Earlier this week Facebook announced changes to their promotion guidelines. The change is especially exciting for small business owners who want to run basic Like/Comment to Win Timeline promotions. However, there are still some best practices to follow and things to consider before running a contest through a Timeline.

In this post, we share five awesome Timeline contest ideas, along with some best practices and answers to questions we've seen since this announcement. 

Facebook promotion ideas

Timeline Contest Idea #1: Drive Comment Entries

If your business or client is planning to launch a new product, use a Facebook Timeline promotion to get feedback (or first impressions) in advance. In your post, share a photo of your soon-to-be released product and ask users to share their thoughts in a comment as a way to win a prize.

This Timeline crowdsourcing-style contest is a great way to drive lots of comment entries, and it’s also a smart way to get valuable feedback on your product from your fans. The feedback you receive might even encourage your brand to make some beneficial adjustments to the products before you take them to market.

After the Timeline contest entry period has ended, you can use a Comment/Like Importer tool to upload all the comments to a database and leverage the data for future marketing efforts.  

Timeline Contest Idea #2: Drive Like Entries

For businesses that want to drive lots of Like entries on their Timeline promotion, keep it simple by asking a yes or no question. For instance, you can ask, “Who’s excited for Halloween? Like this post for a chance to win an awesome prize!”

The more simple you keep your Timeline Promotions, the better. Users don’t have to think, they just have to click “Like” and they’re entered! The really interesting part about this kind of contest is that for every Like entry your contest receives, the bigger the custom audience you can create.

How does this work? By using a Comment/Like Importer, you receive access to all the Facebook IDs of the users who clicked Like on your post to enter. If your business wants to later run highly targeted ads on Facebook, they can use these Facebook IDs to create ads with a custom audience.

Timeline Contest Idea #3: Drive Both Comment and Like Entries

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, host a Timeline contest to promote your in-store promotion. Upload a photo that gives details about your deal or promotion (for example, you’re having a Halloween sale). Next, ask users to to Like and comment on your post to enter to win. An appropriate prize would be a gift card to your store!

This kind of Timeline Promotion idea is great for rewarding one (or a few) of your loyal Facebook fans and getting the word out about your store’s sale, thus bringing in some extra foot traffic and sales!

Timeline Contest Idea #4: Collect Valuable Data

For businesses wanting to grow their mailing list before the holiday season begins, it’s best to host a Timeline promotion and build a complementary contest app with an entry form.

In the copy for your Timeline promotion, drive users to your Facebook app by sharing a link to it. Also, provide an incentive so users will want to go to your app. For example, users who enter into your contest via your app can receive extra entries, i.e. giving them a better chance to win your company's awesome prize!

Timeline Contest Idea #5: Encourage Contest Sharing, More Entries And Page Likes

One question we got a few times when Facebook updated their promotions guidelines, “Are my fans able to share this contest/giveaway/sweepstakes on their personal page?”

The answer is this: According to Facebook’s new promotion guidelines, Page’s cannot ask fans to “share” to be entered into their Timeline contest -- only Likes and Comments can be used as entries. A solution to this is to use a Facebook app that has sharing features.

For example, to give your fans more opportunities to win, create a Facebook app for your giveaway and promote it in conjunction with your Timeline promotion. Creating an app for your Timeline contest also allows you to drive new Pages from your non-fan Timeline promotion entrants. 

Remember: Facebook still does not allow Pages to require users to Like their Page in order to be able to enter to win a contest -- only status updates. This means a non-fans that see your Timeline promotion in their News Feed can also enter into your Timeline promotion.

The only way to really drive Page Likes with a Facebook contest or promotion is to host it using a fan-gated app.

(Facebook contests / shutterstock)