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How To Use Contests to Generate Sales Leads

How To Use Contests to Generate Sales Leads - 315

How To Use Contests to Generate Sales Leads - 315

Marketing is vital to all business. Large organizations have money and resources at their disposal. Small businesses and start-ups have to be creative to compete. How do you get your name in front of prospective customers and generate leads?

A fun way is to a run contest via social media. Incorporated correctly into your marketing plans these are a great way to spread the word about your company, provide a line of communication, and increase sales.

But how do you organize and run an online contest?

Here are some examples of how to use contests to generate sales leads:

  • Like and Share
    Ask fans to like and share your business page or a photo on the page. The winner is the person who shares it the most or gets the most likes, after sharing.Offer an incentive depending on what kind of business you have. It could be a discount on a product or service or a freebie. Make sure whatever they’re sharing, clearly shows your business or service. Be sure to include an end date and reveal the winner once the competition is over. A photo of the winner and their prize could be used as a spin off promotion of this contest.
  • Photo Contest
    Ask fans to take a photo of themselves with your product and post it to your page. Collect all the photos and put them in an album with the contest rules. The competitors won’t be able to resist sharing their photo and asking their friends to vote for them. The winner is the photo with the most likes.
  • Guess What?
    This is a fun way to interact with your fans and customers and can be tailored to your company. If you’re a local business you could take a picture, from a creative angle, of a building in your area and ask people what it is. Or take a very close up picture of one of your products making it difficult to know exactly what it is. The winner is chosen randomly from all the correct answers.
  • Be Creative
    This competition is a great way to get your name out and get some creative ideas for you. Example: A restaurant creates a new dish and asks people to come up with a name for it. The most likes would be the winner, and the winner would be the first person to try the new dish.Or for a company launching a new product line, ask fans to describe the product. The most original description would be the winner. There are many ways to make this type of contest work for your business.

There are apps available to run social media competitions. One of them is Tabsite. Tabsite is very user-friendly and allows you to create and manage apps and contests on your blog, website, and Facebook page. Tabsite offers easy set-up without coding or programming making it a good choice for most businesses.

Competitions are fun and can be customized for your business. They create a buzz and generate traffic to your social media and ultimately to your website where you can convert them into leads. Be sure to direct them to a landing page specific to the contest and include a ‘call to action’.

Checklist and Tips for Running a Successful Facebook Photo Contest

facebook-contestsMarketers are always looking at finding new and effective ways to reach their target audience.  With Facebook being a major social network force where potential customers are spending significant time, maximizing the effectiveness of your company Facebook page is a critical consideration.

Facebook Contests offer great engagement potential!  Here’s the massive resource compilation on Facebook Contests!


  • Drive Traffic
  • Increase “Likes” of the fan page
  • Extend audience reach to friends of current fans
  • Boost engagement and activity on a fan page
  • Generate buzz and viral sharing

The bottom line, though, is does a contest impact sales?    

The answer:  YES!

How?  Research shows that persons who become a fan are more likely to purchase from that brand.


Contests Overview:

A contest is different than a sweepstakes or a deal offer where a users enters or gets the deal and is done.  Contests typically involve voting by the public or judging by a select group in order to determine the winner. While photo contests are the most common type routinely used, there are other types of contests such as video entry, essay or caption.

Note: All contests on Facebook must use third-party apps displayed on a Facebook Page tab. This is necessary to comply with  Facebook’s promotion policy. TabSite offers you all the needed features to comply with Facebook promotion policy. (see 5 Benefits of using a 3rd Party App for Facebook Contests)

Types of Facebook Contests:

Photo Voting Contests:

There are several types of contests — users might submit photosvideos, or essays, for example. Typically with a photo contest, there can be a like gate so visitors must “Like” the page to enter (optional).  Users then submit their image and the entry with the most votes by a certain end date could win, or a two-stage contest could incorporate a second round with however many finalists you choose.  Alternately, the winner could be determined by a panel of judges, but allowing fan voting increases traffic to your page and drives more interactions.

Instagram Contests:

This is a specific multi-social network contest hosted on a Facebook page but using Instagram.  Instagram mobile users load a picture to that service and in the description tag it with a specific #hashtag that the contest has set.  This pulls in the image from Instagram to the Facebook page tab where Facebook fans can vote on the image.



Contest Tips for Best Results:

Here’s a few Contest Tips to help yours be a success:

  • Relevant Prize:   The prize value should be in line with the time commitment the entrant will invest in order to develop the entry. (Simply offering a iPad does not help you attract relevant fans if you sell fashion jewelry!)
  • Keep the contest moving!    Do not run a month-long contest. The attention span of a Facebook user is not geared toward keeping track of an entry and voting once a day for 30 days. A better span is 5-7 days, or perhaps 10 days if it’s a two-stage contest (initial and final rounds).
  • Get Voters to Return again, set voting to once per day.    This encourages entrants to get voters to come back each day, a perfect situation for your Page!  You WANT voters to come back and interact with your contest and page.  This is valuable for gaining more affinity connection to your page so your posts appear more in their news feed.
  • Consider a 2 Stage Contest.  2 Stage contests include a main open round of entry and voting, followed by a second round of narrowed down “finalists” voting.    A Case Study on a 2 Stage Photo Contest showed that engagement could be increased, particularly by the fact that the initial round of entries generated voting interest and therefore voters were motivated to come back again in the second stage to see who the finalists were and vote again.  More stages with daily voting = more interaction and engagement.

