More than a billion people around the world use Facebook, including 13 million South Africans. This makes it an invaluable tool to reach you audience. Of course, everyone else will have the same idea, so you will need to battle through a lot of ‘noise’ to be heard. Promotions like competitions and giveaways can be just the trick to do this.

Getting started

As always, you need to first decide what you want to achieve from your competition. This will influence the type of competition you run, and your choice of prize.

For example, if you want to educate people about your event, you could pose questions about it that need to be answered correctly in order to stand a chance of winning. And a prize of free tickets would ensure you attract the right profile of people to enter.

For more competition ideas, read this.

TOP TIP: Asking people to share photos and engage more heavily can be effective at generating organic traffic to your competition. However keep in mind that the more effort entering takes, the better the prize needs to be.

Understand Facebook’s rules

Facebook has a number of rules around competitions that you need to be aware of. If you fail to comply, you risk having your page deleted.

For example, you CAN ask people to do the following to enter a competition:

  • Like a post
  • Comment on a post
  • Post on a page
  • Message a page
  • Click through to an entry form on your website

However, you CANNOT ask people to enter a competition with any of the following requests:

  • Share a page on their timelines
  • Tag a friend in comment or post
  • Ask to “like and share”
  • Like a page (to automatically enter)
  • Share a page on a friend’s timeline

Other guidelines that need to be adhered to include:

  • Include an acknowledgement in your Terms & Conditions that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • Clearly display the Terms & Conditions. These need to state the prize, closing date and time, if there are any restrictions (e.g. age limit), how the winner is decided and how they will be informed, and if their information will be shared with any third parties.

TOP TIP: Facebook Terms and Conditions are updated regularly, so always check to make sure you are up to date with them.

Designing your posts

Make sure the post copy is short, so it displays in full above the image. Include the conditions for entry and a link to your Terms & Conditions. Make sure all of the relevant information is easy to find and follow.

The majority of Facebook users access it on their phones (56.5%), so always test your posts on a mobile device.

Your image cannot have more than 20% copy on it. You can test this using the Image check overlay.

TOP TIP: Use a hashtag for #WIN and other key words so they turn blue and stand out, and use emojis to also attract the eye. You can also tag other pages with the ‘@’ sign (which creates a hyperlink to that page) if they are relevant to the promotion.

Running the competition

Seven days is the advised length of time to run a competition, with the first 2-3 days attracting the most entries.

Make sure you check your page regularly to answer questions or pick up any problems timeously – and avoid frustrating your customers.

Boosting your post or turning it into an advert are great ways to gain a larger audience and draw in more entries. What makes paid for exposure on Facebook especially appealing is that you can define your audience very specifically, across a multitude of features including job title, interests, where they live and more. Email and mobile databases of existing clients can also be uploaded to Facebook to find matches, to be targeted in this way.


Announcing a winner

Always announce the winner/s publically and shortly after the competition closes. This can be done as a new post, but don’t forget to also comment on the original competition post so everyone who entered on it will definitely see it.

Assess your success

Don’t forget to measure your results against your initial objective, to see how successful you were and what did or didn’t work, so you know for next time. Facebook has great analytics to help you with this.

Good luck!