9 Best Practices for Running Facebook Timeline Promotions
Facebook recently announced that business Pages no longer need to use a third-party platform in order to run promotions on the social network. You can read the announcement here. Now that promotions are allowed on Facebook Page Timelines, there are a handful of best practices businesses should keep in mind before they decide to host one of their own. This article covers everything you need to know about how to run a successful (and beneficial-to-your-business) Timeline contest or promotion.
Let’s get started!
Create a plan/set a goal: With any type of Facebook promotion, the first step is to create a plan and set some goals. During this process, ask yourself, “What is it that I want to gain from this promotion?” For some businesses, the goals might be sales oriented, with a focus on collecting email addresses for a mailing list; for others, it could be purely about boosting engagement and Page Likes. Whatever your business wants to accomplish with your Facebook Timeline promotion, will dictate which best practices in this article are right for you.
Craft your perfect Timeline promotion post: The language you use for your Timeline promotion is important. To craft a Timeline promotion post that complies with Facebook’s new promotion guidelines and will inspire engagement, use these tips:
Use the appropriate call to action (CTA). For example, if you’re hosting a “Like/Comment to enter” promotion, be direct in your post. Tell users in the first or second sentence of your post, “Like and/or comment on this post for a chance to win!” Then you can get into the details of the promotion.
Include an image. Photos on Facebook generate 53 percent more Likes than the average post (Hubspot). And choosing the right kind of photo can be even more beneficial. Use a photo that features your promotion prize and is human-centric -- photos with faces in them tend to do better (this is FACEbook after all.) For instance, instead of sharing a photo of your prize against a sterile white background, use a photo of a person holding or pointing to your promotion prize.
Include necessary disclaimers and rules. According to Facebook’s latest promotion guidelines, you are required to include verbiage within your Timeline promotion post acknowledging that your promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You must also include a complete description of your promotion’s official rules, along with terms and eligibility requirements. When you include all the necessary copy, your Timeline promotion post can get pretty ugly/verbose. Fortunately, there’s a better alternative that I get to later in this post.
Promote your Timeline promotion: When businesses combine a Timeline promotion with Facebook’s new embed feature and they have a super powerful marketing tool.
Here’s why: When you feature a piece of content, like a status update, from your Facebook Page on a high-traffic place like your brand’s blog or website, it encourages users to engage simply because it’s right there in front of them and most important, it’s easy to take action! The barriers to entry, in the case of Timeline promotions, are no longer there when you embed your Timeline promotion post in your blog or website.
For more suggestions on how you can use Facebook’s new embed post feature, click here.
Collect User Generated Content (UGC): The most powerful kind of UGC you can collect from your fans (and other Facebook users) are photos. User-submitted photos are great because they can be shared later on Facebook to feature fans in posts or they can be shared on your business’s other social profiles like Pinterest. Photos submitted by your fans can also give your business really useful insight into who your fans are. These are just a few reasons that photo promotions on Facebook are so popular.
Since Facebook now allows photo comments on posts, it’s super easy to host a Timeline photo promotion! For your next Timeline promotion, ask users to comment with a photo for a chance to win an awesome prize from your business. When your Timeline photo promotion is over, use a Comment/Like importer tool to import all the photos to a database to save and use for later.
Use an app to host your promotion's official rules: You know how I mentioned earlier that there’s a better alternative to having super lengthy Timeline promotion posts? An app is the best option for hosting official promotion rules and Facebook’s required disclaimer.
If you want your Timeline promotion post to be short, sweet, super easy to enter -- AND also in compliance with Facebook’s promotion guidelines -- create a complementary promotion app and link to it in your post. If you do this, your next Timeline promotion could look and be as simple as this:
“Like or comment on this post for your chance to win a $50 gift card! For more promotion details and rules, click here to read: [link to your promotion app].”
Use an app to collect valuable data from promotion entrants: If you want to grow your business's mailing list, consider hosting a Timeline promotion and building a complementary promotion 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 promotion via your app can receive extra entries, giving them a better chance to win your company’s awesome prize.
Contact your Timeline promotion winner: Facebook used to be really strict about how Page admins could contact promotion winners. The biggest rule they had was that a company representative could not contact winners on Facebook -- it had to be via email or through another off-Facebook method. This rule can no longer be found in Facebook’s promotion guidelines. It’s our understanding that Facebook has dropped this part of their promotion guidelines and now businesses can contact their promotion winner however they’d like -- including on Facebook.
Increase Page Likes with your Timeline promotion: It’s important to remember: Facebook still does not allow Pages to require users to Like their Page in order to be able to enter to win a promotion. You can only ask them to Like status updates. This means non-fans who 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 promotion or promotion is to host the promotion using a fan-gated app.
To drive new Page Likes with your Timeline promotion, incentivize users to visit your fan-gated app by linking your app’s URL in your Timeline promotion post. Some of the best incentives include: additional promotion entries for users who also enter your promotion through your app or a special discount code that’s revealed when they Like your Page (this way everyone who visits your app can be a winner!).
Calculate the ROI of your Timeline promotion: At the end of your Timeline promotion, revisit your goals and check to see if you met them or not. If you hosted a basic Timeline promotion, record how much engagement, i.e. how many comments or likes, your contest earned. If you hosted a more layered and integrated Timeline promotion with the help of an app, gather data about how many people clicked to view your promotion versus the number of people who entered. Save your contest entrants’ email addresses in a database to use for later.
If your business or client is planning to host a Timeline promotion, be sure to consider all your options and design your promotion based on your goals.
(Facebook Timeline promtions / shutterstock)
Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a do-it-yourself custom app design tool used to create apps for Facebook Pages, websites and mobile web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines and more.
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