Contest Promotion Tips

Simply having a contest or promotion live is not the end. You’ve got to capture attention and drive fans and their friends to the promotion.

Getting the attention of and making it easy for all fans (desktop and mobile) to access the promotion on Facebook can totally make or break your promotion getting traction!  It can mean the difference between 5 entries and 500 entries; between 5 Likes and Shares and 5000 Likes and Shares!

So, the circle of connection between a fan and a Facebook Page can grow with use of apps like a Facebook Contest.   In short, the more a Facebook Page can engage a user such as through a contest where there are the potential for multiple “Likes”, Comments, and Shares that connect the fan and the Page, the more the affinity of the user to the Page is boosted.  Contests can be a powerful tool for Facebook marketers as part of social strategy to growth their social community.


With the launch of hashtag tracking by Facebook, this becomes a new tool to use in your contests.  Encourage use of a hashtag in sharing by doing the following:

1. Include a #hashtag you have chosen in the posts you share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + (etc.).

2. Include your hashtag in the preset “Tweet”, “Facebook Share”, and other items that are part of the contest setup.

3. Include your hashtag in your contest text and instructions on the contest tab for further reinforcement.


  1. Announce UPCOMING Promotion via social networks:  Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, and company Email marketing lists
  2. Then announce the LAUNCH
  3. Repeat Launch Announcement “Reminder our contest is live!”
  4. Daily Reminder Posts at varying times best for your audience
  5. Update Status of Promotion – “4 days remain…”  “2 front runners with over 200 votes each!”
  6. Nearing End Reminder Posts – “Only 48 hours left to vote!”
  7. Announce Winners Posts – “We have a winner!  Click here to see the results!”


 Facebook Photo Contest Case Study >>


Be sure to use the Smart URL.



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Slides from the TabSite Webinar:

What questions do you have about Facebook Contests?


TabSite offers Facebook contest apps for Facebook starting at $19/month.  Learn more about TabSite contests and promotion tool options here:

POST669 contest button call out 6 Ways Facebook Contests Can Increase Engagement


Guest Post – 3 Tips to Help Run Facebook Contests the Right Way

GUEST POST FROM ANDREA VAHL, Community Manager for Social Media Examiner.


According to Grandma Mary…

You gotta get out there and market people! You can’t just sit on your duff!



Facebook marketing

Did you know that a running a Facebook Contest is a fantastic way to grow your Page and also help you grow your e-mail list?  But how do you run one the right way?  Let me tell you, there a lot of people doing it wrong out there and they are in danger of having their Page shut down!

Let’s dive into what you need to know about running a promotion or contest on Facebook.


1.  If your Prize isn’t available to everyone, you MUST use a Facebook App to gather entries for your contest.

You can give away a discount or coupon to everyone on your Page by just telling them about it in a Post.  But if you are going to pick just one winner or a couple winners, then people have to actually enter on a separate area (usually on a separate tab on your Facebook Page).  There are many Facebook contest apps to choose from, all with different features.


2.  You cannot tell people to “Like to Enter” or “Comment to Enter” or “Share to Enter” as the sole entry mechanism.

You can require a Like to enter your contest but you must have them enter somewhere separately.  You can’t draw a random winner from all your Likes or all the people who Like your page because most of them didn’t consent to be entered into your contest.  Facebook also does not allow use of their tools (like share, commenting, photo uploading to your Timeline, etc) as the sole mechanism to enter your contest.  Make sure you read their Promotions Guidelines before you get started.


Certain contest apps will allow bonus entries if people Share your contest with their friends and get their friends to enter.  That can be great for getting people to spread the word about your contest.  But you can’t say something like “share this post to enter” or “upload a photo to our Timeline and the one with the most Likes wins”.  Those are no-nos.  There are many contest apps that have official photo and video contests that are done right.  Use one of those!


3.  You can post about a contest on Facebook that you are running somewhere else.

If you have an entry form on your website for your contest, you can definitely direct people to that place to go and enter your contest.  That is not a problem!  If you are running some type of Twitter contest where you have a method of entering by tweeting something, or a Pinterest contest that’s happening over on Pinterest, then by all means, share that information on Facebook!  Facebook just wants to make sure you aren’t using their functionality as the only way people enter.


Hope that clears everything up! 

Want to go more in-depth with Facebook promotions and Facebook Marketing?  Consider Andrea Vahl’s online, self-paced course in Facebook Marketing!




vahl.jpgAndrea Vahl is a Social Media Consultant and Speaker who is passionate about helping small businesses understand and leverage the power of social media to actually grow their business.

She co-authored the book Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and is the Community Manager for Social Media Examiner, consistently ranked in the top 3 Marketing Blogs in the world on the AdAge Power150 list.  Andrea also doubles as, Grandma Mary – Social Media Edutainer