Lauren Blecher

In part one of this blog series, we looked at how you can ace Facebook marketing with Timeline. But if you’ve been diligently following best-practice Facebook marketing tips and your Page is still not taking off like you’d hoped, it may be time to invest in developing a Facebook promotion calendar.

Facebook promotions can provide a powerful incentive for increased Likes and engagement. In fact, 67 percent of people Like a brand Page solely because they expect to receive exclusive offers and discounts. When planned correctly social promotions can effectively drive referral traffic, support lead gen, increase conversion rates and build brand loyalty. Some Brafton clients are seeing 1,000 percent+ engagement increases translating into leads and long-term, loyal fans from Facebook promotion campaigns. (Check out the image above, depicting one B2C client’s impressive 784 inbound leads in a matter of weeks!)

Get started with a winning Facebook promotion.

1. Define your goals.

What do you want to get out of this promotion? Evaluate where your Facebook page is currently and specifically outline where you’d like to be post-promotion. Then decide how you’ll quantitatively measure your success. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, your primary goal may be to increase Page Likes. If you want to find your most loyal customers, build a contest that requires photos of your fans using your brand’s product or services. Requiring user generated content will identify who is willing to go the extra mile to interact with your brand, while also giving you bonus promotional material.

2. Know your limitations.

It’s imperative your sweepstakes or contests comply with Facebook’s promotional rules. Check out the full list of restrictions here, and make sure that you don’t require your fans to take any banned actions to enter your Facebook promotion. Be sure that your Page hosts the promotion on a canvas page or Facebook app. A good rule of thumb is to consult your company legal team when creating the official promotion rules, as well.

3. Plan your entry form carefully.

The entry form is one of the most important elements of the entire promotion. It will be a vehicle for your promotion ROI, as this will determine what information you’ll be able to collect from your audience and potential customers. If you’re looking to grow your newsletter subscription or build lead generation, the entry form provides a great opportunity to ask for email addresses. If you’re specifically looking for customer feedback on a new product, including a short survey is an effective way to gauge sentiment from your fan base.

4. Develop a dynamic promotion calendar.

Initially, a simple sweepstakes promotion may suffice to increase brand reach and Page Likes. However, it will be important to adjust your Facebook promotion strategy as your Page grows to both address your shifting market and keep your fans engaged. In general, brands in the early stages of Facebook marketing would be smart to plan a promotion calendar that can progress from promotions with a low barrier of entry to high barrier of entry.

Here’s what a progressive Facebook promotion marketing campaign might look like:

First, you’ll want to create brand awareness and generate new Likes to increase your reach. The most effective way to do this will be to create a simple sweepstakes promotion. Chances are your prize budget will be smaller at this point in the game, but this shouldn’t limit your success! Just make sure you take the motivational value of the prize into consideration while you are planning the rules for your promotion. For example, if you’re running a promotion for 10 lucky customers to win a free low-cost product (for example, a local eatery might give away a pizza), your fans will most likely be willing to fill out a quick form to enter. However, they will not be interested in creating a video entry on why they love your restaurant’s pizza – unless maybe you’re offering free pizza for a year. The entry form that requires the least amount of effort from your audience will receive the most entries. This would clearly be ideal in brand awareness or lead gen driven promotions.

Once you get your feet wet with promotions, you might start to set bigger goals – and you should offer bigger prizes. Promotions that require user-generated content like videos or fan photos will inherently yield fewer entries, but will instead provide invaluable customer testimonials and identify brand evangelists. In turn, your brand will be in a better position to strategize a loyalty marketing plan with higher fan engagement.

Get the word out.

So, your first Facebook promotion is up and running. Now what? Make sure your target audience knows how and where to enter. Here are a few tips for spreading the word:

1. Design a photo announcement to take advantage of EdgeRank’s emphasis on pictures.

Upload an eye catching photo with your promotion announcement. This will automatically increase your reach as photos and videos have heavier weight in Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. Not to mention, they are also much more likely to be shared than a standard text status update. Fun messaging and aesthetic graphics are hugely important in motivating fans to share your posts and spread the word!

2. Use Timeline’s new ‘pin’ function to feature important promotion announcements to the top of your wall.

Thanks to Timeline’s new pin feature, you can now make sure your visitors see your promotion highlighted above the fold on your Facebook page. Pinned posts remain at the top of your company’s wall for a week. This allows admins to post new content to the page without pushing the promotion announcement further down the Timeline.

3. Use the “About” section underneath the profile feature as a call to action.

As the Timeline “About” section sits directly beneath a Page’s profile photo, this is one of the most immediately visible sections. Take advantage of this highly visible area and use the opportunity to feature your promotion here as well.

A quick sentence on what entrants may win, how to sign up and where to sign up is ideal. Use call to action language so your Page visitors know what is expected of them.

4. Run a Sponsored Stories campaign to promote the launch of your sweepstakes.

If you have a bit of room left in your budget, consider running a Sponsored Stories campaign on Facebook. Sponsored Stories allow you to pay to feature newsfeed stories of fan interaction with your brand. Unlike Facebook Ads, Sponsored Stories are items that are already eligible to be a part your fans’ newsfeeds, but have an increased likelihood to be featured as part of the campaign. Sponsored Stories have proven to be a powerful ad campaign as they increase the reach of genuine connections a user’s friends or family members have made with your page. Sponsored Stories have been cited to be 46 percent more effective than a standard Facebook ad campaign, as they leverage friend recommendation and look very similar to organic Facebook activity.

5. Use your website, newsletters and other social media channels to cross promote your Facebook sweepstakes.

Finally, incorporate your promotion into every aspect of your online presence. Include effective calls to action on your company website. Temporarily add a link to the promotion in your company email signatures. Feature a banner linking to the promotion in your newsletter marketing campaign. Create a blog post announcing the start of the promotion and promote the post on all brand social media accounts. Taking advantage of every available channel will maximize your reach and promotion ROI.

Measure your success.

Now it’s time to evaluate your success. Clearly, this will largely depend on your initial promotion goals, and every brand will have different success rates. Here are some results Brafton’s clients have seen through promotions run by our social media teams:

B2B Client's weekly viral reach with Facebook promotion

When measuring your own success, be sure to take note what was effective as well as what you would do differently next time. Was the response greater or less than what you expected? Was there any confusion on basic promotion logistics like questions on how to enter or how the winner would receive the prize?

Use this experience to further success in your next promotion. For instance, if you received a significant amount of incomplete entry forms, try creating lowering your entry requirements for next time to increase your number of eligible entries.

Most importantly, don’t forget to thank your new fans!

It’s natural for a small portion of new Likes to unsubscribe from your Page after the promotion, but clearly you’ll want to minimize this effect as much as possible. Capitalize on the opportunity you have to foster your community of new Likes into loyal customers. Thank your promotion entrants with a unique discount code in appreciation of their efforts. Not only is this an effective welcome and retention gesture, but an opportunity to generate sales and increase product awareness.

We’ve seen Facebook promotions are a huge success for clients new to Facebook, and we hope this post will start you off on the right foot, too!