Sunday, 28 July 2013

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Generate Leads

Do you use social media to generate inbound leads for your business?

Are you unsure about where and how to focus your efforts to meet your lead generation goals?

According to HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Annual Report, social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail or PPC.

If you’re starting a lead generation campaign, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are all excellent places to begin, but knowing how to pull leads from the conversations that happen on these platforms takes some knowledge and practice.

In this article, I’ll share 4 ways you can use social media to generate inbound marketing leads for your business.

#1: Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are frequently scheduled discussions hosted by a Twitter account. Each chat uses a particular hashtag so that other Twitter users can follow the conversation even though topics change with each discussion.

Because of the focused audience communities that participate in Twitter chats, they are a great place to generate leads for your business.

The #SmallBizChat is an example of a Twitter chat that successfully engages its community every week.

How do you start? You can participate in Twitter chats in two ways: Join existing Twitter chats that are related to your industry or create and host your own Twitter chat. Whichever route you choose, join in on relevant chats that potential customers would be participating in to make sure you gain visibility with the right people.

You can find industry- and subject-specific chats that relate to your business in this extensive library of existing Twitter chats.

#Likeablechat is a weekly chat that offers social media tips and an opportunity to network with other marketers.

When participating in a Twitter chat, it’s important to be a good participant. This will help you to attract the leads you want for your business.

Use the hashtag set by the host. Ask and answer questions with contributions that are insightful and illustrate your understanding of the industry and your business offerings. Stay on topic and remember—this is not the forum for pitching your services.

Twitter chats are a place to establish thought leadership and credibility.

Join conversations in chat with valuable tips and insights to establish yourself as a credible source.

Here’s how to get the leads you’re looking for.

Once you’re taking part in a chat, research other participants who have tweeted you as part of the discussion or have participated in the chat overall.

Friendly conversation with other chat members can help strengthen your ties and build long-lasting relationships on Twitter.

Follow individuals who could be potential customers down the line and keep tabs on any of their conversations that relate to your services.

Tweet with these connections outside of the chat and, when the time is right, direct message them to share additional links to content or marketing materials you have that will further establish your expertise and what your business could offer them.

Be sensitive and strategic in your pitch. Don’t oversell, spam, over-tweet or be vague with these relationships.

Wait for the right time in conversation to message someone about your business offerings. When you focus on building the right relationships through your Twitter chats, you’re sure to gather leads.

#2: LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are made up of a variety of subject areas, bringing together professionals of similar interests to discuss topics that relate to business. Again, you can find potential leads by either creating your own LinkedIn Group or by joining an existing group that focuses on your area of expertise.

While it’s possible to join up to 50 groups, I suggest you focus your efforts on a few of the right groups for your business.

Join LinkedIn Groups where potential customers or clients may be active, then engage in relevant conversations.

Browse the directory of groups to find the right match, join the discussions and connect with existing members. Begin by consistently posting your own content or others’ content that’s on topic. Participate in existing conversations by answering questions and providing resources.

People ask questions in almost every LinkedIn Group, answer them to bring value and help establish relationships.

Here’s how to get the leads you’re looking for.

Identify group members who continually ask questions about your line of business or members who are generally looking for help. Publicly answer their questions from within the group, providing value and using brevity, then follow up with a more in-depth message by using the Reply Privately feature. This way you have both a public and a private point of contact with them.

The Reply Privately feature is an often-overlooked tactic for generating quality leads from a one-on-one conversation where you’re able to provide value and build trust. This feature is found below a group member’s question under the More tab or by hovering over one of their comments in the discussion.

In your private message, answer their question in full and let them know you’re available to chat more extensively on the topic by phone, if need be. Phone calls within the right context, like a LinkedIn intro, are more likely than a cold call to turn this conversation into a potential lead-builder for your business.

When you focus on establishing credibility with the information you share and then take the relationships you make in LinkedIn Groups to the next step and one-on-one conversations, you’ll gather leads.

