covering sweepstakes, sometimes resulting in exceptions, depending on where the entrant lives. Sweepstakes and contests are also regulated by U.S. Federal Trade Commission on a national level. Age requirements, date of birth, state of residency and the monetary value of the prize all affect how sweepstakes’ Official Rules are assembled. The Sweepstakes Official Rules should be reviewed by an attorney specializing in promotion marketing laws.

Mobile Partner: Whether you are an ad agency or a company, picking the right mobile sweepstakes partner is key. The mobile partner should be able to provide you with the services of executing and running a mobile sweepstakes. The mobile partner should also have the technical know-how to put together a text-to-win program and create mobile-optimized entry pages to capture participant’s information. A mobile sweepstakes partner should have the technology platform to provide a short code (text KEYS to 65047, for example), gather a database of mobile entries and provide reports as to the status of the program. They will also provide prize drawing, awarding and fulfillment services. A mobile sweepstakes partner will recommend Official Rules and promote your sweepstakes through their own channels. And when it’s all over, a mobile partner should provide post-sweepstake mobile engagement ideas to continue to drive the goals of the campaign and leverage the database of leads.

Fulfillment: A winner must be picked randomly and the prize awarded with the time limits that were set in the Official Rules. The winner must be contacted and a Declaration of Compliance, Liability and Publicity Release should be received before any prize is delivered. Based on the value of the winnings, a 1099 tax form needs to be sent to the winner as well. Fulfillment it’s a detailed and necessary process to avoid any future legal complications.

If you want to reach your mobile consumer, a mobile sweepstakes is absolutely the best way to do so. It allows the marketer to gather a detailed, permission-based profile of your mobile customer. Above all, it can create a fun, buzz-worthy event to energize current customers and reach new ones.

Comments? Tell me on Facebook, Twitter or email us at support@momares.com.