Since Facebook became a vital marketing tool, and social media marketing became a distinct field of expertise on its own, Facebook contests have also become a crucial part of the machination to foster brand awareness, drive user engagement, and generate leads.
If there’s one thing people love more than to be on Facebook, it’s trying to win free stuff on the social site. This is just one reason why, even though the concept of Facebook contests have been around for years, it can still be an important element of social media marketing campaigns.
A great example of this is the contest concocted by home furnishing and hardware store Crate and Barrel. Their contest offered couples a chance to win a $100,000 dream wedding.
The rules of the contest, aptly named “The Ultimate Wedding Contest”, were quite simple: participants had to set a gift registry with a particular brand, post three images, and respond to three questions.
The prize at stake was enticing enough, but what made it transcendent were the aww-inducing love stories that the contest focused on, which generated even more interest.
In the end, analysis of the contest data showed that, in the span of 12 months, the Crate and Barrel Facebook page received some three million views, with the contest getting half a million votes. Further analysis showed that some 16,000 couples participated, resulting in gift registries amounting to around $35 million.
This might be just one example, but it hammers home the point that if done correctly, online contests can take all the metrics—engagement, fan base, relevant information collection, and user-generated content—to spike up.
That being said, here are a few important things to take note of when creating Facebook contests for your brand.
As with most things social media, nothing is set in stone, and that includes Facebook’s promotional terms of service. You’ll need to check the latest permutation of their guidelines should you choose to go the Facebook contest route, but the people over at ShortStack made an infographic about some of the basic guidelines.
What you CAN ask people to do:
- Like a post to enter
- Comment on a post to enter
- Message a Page to enter
- Like a Page to get access to a contest entry form
- Like as a means of voting
What you CAN’T ask participants:
- Share a Page to enter
- Like a different Page to enter
- Tag themselves in photos in exchange for a chance to win a prize
- Share the contest on a friend’s Timeline to receive additional entries
You may have the most brilliantly crafted Facebook contest ever, but if it doesn’t ride with the changing Facebook rules, then it’s all for naught.
Once you’ve taken note of the latest promotional terms of service on Facebook, here are a few of the best-known practices for contests.
- Brand Recognition
Proper positioning of the company/brand logo on the campaign is key. It has to be highly visible, able to identify with your brand, and build trust, which will lead to more user engagement.
- Easy-In Form
How many times has your interest been piqued by a contest only to give up on the prospect of joining because the entry form was too complicated? A few times, maybe? That’s too many if it’s your contest.
There are number of web tools you can use to make sure your opt-in form is both highly visible and easy to enter. Among the most suggested tools include ConstantContact, MailChimp, and Aweber.
- Clear Steps
Perhaps even more crucial than an uncomplicated opt-in form, is an equally easy to understand and execute steps to enter the contest. Keep the rules simple and the game engaging. Skip unnecessary steps for potential contestants, and make sure they fuel a broadened audience.
- Appropriate Call to Action
Just like the tip above, you need to be concise and direct with your call to action. If they need to like to enter, tell them immediately within the first line of your post.
Whether it’s sharing, liking, or commenting, you should be clear on what you need them to do.
- A Picture Paints A Thousand Words
Photos have been proven to generate more Likes on Facebook (about 53 percent more). But of course, carefully selecting which contest photo to use can be just as crucial.
A nice shirt or pair of sunglasses as a prize will always get attention, but a person seen beaming with glee from wearing that shirt or sunglasses will be even better.
- Use a Third Party
Facebook’s terms or service no longer require the use of third-party apps, but if you can, it’s still a good idea to use one. And if you’re going to use one, it’s also important to note that you should use an app that’s compatible with mobile devices as more and more users access Facebook that way.
Practices to Avoid
Setting up an online contest would also require you to be aware of practices that may not give you desirable outcomes. Prior knowledge is key so you won’t have to commit these mistakes.
- Requiring Sign-Up
People like prizes. Filling up sign-up forms, not so much. If you really must, the proper incentives for doing so must be in place.