#3: Facebook Advertising

Running ads on Facebook can fulfill many different goals, one of which is generating leads from the right audience. Promoted Posts—an engaging form of Facebook advertising—highlight your content in the newsfeed of that audience.

Promoted Posts generate more views of your content than it would organically receive on its own on Facebook, giving it that extra boost.

While Facebook isn’t often conducive to direct sales, you can build trust with Facebook users when you consistently distribute quality content and engage in one-to-one communication through long-term interactions.

Use Promoted Posts to highlight quality content from your Facebook Page or your website. Share a link to your latest contest, ebook, instructional video, blog post, lookbook or other content that doesn’t send Facebook users directly to a product or services landing page.

Signup forms like this one from Offerpop require Facebook users to enter information about themselves in order to enter a contest or see original content.

Here’s how to get the leads you’re looking for.

To help you capitalize on the click-through of a Facebook user, use a signup form that reveals the content on your website or Facebook tab only after the user fills out any required information that you define. This could be an email address, demographic data or geographic location information.

The more information your business has about a Facebook user, the better you can personalize your future messaging to match their interests, making it more likely that they will convert from lead to customer in the future.

With a content strategy adapted to your audience on Facebook and the consistent visibility offered by Promoted Posts, you’ll likely gather leads from your community on Facebook.

#4: Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts on Air give you the ability to communicate directly with your audience online, in real time.

Consider hosting a hangout focused on your offerings as a business to show the audience your unique value and, most importantly, to show a human face behind your business.

The types of hangouts that are beneficial for lead generation are:

  • Customer service sessions
  • Interviews with experts and leaders
  • Giveaways and contests
  • Free product demos

Sephora hosted a Google+ Hangout on Air to discuss what’s happening behind the scenes and to talk with beauty bloggers and experts about the latest trends in beauty.

There are many ways to host a Hangout on Air with your audience. You can allow anyone to join in the conversation or limit the discussion to a few individuals. Choose the approach best suited to your the goals.

From the beginning, define what you’re looking to achieve from your hangout and how you plan to connect with your audience before, during and after the event.

Here’s how to get the leads you’re looking for.

Offer value above all, and use strong calls to action throughout your Hangout on Air. Encourage participants and viewers to interact with your business, learn more about your offerings and give people the tools and information they need to make an informed decision about their purchases.

Record your Google+ hangout and save it to YouTube so you can use the video in a blog post, share it across social media and add it to relevant YouTube playlists.

To further drive leads for your business, add links to the products and services discussed on the hangout in the description of the YouTube video for easy reference.

In the YouTube video from their hangout, Sephora included links to the products they discussed to make it as easy as possible for people to become customers.

Google+ Hangouts on Air offer businesses a great opportunity to create content and connect with potential clients.

Over to You

Social media offers many untapped opportunities to connect with potential leads for your business. These are just a few suggestions on how you can activate your social audiences and generate leads that can affect your bottom line.

What do you think? How are you using social media to drive leads for your business? What social media channels have you found most successful for generating leads? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Tags: brian honigman, call to action, facebook ad, facebook advertising, google+ hangout, hangouts on air, inbound marketing lead, lead generation, linkedin group, promoted post, signup form, social media, social media marketing, twitter chat

author: Brian Honigman

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Tony Robbins Explains How To Focus

Another great short video from Tony. Apologies for video quality but it does not take away the great message.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

How to Find Great Content to Share on Twitter

What content are you sharing on Twitter?

Do you struggle to find interesting, relevant things to tweet about every day?

In this post, I’ll show you how to curate content your followers will love so you can build a loyal community on Twitter.

Why Curate?

Today most marketers understand the need to create informative and relevant content. But it’s equally important to curate informative and relevant content.

In addition to creating great content for your site, the links to the other people’s content that you share on Twitter also matter.

When you share good content on Twitter, the kind your audience loves, it’s easier to build a strong community. And sharing great content will also increase your credibility in your industry.

