As an experiment, we entered 100 different Facebook ‘like and share’ competitions from a variety of different pages, from the UK Bait Company, which gave us the chance to win 10kg of tuna, to Tigarland, a honeymoon and wedding business who offered up tickets to Dubai. Although some of these prizes were clearly better than others, we were keen to see how many we would actually win.
Can you guess how many of these competitions we actually won? The answer might surprise you.
The total number of wins was zero! That’s right – not one prize out of the hundred competitions we entered.
As a result of this experiment, here are the top three things we’ve learned about Facebook competitions.
We found that a huge amount of these competitions require lots of different tasks that the page want you to do, on top of simply liking and sharing, which can mislead the average person into thinking that is the only thing they have to do to enter. Around 40% of the competitions we entered needed entrants to do something else such as comment, tag a friend or like their page. The most common hidden factor was that you would have to comment something on the competition post, like ‘entered’.
Social media competitions do this because it helps others to see the competition post and, ultimately, the product they are trying to advertise. This should be made clear in the terms and conditions so that everybody entering has an equal chance, but often isn’t. So, when writing the T&Cs, they should also be shared with the competition post so that everyone can see it clearly. This avoids any negative comments from entrants finding it confusing, which can affect a brand’s perception online.
Another annoying factor was the sheer number of Pages which didn’t state when the competition finished, meaning that at the time of entering it may already have closed. The key information to include when doing a competition should be the closing date and the date when the winner will be announced. The competition entrant knows whether their entry is valid and when they should find out if they’ve won, and Pages don’t get bombarded with participants entering long after the competition has finished.
It was surprising how many competitions we entered where the prize was actually nothing to do with the product being advertised. For example, we entered one competition from Fest Bouncy Castles to win Beyoncé tickets. There is no obvious link between these two things and that makes the prize too unrelated (although desirable!) Other prizes included tickets for live performances, Nando’s and signed merchandise.
Although these prizes all sound great they really are nothing to do with the business or brand running the competition, making them counterproductive. While having amazing, covetable prizes may make people more keen to enter and share, this is likely to only offer a tiny overall benefit to your brand. Why? You aren’t guaranteeing yourself a wider audience that will have an interest in your product. Having unrelated prizes will attract a different customer base and you will get a high number of vanity likes on your page from people who have no interest in your product at all. The people you want entering your competition are your target customers, who can then share to others who have similar interests. To get these positive followers it’s crucial to have relevant prizes for your competitions.
Examples of competitions we entered that had effective prizes are Sunderland Spas and Hot Tubs’ offer of free hot tub use, High-Rolling-Water Sports’ free 10 minute ride, and Salon Central’s prize of a free wash and blow dry. These prizes may not be as good as expensive concert tickets, but they allow people to win experiences of their products which will have much greater long-term impact.
A hundred competitions is a lot, so you would naturally expect that we would win at least one – even if it was just 10kg of tuna (the cats would be happy.) But the fact we won none must have some explanation. There are many different privacy factors on Facebook which may have contributed to this. Facebook filters your messages, so often Facebook will think Page messages are spam and send the message to a folder that many aren’t even aware exists! Handy, right? To see these you need to go your messages and find ‘Message Requests’. This is where you’ll see all your hidden messages, and you never know, there could be a winning prize in there!
Because of the many different privacy factors, even if we had won something we may not have even been aware of it. Some pages may just write the winner on their Page, which is easily missed; even if you have liked the Page the post may not appear on your Newsfeed thanks to that tricksy Facebook algorithm. Tagging the winner, replying to their original entry on Facebook or directly messaging them will ensure the prize gets to its rightful winner.
Hopefully these three points will help you when running a competition or even just participating in one. With luck you’ll fare better than us!
Need any more help? Just contact our team for advice.