Engagement is the name of the game on Facebook. Every marketer is constantly on the lookout for ways to get their page’s followers talking, sharing, and engaging with their content. Today we’re going to take a look at why many brands are choosing contests as a tool to drive their marketing, and why you should consider joining them! Contests are a great way to:

Get exposure for your page. People – especially those on social media – love to be the first person to know about something, and to tell others about it. So give them some fodder for their social sharing habit! If your contest has a great prize, your followers are sure to share it with their social networks to maintain their reputation as a great source for information among their friends. Once their friends come to your Facebook page, they will probably give you a ‘like’. And even if they don’t their awareness of your brand has already been increased.

Increase your number of likes. There is an organic and an inorganic way to go about this. The first is to simply count on the virality of your contest to bring exposure to your page and gain likes that way. People who enter your contest probably already like your page, but if they don’t, they’ll be sure to like you now in order to hear when the winner is announced. Another common practice is to make liking a mandatory part of the entry process. This can be a highly effective way to gain more followers on Facebook, but be aware of what your goals for this contest are before deciding to go this route. If your goal is strictly to increase the number of people who like your brand, this is a great idea. However if you want greater engagement from your followers, you might want to hold off. Not all followers are created equal, and the ones who only like your page because they have to are less likely to be valuable and engaged once the contest is over.

Encourage participation and engagement. A contest that requests participation from your followers is much more likely to increase their attachment to your brand than a simple sweepstakes where a winner is drawn at random. Think about asking your followers to submit photos of themselves interacting with your product, or tell their personal story about your brand’s role in their life, or even come up with a slogan or jingle. Not only will this encourage followers to spend time really thinking about what your brand means to them, it could also provide you with some valuable marketing collateral for the future (just make sure to get permission to use it!).

Get to know your engaged fan base. There are a lot of things you can learn from your Facebook Insights dashboard, but there are some things you just can’t. People are much more willing to provide personal information when it’s part of a contest, so don’t miss this opportunity to ask! Want to know how many of your most engaged followers have kids? Went to the local university? Are left-handed? Now’s your chance to find out. Think about what kind of information would be useful in your future marketing efforts and see what you can learn as part of your contest.

Grow your email database. Similar to the point above, people are much happier to give their email address when doing so comes with an incentive. If you have an email marketing program – or think you might have one in the future – always take every opportunity to request an email address to add to your database. You can make this mandatory, but beware that having people who really don’t want to get emails from you on your list could lead to negative sender ratings down the line. A better practice is to offer a field for email addresses, and briefly explain below that it will be used to share inside news, special offers, and anything else you send emails about.

Need one final reason? Facebook contests are fun! Actively engaging with your fans on Facebook, hearing their stories, seeing their photos, and making someone’s day at the end of the contest are a great way to make your Facebook page more rewarding for you as well.

Ready to get started? Check out the Facebook Contests tool from Pagemodo. 

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