When you create and curate relevant content, people are more likely to retweet and share your stuff. Image: iStockPhoto

#1: Know Your Audience

So what content should you share on Twitter? Before you can determine what is the best content to share in your social updates, you need to dig deep and go inside your followers’ heads.

You’ll want to know your social media audience. What keeps your ideal follower up at night? What are his favorite blogs? What’s the first thing that pops into his head when he thinks of you?

If you’ve ever created a buyer persona for a marketing campaign, this is the same exercise.

You want to find the intersection of what interests you and what interests your audience.

You can also ask your followers to find out what they want. You may find general open-ended questions—such as “What would you like me to tweet about?”—too broad to give you the information you need.

Instead, ask your followers a multiple-choice question such as, “Would you like me to tweet about a) social media marketing, b) mobile, c) productivity hacks, d) all of the above?”

You can use their answers as a starting point to plan the content you share and identify what your followers want from you.

Once you identify the content your audience is interested in, commit to this topic. Don’t dilute it.

For example, Social Media Examiner focuses on social media. So you’ll find articles about generating email leads using social media. But you won’t find content devoted to increasing email open rates or the perfect auto-responder series or other topics with no connection to social media.

Find out what topics interest your audience most and share content related to these topics on your social profiles.

#2: Tools to Help You Curate Content

Once you know your audience well, you’ll want to set up a good aggregation tool to find content worth tweeting about.

Here some of the popular news aggregators in the market today. Use the ones you like for your business to find the content you need to provide a valuable stream of daily tweets for your followers.

Feedly – Your News Delivered

Feedly is a tool to help you curate content. Feedly makes it easy for you to look for the articles most relevant for you to share.

One of the best aspects of Feedly is the variety of viewing interfaces available. You can format it to show articles in an email-type layout with headlines or arrange them as image cards or also choose a more traditional magazine layout.

Feedly is a great alternative to Google Reader and offers a variety of layouts to make RSS more enjoyable.

Regardless of the layout you choose, Feedly shows you new content from the blogs and news sources you subscribe to. And it offers a consistent presentation across devices, so you can tweet from your laptop, your tablet or your smartphone.

One of my favorite features is Feedly’s integration with multiple online tools such as Google+, Evernote, Buffer, Instapaper and more. This makes your content curation easier.

You can share and save your favorite articles to multiple social networks and web tools.

Fever – Find Out What’s Hot

Do you want to know how hot the story is that you shared? Fever is a content feed reader that ranks the stories in your feed with a temperature gauge. This allows you to measure how many links and shares a story has within your network.

Fever is a paid service that reads your feeds and picks out the most frequently talked about articles from a customizable time period.

This is a visual way to see how the content you share on Twitter resonates with your audience. It’s an easy way to be sure the content you share matters to your followers.

It is important to note that Fever comes with a one-time price of $30 and you need to host the files on your own server.

The setup is a bit technical, so you may want to ask your IT department to help you get started.

Prismatic – Discover New Content to Share

While RSS readers are great for keeping up with your favorite blogs, Prismatic helps you find new and interesting blogs.

Prismatic delivers socially curated content based on your interests to help you discover new blogs and content sources.

If you like to keep your content curation fresh and interesting, Prismatic does a great job of introducing new blogs and content sources you may never have come across otherwise .

Here’s how to get the most out of Prismatic.

Step 1: Sign up

Sign up for Prismatic using your Facebook, Google+ or Twitter login, or create a stand-alone account on Prismatic.

Sign up at

Step 2: Choose Your Interests

After you sign up, you can pick the different topics that you and your audience relate to. As you use the service, Prismatic will suggest new topics based on what you share and click.

Find new content by choosing topics your community is interested in.

Step 3: Pick Your Favorite Publishers

You can also use Prismatic as an RSS reader. Under the Favorite Authors section, add your favorite blogs and publishers to Prismatic.

Add your favorite blogs so you won’t miss a thing.

Step 4: Share Your Curated Content

After you’re all set up, share the articles your audience is interested in reading.

It’s easy to share the content you like from Prismatic.

