Why a Facebook Contest is a Bad Idea for Your Small Business

Facebook is an excellent place to businesses to gain instant popularity. People who would have never walked into their physical store can now find out all about a company by viewing their Facebook profile. Granted, most people can also find all they want to know about a company on their website, but Facebook gives users a different experience. Unlike your site, it’s in a community that millions people are familiar with. They expect your page to be a little less corporate than your site and much easier to interact with. All this being said, most would think that Facebook would be a great place to hold a contest. Before you do this, make sure it’s the right move for you.

Yes, Facebook contest can and have been very successful for some companies; however, unless you’re a large brand, this may not be the best idea for you. Here’s why:

You’re a local business with only one location

  • Recently, a friend of mine was trying to win a jewelry design contest. He needed the most amount of people to like the jeweler’s page and then like his ring design. To do this, he reached out to as many friends as possible to have them vote. Of course, I voted for his design and encouraged my network to do the same; however, after the contest was over (and he won by a landslide) I unliked the jeweler’s page. They were a small business jewelry store that was in a different state than me, why would I want to continue to see their updates?
  • This is why Facebook contests for local-only businesses may not be the best idea. Yes, you may be reaching a huge audience, but there’s a good chance that almost none of them will ever actual visit your store.

This doesn’t mean that small businesses should stay away from Facebook contests. If you’re a local business, it’s perfectly fine to have a contest, but be sure to tailor it to your local audience. Make the prize something that they need to visit your store to physically pick up. There’s a local pizza store in my hometown that has a huge local following. Something like offering a free pizza for a contest would be a great way for them to engage with local customers who are willing (and they will be willing for this pizza) to come to the store to claim their prize.

People like you and then hide/unlike you when contest is over

Like my jeweler example above, people will either hide your updates or unlike you after the contest is over. If you’re going to have a Facebook contest, it’s important to make sure that people have an incentive to keep following your business.

  • Keep in mind: People follow brands to get free stuff. Yes, they might want to know about your company and what you’re up to if they’re really invested in you, but face it, for the most part, people want free stuff.

Having more fans doesn’t really mean anything

    • Yes, having a lot of fans is important. Not only does it expand your network, but it makes you look more established and legitimate as a business; however, if your fan page has 10,000 fans and you spend time marketing to all of them when only 3% are your actual target audience, you’re wasting a lot of time.
    • A small follower count is ok, as long as those are the people who are actually going to buy (take my pizza example from above – they’ll never have 10,000 fans, but the couple hundred that they do have will actually buy from them on a regular basis).

Though having a contest on Facebook can initially increase hype and fans of your page, after the contest is over, what are you left with? Did it really increase sales or just follower counts? Focus your contests to something that can pay off for you in the end and you’ll find that, used correctly, Facebook contests can work for you.

3 thoughts on “Why a Facebook Contest is a Bad Idea for Your Small Business

  1. thanks of this article, even tho i agree with you on most part, i still think it is good to have a Facebook contest, it brings brand awareness, and in the long run it might mean, new business opportunity.

    • Bilal – you’re right, it can build brand awareness. I just wanted to point out why it may not work for all small businesses and should be thought out carefully before executed. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Pingback: 11 Reasons Why a Small Business Owner Should Avoid Facebook

Leave a Reply to Alexandra Barcelona Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s