While consistent posting aspirational images and inspiring quotes on Facebook can be a good strategy to sustain interest in your brand, competitions are where the real engagement comes into play.

As you scroll through your newsfeed you’ll notice competitions offering the chance to win everything from a packet of the latest superfood tea to an all expenses paid trip to Fiji. You’ve probably entered a few yourself with the hope that you’ll be the lucky one drawn but if you’re like me, you’re never that lucky.

Businesses use competitions as an ongoing marketing strategy because they increase engagement on their Facebook page which in return results in more customers.  

But what does engagement really mean? In Facebook terms this includes how many likes, comments and shares your post gets. It also means how many people have clicked on your image (bonus points if you use multiple images), followed a link to an external website, viewed your video or clicked on your profile for more information.

Why is engagement important? Well at it’s most basic level, more comments and likes on your post are instant acknowledgement by your fans that they give their thumbs up to your product/service. But as you’re aware, Facebook is super smart. They’ve developed complicated algorithms that determine who sees your post based on how users have engaged within a certain time frame.

So, if engagement is how your brand gets seen by more people, competitions are the way to ensure more people engage which as a results attracts more potential customers.

Here are 6 ways competitions increase engagement on Facebook, but for ideas for competitions you could run, click here.

1. More followers

By adding a like-gate to your competitions via a Facebook app, you require all entrants to follow your Facebook page to enter. This not only means you are only getting entries from people who are genuinely interested in your product/service, but you’re ensuring you’ll be able to communicate with them after the competition is over.

2.  Viral effect

Social media has the ability to go viral which means people share your content on their own platforms increasing the reach of the post. Competitions that require entrants to either share something on their own profile or are incentivised in someway to engage their followers will be more likely to see a viral effect. One way to do this is by creating competition with a voting element that encourages entrants to share with their Facebook following in order to get more votes.

3. Builds awareness

You’ve worked hard to get someone to enter your competition, now you want them to share with their community who are likely to have a similar interest in your product/service. Add a component to your competition that encourages sharing or tagging people in your post. While you it’s against Facebook’s guidelines to make this a condition of entry, you can use the competition to develop a dialogue with entrants by asking them questions or getting them to tag someone who they’d love to share your prize with.

4. Boosts email database

When creating a competition it should always be a requirement for them to submit their email address to enter. As you’re aware, your Facebook posts are only reaching a very small number of your followers organically (1-2%) however when you have a database, your email reaches 100% of your list (find out why your email database is important here). You can create a competition page on your website or develop a form via your email provider as simple way to capture entries.

5. Builds a community

Use your product/service as a prize for user generated content which means photos, videos, posts your fans create on their own Facebook pages. This strategy allows you to adopt the communities of your fans which develops greater trust in your brand via authentic, un-intrusive, valuable content.

6. Creates excitement

Everyone loves a freebie, so running a competition is a great way to spark your audience’s attention. Running a competition on Facebook in line with a new product launch is a great way to capitalise on that attention as fans will already be in a place where they’re keen to learn more.

Before running a competition on Facebook, make sure you have read through the guidelines here.