When you share content, remember to include the author’s Twitter handle, so you can introduce your followers to new and interesting people.

And be sure to include relevant hashtags, but don’t overdo it. Buddy Media reports that tweets with one or two hashtags receive higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags.

Prismatic has good sharing features and can help you share great content with your audience.

#3: Analyze and Repeat

One of the most important steps to curating amazing content is to measure the results.

Are there certain articles that get more clicks, retweets and favorites than others? Is a certain topic or interest driving more engagement with your followers?

You can use Buffer to analyze shares, but management tools like HootSuite, SproutSocial and TweetDeck can all provide good analytics on your tweets.

These tools help you analyze metrics such as the number of clicks, retweets, favorites and potential reach each individual tweet receives.

Track who retweets your content and the reach they have.

Use this data to see what really resonates with your audience and A/B test different headlines for your content. Here’s an example of results from two different tweets promoting the same content.

The example above shows how a simple product mention can help spread your content to a greater audience.

Be sure to measure the response to different headlines to see which one interests your audience most and learn from your results.

Share the Content Your Audience Loves

With the wealth of information that exists on the web, marketers have a harder time finding great content to share.

Use these tools and tips and you’ll not only discover content that you enjoy consuming, you’ll also find content that drives greater engagement with your Twitter following.

What do you think? Did I miss any great tools? What are your favorite tips to curate content? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

author: Steve Young

Sunday, 14 July 2013

6 Ways to Use Facebook Apps for Business

Does your business leverage the power of Facebook apps?

Wondering how other businesses are using apps to better serve their customers?

Keep reading to discover many ways businesses are using Facebook apps.

Why Facebook Apps?

There are many reasons why you may want to consider using Facebook apps. They can provide communication between your customers and your customer service team, allow people to sign up for and receive your newsletter or provide your customers with special rewards.

Each of these uses can help you create a deeper relationship with your customers and foster brand loyalty. If you use a fangate to conceal the content on strategic app tabs from non-fans, you can also increase the number of likes your Page is getting.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 ways to successfully use Facebook apps to build the reputation of your brand and reach your customer service goals.

#1: Keep Customers in the Know

Email remains a very popular marketing tool and sending interested users email updates in the form of a newsletter keeps them in the know about your business.

Use a newsletter signup app to collect email addresses so you have an additional way to communicate with your customers when they leave Facebook. You can even ask people to like your Page to reveal the newsletter signup form.

Publish status updates to tease newsletter content and then direct your fans to the app where they can sign up to receive the full newsletter.

The popular yoga and music festival, Wanderlust, has events all over North America, all year long. Wanderlust uses a newsletter signup app as a way to stay connected with fans and tell them what’s happening where and when.
Wanderlust’s app is nothing fancy, just a simple form to keep their fans in the loop of upcoming events.

#2: Reach Customer Support

The easier you make it for people to get in touch with you, the better.

Use a “contact us” app to allow your fans and customers to get in touch with representatives in specific departments within your company. This type of app helps you streamline the contact process and direct fans straight to whomever handles sales, customer support, press inquiries, etc.

You can link to this type of app whenever someone comments on a status update or asks for more information, keeping them inside your Facebook “property.”

Don’t let your timeline become a tech support forum—move the conversation to another channel. Use a customer service app to offload conversations that don’t need to take place on your timeline.

AOL knows their fans might be coming to their Facebook Page to receive customer support. To make it easier, they have built a customer service app that allow fans to submit their questions straight from Facebook. They also direct fans to their other customer support channels from within the app.
AOL has an app that hosts a simple customer support form dedicated to its Mail product.

#3: Make Appointments and Reservations

Small business owners who wear many hats should definitely use an app that will allow clients/customers to request or book appointments and reservations via Facebook.

You can ask for name, telephone number and times that customers want to come and then call them to book or confirm an appointment. This app is ideal for anyone who is in the service business, restaurants, hair salons, cleaning services, etc.

You can also iFrame in a more sophisticated reservation system that will actually make the reservation for your customers with something like OpenTable.

