5 Facebook Contests That Increase Holiday Engagement

Opening Presents

There’s no better time than the holiday season to give back to your fans and add a theme to your Facebook content. Closing out 2013 by using Facebook to show off your brand’s personality, offer holiday discounts to fans, and spread holiday cheer is a great way to engage your fans and get momentum for 2014.

Recent data shows that holiday campaigns on social media are both effective and easy to set up:

  • 63% of Facebook users say they’re likely to share a link to a holiday contest or giveaway
  • Fill-in-the-blank status updates receive 182% more engagement than other kinds of status updates
  • It takes 30 seconds to set up a contest using a fill-in-the-blank status update
  • It takes 10-20 minutes to set up a photo contest on Facebook — and 20-40 minutes to set up a multi-day giveaway

~ Information courtesy of our friends at ShortStack

Here are a few ways you can get started today:

1. Fill-in-the-blank contest: You’ll want to use holiday themes here. But even with just holiday topics, there are countless fill-in-the-blanks you can use.  For example:

  • The first Christmas song that pops in my head is _________.
  • The first thing I do when I get up on Christmas morning is _________.
  • The one word the best describes my family during Christmas is _________.

Status updates reel in the comments — and there are no wrong answers. We recommend using a fill-in-the-blank question for daily giveaways whenever possible.

Pro Tip: Our Status Ideas Engine has seasonal suggestions (many of them being perfect holiday contest templates) and a whole category devoted to Timeline Contests.

2. Photo contests: Use an app like ShortStack to host a photo contest. You can have the winner decided by votes or just pick one randomly. It’s a great way to reward fans, and has the added benefit of providing you with tons of user-generated content for further promotions. Make sure to give the contest a theme:

  • Best awkward family holiday photo
  • Best Christmas decorations
  • Craziest holiday weather photos

3. Giveaway a day: The social media equivalent of Oprah’s famous “favorite things,” this type of contest takes place over multiple days. It requires a new prize each day, but you don’t have to be Ellen and offer Beats by Dre or luxury vacations to see the entries pour in. For example, Perfect Balance Therapies banded together with other businesses in their shopping center to give away a daily prize and every post received tons of comments, likes and shares.

4. Nominate a friend: Everyone has a special person in their life whom they’d love to spoil during the holidays. Help your fans do that by hosting a “nominate a friend” contest. Allow them to submit a short essay or photo of the person to enter. Then let people vote on the entries or just pick a random winner.

5. Unlock a coupon: This isn’t a direct contest so to speak, but using an app that allows fans to enter their emails to unlock a coupon code is still giving them a gift, and it could deliver you ROI. Of course, this only works for companies that sell products.

The deciding factor in many of these contests is how much time you have as a community manager. If there isn’t time for your brand to build an app for holiday contests, don’t worry! Keep it simple and just focus on a Timeline contest.  Your fans will thank you for it.

Are you running any holiday campaigns? Comment below with details!

Role Models for Your Real-Time Engagement Strategy

Real Time

The average person is bombarded by more than 1,000 brand impressions daily. Consumers tune out most of these impressions because they don’t find them relevant or useful, but this does nothing to stem the constant flow of digital clutter clogging up our feeds.

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Avoid KGB Fan Acquisition and Algo-Buster Techniques Like the Plague

KGB

The KBG. Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti. The Committee for State Security for the former Soviet Union was one of the most feared agencies in history. Thankfully, this post isn’t about them.

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The Most Important Stat for Facebook Pages is not Even Measurable

Brand Loyalty

Contrary to popular belief the most important stat on Facebook pages is not the amount of likes, it’s not the “Talking About Us”, nor is it the engagement that occurs on Facebook. The Facebook “Like Button Craze” died off with the new changes that Facebook made by taking away the landing pages. With the landing pages eliminated more brand pages seem to focus on engagement or better known as the “Talking About This Number.” As valuable as these numbers both are, they are not the most important number on Facebook. The most important number is actually the number of loyal fans which is a number not yet tracked by Facebook.

[Read more...]

Are Businesses Starting to Overpost on Facebook?

Too Much

There was a time not too long ago when it was hard to get businesses to post enough. The mythical beast known as EdgeRank (which Facebook technically hasn’t used in a long time, but that’s not important now) compels people to want to maximize the exposure of their posts by keeping a constant flow of positive engagement going towards their Facebook page. More on that in a moment.

[Read more...]

