Huge user base + huge number of brands = noisy Facebook news feed

This means small probability for your updates (posts) to be seen and therefore noticed by fans.

On the other hand, it's a fact that nowadays the people who are spending a lot of time online are also a victim of the modern "information hurricane" happening on the social web. In addition to this, there's a bigger chance fans to "break up with brands" or in Facebook marketing vocabulary (Hide/Unlike) brands that are not bringing value for them everyday.  

In order to stay top of mind and engage fans, brands must organize frequent original campaigns, often in form of Facebook contests like photo and essay contests. 
This will enable them to enjoy better mind share from competitors and increase that "Talking about this" metric on Facebook.

Facebook is no longer a place for brands that do not have sufficient budget, resources and skillful staff.
So the question here is not whether, but how to organize successful Facebook marketing campaign that will provide unique experience to fans and improve brand's image.

If your next campaign as a marketing team is focused around contest, here are several tips to follow:

  • First and most important, read Facebook promotional guidelines.
  • Your next contest should be organized around original and creative idea. Think about how your theme can stand out and attract attention.
  • Facebook contests should not require large involvement from fans in terms of rules and criteria in order to maximize participants.
  • Set reasonable time-frame. Contests shouldn't be too short (you want to bulid fans right!?) and it shouldn't be too long (or it will turn participants to quit).
  • Make sure that you offer attractive award.
  • Promotion - Significant budget allocated for Facebook ads to promote the contest. Also include other channels to support it: Twitter, YouTube, e-mail lists etc.

My experience suggest me that any Facebook contest should be well-designed, planned and take several best practices into consideration right from the start. If you want to learn some of the "science of running successful" Facebook contests, take 10 minutes from your time to check out this insightful presentation (from my colleague in CyberLink Media):

 

 

Running Facebook contests is not a Facebook marketing strategy, it is only small part of the Facebook marketing plan.

Practicing freqent contests supported by valuable awards builds "quasi fans". Trust is not earned overnight and any brand should strive to build meaningful relationship with its own community by providing added value for them.
Having said that, brands that invest in long-term strategy, content marketing, customer service and customer-oriented social business are the ones that will rule the social web.