The Piano Bar uses their reservations app to book reservations and it also features an interactive map that directs customers to the restaurant.

Piano Bar makes it easy for fans to find the restaurant once they’ve made a reservation.

#4: Promote Special Events and Occasions

There are certain times of the year when brands and businesses want to capitalize on upcoming holidays.

Halloween, Thanksgiving and the variety of December holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, etc.) are the obvious ones, but there are plenty of others throughout the year.

In the U.S., there are always huge retail sales events for President’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Then there’s Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July… and the list goes on.

Seasonal apps can feature contests, quizzes, coupons and just about anything else you might want.

The California Avocado Commission uses seasonal apps as a way to keep fans engaging with their Facebook Page all year long. Their current “What’s New” app links to a Fourth of July recipe contest and provides resources for avocado lovers.

The California Avocado Commission frequently runs seasonal contests. This one was for the Fourth of July.

#5: Reward Fans

Reward your loyal fans and customers with access to special deals with a “Facebook exclusive” app.

Ideally your fans will get into the habit of checking your Page to see if there are offers available only to them. If you’re an e-tailer, you can even link fans from the app to your website where they can buy the deal. offers a “Mystery Discount Coupon” that fans of the brand access from its Facebook Page. Wouldn’t it be cool to discover that your favorite hotel in San Francisco was having a $79 a night special?
When you first come to the app, they request access to your Facebook Page and then start searching for a deal in your area. offers a mystery discount coupon to its fans.

#6: Collect Customer Feedback

Use a testimonials app where your customers can leave detailed feedback about their experience with your business. This feedback will give you valuable insight into what your existing customers like about your business and products, and what they’d like to see in the future. It’s also a place where they can leave suggestions for things you could do differently.

Your customers’ feedback is essential. Your customers tell you what they like about your product or services and what they don’t. They may also make requests for features they’d like you to add or other changes they’d like to see your company make.

Mutiny Kites, a top quality kitesurfing company, uses a testimonial app to hear about their kites’ performance from their customers. They also list the testimonials they’ve received from other satisfied customers on the same app.

Offering potential customers testimonials and customer feedback can help influence their buying decisions.

ShortStack fangates their testimonial app to grow their fan base while accepting feedback from customers.

Once fans “Like” ShortStack, they can give their suggestions for the platform.

Over to You

These are just a few ongoing ways you can use Facebook apps to achieve your business goals. Consider using the apps that best suit your needs. If you want to get started using Facebook apps, here is a comprehensive list on third-party platforms.

Many businesses are using apps every day to create stronger ties with customers and to increase the lines of communication.

What do you think? What apps have you tried? Is there one that you think every business should consider? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

author:Jim Belosic

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Getting Started Guide to LinkedIn Advertising

linkedin superman
If you are trying to reach other businesses and professionals, then Advertising on LinkedIn is one to try. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and other social advertising platforms, LinkedIn has targeting options so specific that you’ll be able to increase conversions while decreasing costs. In this post, we’re going to look at the essentials of creating a successful advertisement on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Advertising Plan Outline

Before we dive in to details, here is the quick outline of what you will need to execute a successful LinkedIn advertising campaign.

  • A LinkedIn account to use LinkedIn advertising. While you don’t need a completed profile or company page if you are linking to your website in your ad, having both are good for your overall online presence.
  • A definition of your ideal customer for ad targeting purposes.
  • A landing page customized for the product or service you are advertising targeted to your ideal customer.
  • An idea of how you want your ad to look by researching other ads on LinkedIn.
  • Strong headlines, descriptions, and images for your LinkedIn ad variations.
  • Time to review your ad variations to only use the ones with the best conversion rates.
  • Time to measure your results to determine if LinkedIn ads are right for your business.

Now, let’s go into specifics!

1. Define Your Ideal Customer

Before you get started with any paid advertising campaign, you need to define your ideal customer. Otherwise, you won’t know who to target your ad to and might wind up spending more money than is necessary to convert with the right audience.

