6 Reasons Why Your Facebook Contest Failed

By: Crosby Noricks, Director of Social Media at Red Door Interactive Featured in eM+C July 30, 2012
So it tanked. It bombed. No, I'm not talking about the latest reality show, but rather your much anticipated Facebook contest. The marketing department was excited, the C-suite signed off. You carefully crafted messaging, creative and an offer you thought couldn't be refused. The strategy was created, collateral was designed and tested, and plans were approved. The day comes to launch and there's terrific anticipation for what will be. And nothing happens. So, first things first: Many of us have been there at least once. The results aren't only disappointing, but oftentimes downright baffling. Dig a bit deeper however and an explanation typically emerges. The best course of action is to go back to the campaign's goals and strategy to see what aspects may have been overlooked. After all, the latest features, functions and shiny creative mean nothing if certain fundamental elements aren't included. Take a moment to make sure one or more of these common errors didn't occur:
1. You forgot to tell people about it. Seems obvious, but this is the No. 1 reason no one participates. Did you send out an email? Promote the event in-store? On your website? Did you properly message your existing Facebook fans? Did you encourage them to share the opportunity with friends and followers? It can be easy to focus on the features and functionalities of your campaign and lose sight of the fact that just because you built it doesn't mean they will come. Remember, individuals typically need to see something three times before they act, so be sure to keep communicating about your offer.
2. You required too much from participants. If you asked an individual to disclose too much personal information or perform more than three steps to register, enter and share, chances are you lost a good chunk of the audience. Keep things as simple as possible — get the information you need without contributing to internet ADD.
3. The prize wasn't compelling enough. The incentive has to be something unique and desirable. iPads may no longer cut it; everyone's giving those away (though I've yet to win one!). Instead, try offering a chance at a brand-relevant prize or, better yet, a unique experience that's hard to come by. This helps separate your campaign from others and will drive participation.
4. The follow-up was poor or nonexistent. So maybe people entered but your unsubscribes are off the charts. It's not enough to simply drive one-time engagement. For your effort to be successful, you need to plan for how to keep your new fans interested.
5. The audience wasn't well targeted. Ensure you've carefully determined who you want to reach and have identified the age, gender, income level, location and interests of your desired public. Identify how and when they want to receive information and act accordingly. Otherwise, you may overshoot your audience or worse, piss them off.
6. Your timing was off. Competing sweepstakes and other events may have gotten in the way. Holidays and national primetime games come immediately to mind, unless you've got enough money to spend on a BCS national championship football game ad. The more you can stay away from large-scale activities that will distract your audience the better. While it may not be possible to avoid all events, holding off launching a sweepstakes for big conflicts will be to your benefit. As self-evident as these may appear, many marketing teams forget to evaluate a campaign based on these common shortcomings. It's understandable to a point; teams get too caught up in the design and distribution tactics that the big picture is compromised. The reality is that taking a step back and looking at the big picture is arguably the most important step any campaign manager should do before launching a social media contest. [Image: Type K Marketing]  

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