Facebook Competitions For Sponsors

Why Your Facebook Competitions For Sponsors Suck

November 4th, 2015 Posted by

In marketing, being where your customers are is an important thing. That’s why Facebook is so attractive. Running Facebook competitions is a simple and effective way to deliver value for sponsors.

Your competitions probably suck though.

There are two reasons your Facebook competitions for sponsors probably suck; one, you aren’t adding as much value as you could for a sponsor and two, you are probably breaching Facebook’s Pages Terms (and maybe even the Law).

You Are Only Renting an Audience

For me, one of the real and tangible goals of marketing is building your own audience and the only way you can truly do that is by capturing personal data (address, email, phone). With that, you then have permission to talk to them and a mechanism to do it by.

As a rights holder, this is something you should probably be doing for a sponsor. You should be using your Facebook reach to help them build their own audience who they may then be able to turn into customers.

However, whenever you communicate on someone else’s platform, all you are doing is renting that audience. You do not own it. The Radio owns the audience, the television owns the audience and Facebook owns the audience.

Just because your page has X number of likes doesn’t mean you have an audience of X that you can easily contact. Facebook does. No doubt, your Facebook page is a valuable channel, so it should be, but to drive the rented audience point home, just think about what you’d do if Facebook was no longer there. How would you contact all those fans? You can’t.

That’s why your Facebook competitions suck; you aren’t building an audience for your sponsors.

Facebook Organic Reach

It is a common misconception that when a brand posts something on their Facebook page that everyone who likes the page will see it in their timeline.

Instead, the average person has 1,500 possible news stories that Facebook could serve to them every time they log in. So, Facebook uses an algorithm to try and serve the best content to users.

Reports tell us that when a brand posts on their page that they only organically reach 2-4% of the people that like their page. It isn’t just about the sheer volume of content, Facebook also has a business model, so they want you to pay to reach more people. Basically it is advertising.

Breaching Facebook’s Pages Terms

The other reason your Facebook competitions suck is because you are breaching Facebook’s Pages Terms (the things you agree to abide by in order to use the platform). I always shake my head when I see rights holder’s breaching the terms because they aren’t that long and they are really simply written. Check them out here. Of particular interest is E. Promotions.

You’ll note that Facebook expects you to abide by any laws by which you are governed in relation to running competitions (more on that later). You’ll also note that “Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).

That’s pretty straight forward. So, if your competition entry requires me to share your post or tag my friends then you are breaching the Terms.

The result could be your page being taken down. Good luck getting it back up and good luck explaining to the Boss what happened.

Breaking The Law

First off, the rules across States and Territories in Australia vary, so you’ll need to check in with your local authorities. However, as a general rule of thumb, a competition that involves an element of skill e.g. tell us in 25 words or less, does not require a permit. Competitions that are based on chance, such as a random draw, do require a permit as they are basically lotteries.

Let alone it being unprofessional, do you really have the time to be dragged into a dispute with a disgruntled competition entrant who has made a complaint to the Government about how you are running illegal competitions? It certainly won’t look good with the sponsor’s name attached to it.

It’s Not Hard

Throwing up a competition to help activate a sponsor on Facebook is not hard. However, why aren’t you adding real value to them by helping them build a list; an audience they can own?

The easiest way to do this is to use a 3rd Party App like www.woobox.com. For about $10 a month you can easily set up awesome looking competitions that integrate photos, hashtags and most importantly, data capture (email, address, phone). Plus, it looks great not just on the desktop but on the mobile as well.

Here Is How It Would Work

A few weeks ago, I saw a local rights holder run a Facebook competition for a sponsor who is a resort about 2 hours away. It is a cracking location and you could win 3 nights accommodation for 4 people.

The competition made sharing the post a part of the entry. First mistake (breach of Pages Terms). The rest was OK; like the post and like the sponsor’s page and tell them in 25 words or less why it would be great to win. However, there was no capture of details. Second mistake (not building an audience).

Don’t even get me started on the whole 25 words or less thing. It is just a barrier to people entering and reduces the effectiveness of the competition for the sponsor. Why make it so hard?

Using Woo Box; the rights holder could run a competition using four awesome images of some of the great activities you could undertake at the resort. Think mountain biking, bushwalking, a nice meal and a massage. Then, simply ask people to enter by voting for which one they would most look forward to if they were to win.

This is good on a couple of fronts. Firstly, it is super easy to enter and secondly, it makes people project themselves to the sponsor’s resort and that creates emotion. “Geeze, I’d love a massage!”

To complete the entry, people simply provide their email and/or phone number. That builds a list for the sponsor which they can use to follow-up with a message along the lines of “Sorry you didn’t win our recent competition through ABC. We love massages as well and that’s why we thought we’d shout you one if you come and stay with us for two nights in November.”

Why Not Boost It?

Earlier, I outlined that organic reach is low so why not boost your competition and get it in front of more people? On Facebook, you can boost just to your fans or you can boost to a wider audience through Facebook’s highly targeted data that will let you boost your post by, among other things, age, gender, location and interests.

Do It Right

Facebook competitions are a great way to add value to sponsors but make sure you are not only doing it within Facebook’s Terms and the Law, but also ensure you are delivering the maximum value you can for the sponsor.


Daniel Oyston - SponServe

Daniel Oyston // Director

Combining sponsorship experience with a vast range of marketing, branding and stakeholder engagement roles, across many different industries, Daniel specialises in helping organisations leverage their sponsorship agreements, communication channels and content to ensure rights holders and sponsors realise return on investment.


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