Try to be as specific as possible when defining your ideal customer. What type of company do they work for (technology, retail, restaurant, etc.)? what position are they in (manager, sales, executive, etc.)? Where are they located? and so on.

If you’re not sure about these details, take a look at your current client list and see if they are LinkedIn. Specifically, look at the bottom of company pages to find basic about information…

linkedin company information

Then look under the How You’re Connected area to find people from the company that you are connected with.

linkedin company connections

You can then note job titles, skills, and other important details that might come in handy for your LinkedIn ad targeting.

2. Create One (or More) Landing Pages

Once you’ve defined your ideal customer and determined what you want to advertise to them, make sure you have created landing pages that sell those ideal customers and your advertised product or service.

Some great landing pages to use in your LinkedIn advertising campaign include:

  • Pages for specific products or services with emphasis on how they can help your ideal customer.
  • Free trial offer pages for your product or service.
  • Squeeze pages to build your company’s mailing list by offering free content or discounts.

If you need help with landing pages, be sure to refer to the huge collection of articles here with landing page tips and landing page examples.

Also, if you sell products, you can look at my favorite landing page examples from Shopify. They have over 100 targeted landing pages for a wide variety of businesses including those selling services, construction equipment, and office supplies. Targeted landing pages can help increase conversion rates dramatically.

3. Research Other LinkedIn Ads

If you need a little inspiration, you can find LinkedIn ads while browsing most parts of the site at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.
linkedin ads sidebar

These ads are shown to you based on information in your professional profile. When you are viewing your main LinkedIn newsfeed, keep scrolling down. As the page shows you older activity from your network, it will also refresh the ads so you can see more than just the first three that match your profile.

As you do this, note which headlines, descriptions, and images stand out most to you. You may even want to click through to see what landing pages the advertiser is using if the ads are similar to what you will be creating.

4. Create Your LinkedIn Ad

Now that you have your ideal customer defined and your targeted landing pages created, you are ready to create your ad. To get started, go to LinkedIn Advertising, sign in with your LinkedIn account, and start a new campaign.

linkedin ad creation

For each campaign, you can create up to 15 ad variations. This can help you test different headline, description, image, and landing page combinations to find the one that works best on your ideal customer. Note that all 15 variations will have the same targeting criteria – you will have to create a new campaign per different targeting profile.

When you put in your landing page, be sure to use UTM parameters to help identify traffic coming to your landing page from your LinkedIn ad. You can use Google’s URL builder to easily create the correct URL structure to identify the ad traffic in your Google Analytics.

5. Target Your Ad

Once you have entered your ad variations, you will then target your ad towards a specific audience. You can target your ad to be shown to people based on location, company industry and size, job title and seniority, school, skills, groups they belong to, gender, and age. As you narrow down your audience, you will be shown an estimate of the audience size.

linkedin estimated target audience

Be sure to keep targeting your ad to as specific of an audience as possible. The goal isn’t to have a huge potential audience to click on it. The goal is to have a targeted audience who will not only click through, but also convert. This will keep your advertising costs low and conversions high.

6. Set Your Budget

Next, you will set your budget. You can choose a CPC campaign (cost per click) or a CPM campaign (cost per 1,000 impressions).
linkedin ad budget

If the goal is conversions, then you’ll most likely want to choose the CPC option. If the goal is increased visibility for your business, then you’ll most likely want to choose the CPM option.

7. Focus on Successful Variations

If you created multiple variations of your ad, you can visit the LinkedIn ad analytics, click on your campaign, and see the impressions vs. click through rate for each of the variations.

linkeidn analytics variations

Here, you can toggle off the least successful variations so that your high converting ones are showed prominently. You can also edit each variation in order to keep testing different copy, images, and landing pages to find the combination that delivers the best results.