- Giving Out an Irrelevant Prize
A shiny new tablet sure seems like a relevant prize—if you’re Apple, Samsung, or an electronics retail store.
Big prizes like that would certainly attract attention, but if it doesn’t relate to your business, chances are, you’re doing it wrong.
You’re going to want for the contestants to care about your product and brand. Giving away one of your yet to be released products not only gives them a sneak peek of what to expect from you, they can also generate some advanced buzz for it.
- Having One Big Winner
Having only one winner isn’t really a good idea for Facebook contests. Slim chances of winning turn potential audiences away. Even the lottery allows for more than one person to win.
- Running the Contest Too Long
One unfortunate side effect of the Internet and social media is shrinking attention spans. You want to keep them engaged, not lose them to disinterest over time.
You would want them to keep coming back to your page. Shorter duration of contests along with constant updates is key.
- Relying on Stock Photos
There are too many things on Facebook, and over reliance on stock photos would not make your brand stand out. You need something distinct, something unique. You want to engage your audience. Instead of using stock photos, you can commission a professional photographer to give you unique photos or you can take one yourself if you have the skills.
Just like any marketing campaign, you need to be clear about what you want to achieve with creating a Facebook contest. Once you’ve set clear goals and crafted a contest that’s equally direct to the point, keep in mind the above mentioned tips, and you should be fine.
This article was written by Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer and musician, web designer for Mozaico, and he also has a background in online marketing. You can follow him on Twitter @easyvince and on Google+.
#1 YouTube Banner Template: How to Create a Custom Banner for Free
The world’s population watches almost 5 billion YouTube videos every single day. That means YouTube is a massive market that you’re most likely not utilizing.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to get a professional footprint on YouTube. When you’re getting started, one of the most important features to focus on is your YouTube banner.
We’ll go into everything you need to know about creating a YouTube banner. Towards the end, we’ll recommend a few YouTube banner templates to get you started.
What is a YouTube Banner?
When you click on any given YouTube user’s name, YouTube brings you to that user’s channel. Here you can see all their videos and playlists. At the top of the screen is a banner with the YouTuber’s brand. This is a YouTube banner.
Click around on a few different users you follow to get a good idea about the different banners on the market. See what draws your eye and what you do and do not like.
If you’d like to find more tips on how to effectively create and use your YouTube profile page and videos for branding, be sure to check out these quick tips.
What are the Banner Specifications?
When you’re designing your banner, it’s important you follow the right specifications. People are watching YouTube on their phones, tablets, laptops, and even their TV’s. You need to make sure your banner renders properly on all these different screen sizes. You can make sure you get it right by following the specifications.
According to Google, your banner should meet the following specifications:
- Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
- Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
- Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off: 1546 x 423 px
- Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
- File size: 4MB or smaller
What Should I Include in My Banner?
Your banner is a representation of your brand. It should intrigue viewers, and give them a snapshot of what to expect from your channel. Make sure to include your brand name.
Here are the Best YouTube Banner Templates
There are several places you can get a high-quality YouTube banner template for free. Here are a few of our favorites.
Google has its own template designs for YouTube. Makes sense, after all, they do own YouTube.
Adobe is perhaps the best YouTube banner maker app available on the market. They let you create a design for free in minutes with no previous experience.
Canva offers several different template designs. They have available stock photography you can use, or you can use your own images.
It’s Easy and Vital To Get A Quality YouTube Banner
We’ve covered all the basics you need to know to get a quality YouTube banner. We’ve also listed some of the best places to get a YouTube banner template.
Getting a YouTube banner is an important start in a quality YouTube channel, but it’s only the start. Now you have a professional YouTube appearance!
The banner is vital for a professional appearance. But that alone isn’t enough. Regularly post quality videos to build traction for your YouTube presence.
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Instagram Checkout and the Move Toward Frictionless eCommerce
The number of hurdles standing between online shoppers and completing transactions is dwindling. The path to purchase is getting smoother as retailers move toward frictionless ecommerce. Gone are the days where shoppers must visit an ecommerce website to buy a product, especially if they originally spot the product on a social media platform.
