As a business using social media, Facebook can play an important role.  Two of the biggest reasons to use contests on Facebook are to engage current fans and increase your fan base.

Facebook Contest

Facebook has guidelines for promotions administered on your business page.  A “promotion” is a sweepstakes, contest or competition. In a sweepstakes, a winner is selected by chance and is awarded a prize. In a contest or competition, a winner is determined by skill or through the judging of specific criteria and is awarded a prize.  “Administration” means the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.

  1. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
  2. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
  3.  You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
  4. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

Third party apps are associated with monthly fees.  There are couple free apps but most apps cost a business money.

Social Media Campaigns

Designing campaigns from thinking outside of the box and using a multi-channel approach helped to build a strong brand community without having to spend extra money on third party apps.

Facebook Contest without 3rd Party App

Facebook Contest without 3rd Party App

For one of my clients, Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q, we tried a few different approaches for these unique campaigns.  First, holidays are great to build campaigns around. People like to participate around a theme and holidays are just that, themes.

For Mother’s Day, we designed a Mother’s Day Photo Contest using email, Tumblr and Facebook.  To enter the contest, participants needed to be at a restaurant with their mom and take a photo of her.  Then they were to email the photo or upload it to our special Tumblr site (  5 photos were to be selected from the entries and posted on Facebook for voting.  The photo with the most “likes” by Mother’s Day would win a 20 person party pack (valued at $50).  We made a note that no photos of children under 13 years of age would be posted on Facebook.

Results: We only received 3 “official” entries.  Entry 1 – 4 likes; Entry 2 – 3 likes; Entry 3 – 42 likes plus 3 shares.  New likes to the fan page in May 2012 was 201 and the average daily reach was 1,394 fans.

Lessons learned: be careful with your barrier to entry for any contest and the prize needs to match the level of effort for participants.

Because we asked Moms to come to the restaurant to take a photo, made them go home to upload to our Tumblr site, didn’t allow young children’s photos, and the prize was a party pack which not everyone needs, this campaign was not as successful as we’d hoped.

For March the campaign was called #SweetTeaing.  We used a website landing page, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and email.  To promote the campaign we created 4 videos, blogged, tweeted, posted on Facebook, and sent weekly eNewsletters.

The campaign was open to anyone who wanted to show their love for Smithfield’s sweet tea.  The best part about the campaign was participation inferred buying a sweet tea, although we didn’t make that part of the conditions.  No purchase necessary, so an empty cup would also work.

Participants could email us the photo, upload to our special Tumblr site (, or tag their Twitter post with #SweetTeaing hashtag.  We posted the photos on the fan page and it was not a “like” this photo contest.

The Prize: Each person that participated received a $5 gift certificate to any location.

The Results: We received 54 photos on the site plus 8 tags on Twitter.  The campaign cost about $310 and generated 160 likes.  The average daily reach was 1,646 fans.

Lesson Learned: By offering a gift certificate to participate plus (in most cases) having to purchase a sweet tea, the cost of the campaign to Smithfield’s was very minimal.  Fans creatively engaged with the brand.

The Father’s Day campaign generated 484 new likes in June.  The ”Dad: The Total Package” campaign used Pinterest, Twitter, email, and Facebook.  Participants submitted a photo of their husband or dad and a few sentences about what makes them the “Total Package”.  The winner was chosen at random so it was not a “like” photo contest.

#SCNBdad Pinterest Board and a Facebook photo album showcased the entries.  We blogged about all the stories submitted.  The average daily reach was 5,999 fans in June.

The Prize: $100 gift certificate from Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q, a 60-minute sports massage from Alossi Renewal Spa, four tickets to a race at Wake County Motor Speedway, four green fees and golf cart at Wil-Mar Golf Club, and four box seats to a Carolina Mudcats game.

Lesson Learned: The barrier of entry into the contest was low and the prize was inspiring.  People wanted to win something for the wonderful man in their life.

There are many different platforms to take advantage of when creating campaigns that can all work together to build and engage your community.