9. Measure the Results

There are three ways to measure your LinkedIn ad campaign results. The first is by viewing your LinkedIn ad analytics to see the clicks by date range and by campaign.

linkedin analytics

If you used UTM parameters for Google Analytics, you can see more information about visitor behavior from the ad to your website by looking under Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns.

google analytics linkedin ads

If you don’t use UTM parameters, you can look under Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals to see traffic from the entire LinkedIn network.

google analytics linkedin referral

Here, you can see the difference in traffic from your ad compared to other areas like your profile, company page, search results, groups, and other LinkedIn areas.

The combination should help you decide if your LinkedIn ads are giving you the results you need compared to other social advertising platforms as well as compared to other activity on LinkedIn.

Do you use LinkedIn advertising? What results have you seen? Please share in the comments!

author: Kristi Hines

Thursday, 4 July 2013

How to Choose the Right Type of Facebook Contest

Are you thinking of launching a Facebook contest or giveaway?

Is your goal focused on recruiting new fans? Collecting qualified emails? Engaging your existing fan base?

How can you be sure the type of contest you choose fits your Page and your goals?

Choosing the right type of contest to run on Facebook can be a challenge.

To help you decide what will work best for your goals, here are six types of contests you can run on Facebook.

#1: Sweepstakes Campaigns

A sweepstakes is a great vehicle for collecting email addresses from existing or new fans.

Participants enter and a winner is chosen by a random draw on a specified date.

A sweepstakes campaign shows your participating friends and provides various sharing features.

Sweepstakes are the contest of choice if you want to maximize the number of participants without spending a lot of time on the effort. But it has its drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know:

The pros: Sweepstakes are easy for the Page admin to set up and easy for participants to use. An excellent choice to engage your existing fan base and recruit new fans. The entry process is generally fast, which helps you to convert a higher percentage of participants and get more fans through the process quickly.

The cons: The user experience is a non-event. And they aren’t always as fun as some other promotion formats, so your participants’ experiences may not make an impression for your brand. A sweepstakes contest is not good for leveraging viral reach through share, invite buttons and any other of Facebook’s automatic sharing options.

If you want your participants to remember you next year, this is not the contest for you!

#2: Instant-Win Contests

Instant-win contests are an excellent choice for recruiting new fans and they engage your existing fan base.

Instant-win contests are almost as simple as a sweepstakes, except the contest works like a slot machine. So users know immediately whether they’ve won or lost, and are encouraged to return for another chance.

An instant-win contest where you can see the latest winners.

Due to the fast-paced user experience, you’ll convert new fans more quickly. This promotion format is a little more fun than the sweepstakes, so it’s slightly more memorable and may leave a lasting impression for your brand.

The pros: Instant-win contests are easy for the Page admin to set up and easy for participants to use. This format is a good choice for maximizing the number of participants without your team spending a lot of time and effort on management. The user experience will likely be more memorable than the sweepstakes, as participants will not have to wait to know if they have the winning ticket!

The cons: The instant-win contest still doesn’t cut it as the ultimate brand awareness tool. Given the nature of the contest, you’ll probably not experience high virality through share, invite buttons and other Facebook automatic sharing options.

Choose one of the more “fun” contest options below if you want a contest to help you create brand awareness.

#3: Photo Contest

You’ve got a hot product, and your fans can’t wait to share what they’re doing with it! If you’re looking to engage and reward your existing fan base while driving up interactions on your Page, look no further: Facebook loves photo contests!

Facebook frictionless sharing will share each participant’s vote on their timeline and on their friends’ ticker and newsfeed. Make sure your contest has frictionless sharing built in.

As votes play a role in the selection of the winners, some people will try to game the system. Be sure to choose an app that has built-in fraud protection and moderation.

Here's an example of a photo contest.
In the image above, the MV Agusta Brutale Page allows fans to showcase their bikes through a photo contest.

The pros: Photo contests are relatively easy for Page admins to set up. An excellent choice to engage your existing fans who must take an active role in the game by submitting their entry and/or voting for others. Fans will remember their experience more than with a contest that does not make them part of the process. Every vote a photo receives will contribute to your Page’s viral reach as the vote is shared on the voter’s timeline, ticker and newsfeed.

