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facebook contests

How to Use Facebook Contests for Event Marketing

Facebook contests are perfect for event marketing because they create excitement and word-of-mouth buzz that can lead to ticket sales. You can use Facebook contests to boost your email subscriber list, increase awareness of your event, remind people about your event, encourage people to tell their friends and family about your event, and more.

The good news is holding Facebook contests for event marketing isn’t difficult. There are a number of different types of contests you can hold, and there are even free and affordable tools to help you do it. Follow the tips below to make running Facebook contests simple.

1. Determine Your Goals

If you’re holding Facebook contests for event marketing, you could have multiple goals for the investment. For example, you might want to increase awareness of the event, build your email marketing list, get more likes on your Facebook Page, encourage people to share photos and videos to boost engagement and excitement, sell tie-in products like merchandise and food vouchers, and more.

Before you choose the type of Facebook contest you want to run, the prize you want to offer, or anything else related to your contest, you need to identify what results you want your efforts to generate.

2. Choose Your Contest Type

There are several different types of Facebook contests that you could choose to hold depending on your goals. Keep in mind, Facebook contests should always be held on your Facebook Page – not your personal Facebook Profile.

Two of the most popular contest options are a sweepstakes or a photo contest. A sweepstakes is easy to set up and easy for people to enter. You simply publish your contest and ask for entries. The winner is typically chosen randomly. It’s that simple.

With a photo contest, people have to upload their own photos to enter the contest. Either you, a panel of judges, or your audience votes on which photos they like best, so the winner is chosen subjectively. If people are allowed to vote for the winner, the chances that photos and news about your contest will get shared even further! That means more word-of-mouth marketing for your event, too.

3. Select a Prize

The prize you choose to give away to the winner (or winners) of your Facebook contest needs to match your event brand. Furthermore, it needs to be a good enough prize that people will be motivated to enter the contest to try to win it and tell other people about the contest, too. A great prize boosts sharing, and the more people who know about your contest, the more who will also know about your event.

However, be careful that your prize isn’t so amazing that you’ll get a large number of entries from people who would not be interested in buying tickets to your event at all. Also, don’t be afraid to give away free tickets or VIP experiences. Yes, you’ll lose possible ticket sales from the winners, but the word-of-mouth marketing you’ll generate leading up to the contest and after the winner is chosen far makes up for it!

4. Write the Rules

The rules for Facebook contests are very important because they protect you from unhappy losers (and sometimes winners) as well as from Facebook. First, review Facebook’s contest rules (see the Promotions section of the Facebook Page Terms). You don’t want to violate any of Facebook’s rules and risk having your Facebook Page banned!

Next, identify the start and end date and time (including time zone) for the contest, how people can enter, how winners will be chosen, and how winners will be notified. If there are restrictions about who can enter such as age or location, include them in your rules. Don’t forget to create a process to choose an alternate winner if necessary. For example, your rules might explain that if the original winner doesn’t accept the prize by email within 72 hours, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be chosen.

5. Identify Your Tools

Once you’ve chosen your prize and written the rules, it’s time to figure out how you’re actually going to run the type of contest you’re planning. What tools will you use to run your Facebook contests? Facebook offers features to create free contests within its application, but you’ll be limited in terms of how the contest works if you rely on the Facebook application to create and manage your contest. Test the free tool to see if it will work for you, but if it doesn’t, consider using one of the paid tools below.

Some of the most popular tools you can use to create Facebook contests for event marketing are Wishpond, Woobox, Heyo, ShortStack, and Rafflecopter. Each offers a variety of features, contest types, entry methods, integrations with email marketing tools, tracking, and more. If you use Hootsuite or Agorapulse for social media monitoring and management, you could create Facebook timeline contests using either of those tools. Keep in mind, you might have to upgrade your account to access the contest tools. Most of these tools offer free trials, so experiment with them to find the best tool to meet your goals.

6. Promote Your Facebook Contest

Once you have all of the pieces of your Facebook contest in place and you know the dates when it will run, you need to promote it so people know they can enter. Of course, you should promote it to your email subscriber list and on your own blog, but don’t stop there. You should promote it through social media marketing on all of your social channels, and reach out to online influencers who already have the eyes and ears of your target audience asking them to spread the word about the contest.

Another affordable promotion option is to invest in Facebook ads. This gives you the ability to show your ad only to people in the geographic area where you’re holding your event who are likely to buy tickets based on their interests and the Facebook Pages they already follow.

7. Choose and Notify the Winner and Send the Prize

When your contest is done, you need to choose a winner, which depends on how you set up your Facebook contest and the rules you created for it. If you’re choosing a winner randomly and not using a tool like Woobox or ShortStack that can pick the winner for you, then you could use a free site like to do it. Of course, you could always just put all of the entries in a hat and pick one the old fashioned way!

Next, you need to notify the winner and send the prize to them. You might need to mail the prize or send it electronically depending on what the prize is. You could even make it available for the winner to pick up at a Will Call window at the event. Again, the type of prize will affect the delivery method you need to use.

8. Review Your Results

When your Facebook contests end, you should review your results to make sure they helped you reach your original goals. If not, then you can tweak your contest and try again for your current event (if you have enough time to run another contest before the event) or for a future event. To be successful with Facebook contests, you may need to experiment, so don’t give up if your first contest isn’t a big success.

Your Next Steps to Use Facebook Contests for Event Marketing

Facebook contests are extremely effective for event marketing, and since they don’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to hold, they’re definitely worth testing. Remember, match your contest type and prize to your goals, event brand, and target audience. Be very specific in your contest rules, promote the contest heavily, and track your results. If you follow these steps, you’ll be on your way to boosting event ticket sales with successful Facebook contests.

If you need help with your event ticketing or event marketing, call AttendStar at 615-223-1973 or use the contact form to get started.

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