Poor Facebook Contests

Don’t do it, don’t post a poor Facebook Contest!Facebook Content

The quick and easy draw of trying to build fans and followers fast by running a generic high end contest is very tempting. Yes it is great to have a high fan count, but it’s not always about the numbers. There are several businesses that run contests to win a high end electronic item like a smartphone, tablet or MP3 Player in hopes of gaining high numbers of fans quickly….but this can actually work against you in the long run.

Ideally, the goal of building your fans and followers is to help generate quality targeted leads that you can turn into revenue either by the influence of those fans or by direct sales of interested fans. However, trying to build those numbers without a thoughtful strategy could work against your goals and even be a money waster. You are better off building a quality strategy that reaches your target market with the right contest incentive.

What are some key reasons you do not want to run a generic high end item contest?

High number of initial sign-ups / Zero relevant Fans

  • High end items attract large number of leads from everyone and anyone….but is everyone your market? The majority of people that sign up for high end items don’t care about the services or products you offer, only the contest item. In the long run it’s unlikely that you will hear back from the vast majority that sign up let alone consider buying from you. You may even experience a high number of “unliking/unfollowing” your page after the contest. This will lead to a large spike in fan numbers at first…but you will start to  see a decrease after the contest or negative feedback in your metrics in which those same fans are now hiding your updates. This works against you.

Oooo FREE stuff attitude

  • Admit it, we have all done it. We sign up to get free stuff all the time…and what do we do? We get the free item(s) and then ignore who it came from or look for more freebies from them. That’s exactly what happens with running a poor Facebook contest. You will attract fans only looking for a bargain and something free. As history has shown, this will also carry over to them wanting more free stuff from you, including your services. They will expect to haggle your prices, contact you for as much free stuff they can get from you and if not successful will eventually ignore your business when they cannot get any more freebies.

Hit & Run syndrome

  • Remeber…everyone is running these types of contests and everyone is signing up…it’s a hit and run mentality. They signup and move on until they are notified if they are a winner. Very few will stick around and engage with you about your products, updates, helpful tips and so on. In order for your fans and followers to influence their contacts, you want them to stay around and pass along your wonderful and relevant information. Hit and Run signups produce very little engagement.

Low EdgeRanking value

  • Hopefully by now you have learned about Facebook’s EdgeRank, a built in algorithm of determining what accounts will receive higher posting value, similar to Google’s own search engine ranking system. Running a contest that draws in only people interested in signing up for a contest will produce unusually high numbers at first with a sudden crash. EdgeRank monitors this type of metric and will recognize this oddity as a low value of interaction and can even penalize your rankings by determining that this sudden spike is gaming the system.
  • In order to keep your “likes” consistent and demonstrate a pattern to the EdgeRanking system you would need to constantly run those types of contests. Remember, by now the majority of those people signing up are only interested in the high end contest item and that’s all they will be looking for in the future. Once you stop the contest…your non-interactive “likes” and “people reached” numbers will immediately decrease and Facebook will recognize this as an unusual activity giving it low value in ranking.
  • Some accounts have even been shut down, or have received warning notification of high “likes” activity without any valuable interaction. Facebook can limit how you use your page, how you post links on your page and if they feel like it, shut down your page by monitoring your routine activity. Those metrics that feed into the EdgeRank work for both you and Facebook.
  • If you are not using a 3rd party app to run a contest on Facebook you are also at risk of Facebook closing all your accounts, both personal and any Fan pages you administer. Facebook is required by law to abide by the FTC’s (Facebook Promotions) rules on contests and they will not hesitate to shut them down without notifying you first. That’s a guarenteed low EdgeRanking value of a big fat 0!

Wast of time and money

  • After all is said….if you are not attracting the quality of relevant, interactive fans and followers interested in your product and services you have wasted all the time and money invested in this type of a contest campaign. To boot, you may have red flagged your page activities to Facebook via their metrics and negatively affected your EdgeRanking. Consider running a contest that is designed to reach your target audience and build a stronger valuable fanbase interested in interacting with you and influencing others about your services.

So what’s a Fan page to do when it comes to running a contest designed to build fans and followers? There ARE better ways to run a contest on Facebook with a better ROI. As mentioned above, your goal is to grow your numbers as well as interact with your fans. We will cover this topic in our next post on how a targeted contest campaign designed with your business in mind will provide you and your potentially new fans a better experience than something generic as giving away a free iPad or Nook.


Allographics & Design based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, specializes in web, graphic and social media design and consulting. If you would like to learn how we can strengthen your online branding and marketing or to book a workshop to better understand the major social media tools available for your business, contact us for more information.

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