The cons: While fans love photo contests, the necessary effort required to enter may inhibit participation of existing and new fans. Poor fan recruitment also means poor email collection. If your goal is to collect a lot of qualified emails, stay away from the photo contest.

Managing a photo contest will require more time and attention than other promotion formats. You’ll have to monitor the game closely, which means you’ll have to spend much more time on the contest than on a simple sweepstakes or instant-win campaign.

#4: Let Your Fans Vote

Fan vote is the win-win contest for engaging your fan base. You’ll get helpful insights from your customers on your newest product or idea, and your fans get to participate in creating their next purchase.

Simply provide some examples of your next product model, color or menu item, and let your fans choose which one they like best!

A fan vote can also be just for fun: this fan vote contest lets you choose your favorite president during the 2012 presidential election.

While not as time-consuming as photo contests, fan vote contests come with the same great viral reach opportunity. Every vote will generate a story on Facebook.

The pros: Fan vote contests are easy for Page admins to set up and manage. This type of promotion is easy for fans to participate in, requiring just one vote to participate. An excellent choice to engage your existing fan base. Fans who participate are generally interested in the outcome and will remember their experience. Every vote will contribute to your Open Graph viral reach.

The cons: Fan votes offer poor fan recruitment as there is usually nothing to win, but this can be improved by integrating a sweepstakes among your voters.

#5: Quiz Your Audience

So far we’ve drawn a line between engaging your fans and recruiting new ones. A quiz does both.

Though quizzes generally don’t have the same draw as a photo or fan vote contest, they can offer a fun experience to the fans you already have. To drive up participation, you may need to offer a mixture of prizes to random participants and your highest scorers.

An example of a quiz to find out if you’re a Facebook marketing expert.

The pros: Quizzes are excellent for recruiting new fans (for popular organizations or themes) and engaging your existing fan base. The format offers a positive and memorable user experience and promotes viral reach through Facebook sharing options as participants share their score and challenge their friends.

The cons: Quizzes are time-consuming for the Page admin, as they have to write the copy for questions and answers as well as find one visual per question. Quizzes also require more work for setup. Because participants are asked to invest a few minutes of their time to answer questions, participation may suffer.

#6: Take a Personality Test

Personality tests are another popular contest for fan engagement.

Brands can create personality profiles that reflect facets of their products and services and fans who take the quiz are given a brand-related personality profile based on their answers.

Participants and their friends love to discover and share each other’s profiles, so you can rack one up for viral reach.

A personality test to discover which kind of Facebook marketer you are.

The pros: Personality tests work well for recruiting new fans and engaging your existing fan base. The format gives each user a positive and memorable user experience. Viral reach is extended through Facebook sharing options as participants share their personality and invite their friends to participate. With a little creativity, this type of contest can be a really fun experience for your fans.

The cons: As with a quiz, a personality test will be more time-consuming for an admin as they will have to write the copy for the questions, answers and profiles, as well as find one visual per question. This format also asks participants to invest a few minutes of their time to answer questions so participation may suffer; presenting a creative and/or fun test will be key to getting a good conversion rate.

Don’t approach this type of contest unless you have time to draft creative profiles and questions to associate with them.

Use the Contest That Best Suits Your Needs

Facebook contests are a great way to engage your existing fan base and recruit new fans. The contest you choose should depend on the experience you want to give and the goal you’re trying to achieve.

People who don’t know you well will be more likely to respond to something quick and easy. So when it comes to recruiting new fans, the simpler the contest process the better. The less effort required for people to enter, the bigger the number of participants you’ll have. Aim for a sweepstakes or an instant win.

Think about the experience your contest participants will have and what they will respond best to. When it comes to offering a “fun” experience, contests such as a quiz or personality test are much better options than a sweepstakes or instant win that offer hardly any experience at all.

What do you think? What is your experience with Facebook contests? What contest type do you love or dislike? Let us know in the comments section below!

author: Emeric Ernoult