Nowadays, social shopping is capable of enabling people to reduce the number of steps to checkout by allowing them to buy without exiting social media. Instagram Checkout is the latest feature geared toward making it easier to complete deals. Here’s more on this announcement and its potential impact on the ecommerce industry as a whole.
First, What Is Frictionless Ecommerce?
When you hear the word friction, you probably think of resistance. This force can be useful, like using sandpaper to smooth down rough wood. Or this force can be a hindrance, like trying to slide a piece of heavy furniture across the floor. In ecommerce, friction is undesirable because it means shoppers are meeting resistance when they try to proceed through the sales funnel.
Frictionless ecommerce is something sellers are seeking out because it allows them to “integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments,” according to BLM Technologies.
One of these natural environments is social media, an activity in which many users are spending a larger chunk of each day. It only makes sense to try to sell to people there, rather than requiring them to visit a separate website each time they want to browse or buy.
The ethos behind frictionless ecommerce tells us reducing the number of steps it takes to buy products online will motivate more people to stick around for as long as it takes to convert. Less hassle translates into more sales and a better customer experience.
Of course, it’s still vitally important to set up a responsive, fully featured online store complete with secure checkout. After all, some people won’t use social shopping. Today, leading platforms like Shopify offer free ecommerce website builders to help retailers run their stores. Branching out into frictionless ecommerce in the form of social shopping will help merchants capture even more sales by offering shoppers flexible options.
Building a Trusted Brand and Following Will Still Apply
As you can imagine, with more than a billion active users on the Instagram platform, it’s going to get quite competitive when it comes to ecommerce advertising. With that being said, this is where traditional authentic and organic followers and engagement will come into play.
We recently talked about the power and effectiveness of using a tool like Kicksta to automate the audience targeting and engagement process. For ecommerce and online stores, this is one of the best ways to put your Instagram marketing efforts on auto-pilot, which also reaching new audiences daily.
This also leads to better paid advertising and remarketing options as well. Once a user starts following your account, you have a clear indication that they are interested in what you have to offer.
Set up a new Instagram ad campaign that targets your existing followers, then compare the results with your outside targeting and default ad campaigns. We are sure the existing follower audience set will perform much better. You can visit their website here and watch the short video on their homepage to see how the process works.
The Rise of Instagram Checkout in Ecommerce
Instagram is a highly visual platform, allowing brands to connect with users through engaging images, videos and captions. If you’re an Instagram user, chances are you know the feeling of seeing something you like and wanting to know more about it — or perhaps even conducting an impulse purchase it on the spot.
Instagram Checkout aims to tap into the marketing prowess of this app by “allowing users to complete product purchases without having to leave the app.” It’s all of the convenience of online window shopping without even having to go into the store, except people can still get their hands on the product. Plus, after Instagram users enter their payment data once, the app saves it for future purchases. Thus, the purchasing journey remains inside a single app — making it more convenient and tempting for mobile shoppers who follow their favorite brands online.
At the moment, Instagram Checkout is a feature in beta testing available to about 20 top brands. An advanced version will be available to more merchants down the line, which means we all need to prepare for the wider acceptance of social shopping. Once this becomes the standard, online users will crave ultra-convenient experiences.
Instagram Checkout is an exciting new development on the horizon for ecommerce brands, and stores must embrace the move toward frictionless ecommerce to stay competitive.
7 Instagram Features Every Business Needs to Use for Marketing
Instagram is a fun platform for sharing pictures and video. However, as far as it pertains to businesses, it’s a lot more than that. For businesses, Instagram is a marketing device and quite an effective one at that.
Are you interested in using Instagram to market your business? Then read on. We’re going to teach you about 7 Instagram features which will enhance your business marketing campaigns.
Taking Advantage of Instagram Features When Marketing
A great many of Instagram’s features lend themselves to marketing. The best of these features include the following.