Tweeting Better Boosts Brands Engagement

Twitter

It really all depends on the industry but according to a recent study by Buddy Media, larger brands are noted to gain more of a reaction leading to engagement by posting tweets on the weekend instead of on weekdays. Tweeting on the weekends is a fantastic social media marketing strategy, if you post the right type of content at the right times of course.

There have been quite a few studies showing that specific methods used while tweeting can actually pay off and grow your company’s visits and engagement. If your company is on Twitter, they should less than 100 characters in each of their tweets. By doing this you are leaving room for re-tweets and comments from followers. Not to mention that doing this has a 17% higher engagement rate than if you are posting tweets with over 100 characters.

A helpful Twitter-tip is to add links as often as you are able to, to posts that you tweet out. This gives you a higher chance for re-tweets. Doing this has reportedly accounted for 92% of all interactions which is 86% higher of a re-tweet rate than posts that don’t contain a link. Make sure when you do this that you have enough room to leave a space before the URL so as to disable any unclickable links.

Hashtags are always a good idea, but anymore than two hashtags in a tweet could actually result in a decrease in re-tweets and engagement, so make sure you are careful about when and where you are posting them. Don’t forget to use images where they make sense. Bigger brands have seen a 2X higher engagement rate than those brands that add pictures to their tweets.

Of course, you have to be wise about your own company’s social media performance so that you can figure out which approach is suitable for your specific brand. Following these helpful guidelines however can help steer you on the right track to maximizing brand awareness and increasing business/consumer engagement.

Getting Started: The Hardest Part About Running a Facebook Page

Starting Line

Believe it or not, running a popular Facebook page for a business or organization is exceptionally easy. Once the momentum is going, the key is to stay interesting, respond quickly, and develop the subtleties such as timing and audience that make a Facebook page hum. These are not hard activities and anyone with experience or guidance can excel at it.

Taking a page from nil to winner is the tough part. It’s like getting traction when you’re stuck in the mud and it’s still raining. That’s Facebook, 2012, because there are already so many developed pages that are drawing in people’s attention. Thankfully, there are two strategies that tend to work well, but both are much more challenging than maintaining a strong page.

Activity, Interest, and Perseverance

Likes

With the right effort and a willingness to claw, bite, pull hair, and laugh at yourself, a business page (particularly a localized one) can develop momentum and build a strong page by simply doing. It’s easy in theory and hard in practice.

Above, you’ll see the recent stats for a page that we recently took over for a client. They were a local business with a few hundred likes that came in naturally (rather through buying or other nefarious methods), so the base was there but the engagement was not. In this situation, the key was to focus on building momentum similar to driving a manual transmission.

The biggest mistake that most businesses make is that they try to get their car started while in 5th gear. They blast out updates left and right. They talk about themselves, their specials, their messages. They do all of these things and wonder why nobody is responding and why they’re not growing. They have no momentum. They have to start in a lower gear.

In the case above, we at least had a good rolling start, so we shifted to second gear. We started posting locally on their newspaper’s page, sharing content with a local flavor and doing it at a pace that didn’t overwhelm anyone – 2-4 posts a day. We responded to people who made comments (something that wasn’t happening consistently before) and pushed for stronger, more sharable content when it wasn’t local.

Now that there’s some momentum, we’ll move on to “in store” promotions. Customers are the best potential fans for a page. It’s that simple. Those who walk into the store can be engaged with and asked to like the page. The challenge is getting the staff to open up about it and talk about it. To do this, they have to get excited. They need a reason to do so. We started running a movie ticket campaign on both their website and locally at the store. I’ll report on the results when they are in.

Pay for it

Viral Reach

The other technique is proving to be exceptionally effective, more so than we would have expected. With a small ad budget hypertargeting just the locals, we started running Facebook ads. The exposure is there, much higher than it would have been organically. The budget can be very low simply because the page is still very small. Over time, the budget will have to go up to maintain, but hopefully by that time we’ll be able to switch to organic-only methods.

As can be seen in the above image, we ran a paid campaign to the movie ticket promotion. Organic is, of course, the current fans who are seeing the update in their timeline. The viral piece is the number of friends of fans who see it, and the paid is the campaign itself. The numbers might be much higher, but they can be misleading. They represent the number of people who were exposed to the update, but sponsored updates are much-less likely to get clicked than organic ones, which are a little more likely to be clicked than the viral ones.

* * *

Both strategies are sustainable but require an investment of time for the first one and money for the second. Facebook is important enough to make the investment, but the returns level off. In other words, spending twice the time or double the money will not necessarily double the effectiveness. Find the highest ROI point somewhere in the middle and you’ll maximize the effectiveness of the overall marketing effort.