If you are gonna do it, do it right

Facebook Like by Owen W Brown

Facebook Like by Owen W Brown

Guest post by Marta Cowburn Cuesta (@MCC_SilverDoor), PR & Marketing Support, SilverDoor.

Facebook contests enable businesses to boost fan engagement, create new leads and collect copious amounts of market feedback. B2C companies have always used them to increase their viral marketing but is this tactic suitable for B2B firms? Here are a few guidelines that we like to follow to create a successful B2B Facebook contest.

Choose the right prizes

One of the mistakes that B2B companies are more likely to make is choosing the wrong prize. Gadgets like iPads or eReaders are very popular in Facebook contests but are better suited to B2C companies. They aren’t ideal for B2B firms because even if the prizes attract new fans, they might not engage with you, share messages or become a customer because the prizes aren’t relevant to your sector. Play it right by focusing on your target market and current fans rather than increasing the numbers of Likes. Entice them with something they’d like to receive from your company. Quality is better than quantity.

A good example is Cisco’s 2011 ‘Where in the World Do You Take Cisco?’ social media campaign, which was a major success. On their Facebook page, they posted a link to one of their blogs; this in turn linked to a Flickr account where contestants could upload a photo of themselves somewhere in the world with an object that had the Cisco logo on it. The campaign cost next to nothing and the winners didn’t receive any material prizes, just numerous mentions through Cisco’s social media platforms, lots of thanks and exposure throughout other Cisco networks.

Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)

Contestants are attracted to competitions that are easy and quick to enter. They will exit your page the moment they realise the task is time consuming, so you should make it worthwhile and interesting and ensure that the inputting of personal data takes no more than two minutes (remember the golden rule of communications: keep it simple, stupid). Sweepstakes and ‘choose your favourite’ – style contests are easy ways to achieve this. A photo-sharing programme like Cisco’s is quick to join and user generated content aids search engine optimization and link building.

Keep personal data to a minimum

Email addresses are great for direct communication in the future, but contestants may be reluctant to enter their personal data. State in the rules that by entering their address they have agreed to receive messages from you and mention how frequently these messages will be sent. Most importantly, give them the option to opt out of receiving emails. This will create a much more positive reaction and make them more forthcoming when faced with the “input data” option. If possible, email the contestants who haven’t won any prizes and offer them something for free. Content marketing is great for these situations and any branded, unused merchandise that you have will become useful.

Use Facebook ads

Bring your ideal customers to your contest using Facebook ads. There are two ways you can do this, depending on the number of fans you have on the platform. If you have over 500 fans, promoted posts can be an inexpensive way to reach as many of them and their friends as possible. Having few fans doesn’t have to be a negative; it means you can have more control over who sees your ads, and Facebook’s traditional ads or sponsored stories are the ideal medium for this. They give you a great opportunity to focus more on the demographics you’re targeting.

Keep within the guidelines

Last but not least, always stay within Facebook’s promotion guidelines. Contests must not take place on the wall of your fan pages but this gives you a great opportunity to drive traffic to your website or app through links posted on your Facebook wall. In-bound links mean better search engine rankings which in turn will generate traffic to your website.

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