Instagram Stories work in the same way as Snapchat Stories, allowing you to post photos and videos for 24 hours before they disappear. Popular among all types of Instagrammers, they are frequently viewed and are great for attracting new followers.
Businesses have two options when it comes to using Instagram Story video: 1. They can post stories on their own Instagram pages, or 2. They can use Instagram Stories Ads. While the first option will provide some exposure for your business, the second option will provide more.
Why? Because it involves placing ads for your business in between the stories of Instagrammers that you don’t even know. As a result, you’ll be reaching customers who are entirely unfamiliar with your brand.
While Stories Ads cost money to post, they often end up bringing in more money than they cost. In other words, they’re usually worth a try.
2. Push Notifications
Another terrific feature for marketing on Instagram is the push notification. These are notifications which automatically send to specific followers upon the publishing of new posts. They work to keep top followers invested in your page.
Note, however, that getting followers to accept push notifications can be challenging. Unless your content is undeniably great, you’re going to have to be a little aggressive in getting followers to accept push notifications for your page.
One of the keys to doing this is to utilize calls to action. Simply telling visitors to enable push notifications for your page can be quite effective.
The other key is to post great content on a consistent basis while keeping non-value content to a minimum. The more valuable the content you post, the more valuable your page becomes, and the more your followers will want to frequent it. This leads to the enabling of push notifications which, in turn, leads to the conversion of more sales.
If you run a brick-and-mortar business, geotagging is a hugely valuable Instagram feature to utilize. By geotagging the photos you post, you make your business more visible on geographical searches. This is a great way to attract Instagram users who live in the geographical proximity of your business.
Note, however, that you must always be cognizant of whether you have geotagging turned on. If you’re not careful, you could accidentally geotag a photo or video that you wished to leave geographically anonymous.
4. Live Video
One of the best ways to build credibility and authenticity with your Instagram followers is by utilizing live video. Live video occurs in real-time, allowing you to communicate directly with your followers through page comments and voice.
Afraid that you might say something embarrassing? It won’t last for long. Instagram live videos disappear as soon as they’re done being broadcasted, ensuring that your faux pas isn’t picked apart by the masses.
You can use Live Video to discuss project updates, to show off new products, to showcase charitable efforts, and more. It’s all about making yourself and your business more familiar to your followers.
5. Photo Filters
A big part of marketing is building a brand. The goal is to evoke a feeling which is representative of your business. In evoking this feeling, you make your business instantly identifiable among the masses. Photo filters are also great for social profile branding. Take a look at these top brands that are doing social media profile branding correctly, then also consider how you can implement these same visuals into your own branding efforts.
There are a number of ways to do this on Instagram, but one of the most effective ways is through the use of photo filters. Using the same photo filters on all of your posts will provide your Instagram page with an overarching theme. This theme will become part of your brand and will help followers to identify your business.
Our advice is to experiment with different filters until you’ve found something you like. Then, once it’s established, you can hit your followers over the head with it.
When it comes to using Instagram for marketing purposes, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of hashtags. Hashtags are not only vital in building a brand, but in attracting non-followers as well.
Dropping trending hashtags into your posts is a great way to bring your Instagram page into the loop. Not only does it show that you’re part of the culture, but that your page might be worth visiting.
There are also many other famous hashtags too like;
In short, hashtags increase exposure for your business. The more exposure your business gets, the more sales it will convert.
7. Emoji Polls
One last Instagram feature you should consider using is Emoji Polls. These allow you to ask questions and receive direct feedback from your many followers, increasing familiarity among potential customers and allowing potential customers to feel as though their thoughts have an impact on the operation of your business.
One way to use Emoji Polls as a business is to ask followers how they feel about a specific product. However, you don’t need to strictly talk about your business. Inquiries about current events could get followers involved as well.
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Find More Marketing Tips
There is no shortage of Instagram features, each of which can help businesses to market their products, services, and brand. While the features reviewed above are the most effective for marketing purposes, they comprise only a handful of what you have available to you.
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