People often ask me, “What’s the best and cheapest way to boost the likes on my hotel Facebook page?”
There are actually a few strategies for accomplishing this.
- Facebook Advertising – This can end up costly if done wrong, which 99% of the time it is.
- Asking friends to share your page – This can be effective, but after the first round of asking it can become tiresome for both you and your friends.
- Encouraging your hotel guests to like the page – This is an option I personally like, but it can take a while to see any effect.
- Facebook competitions – This seems to be an option which works time and again.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I don't want to waste money giving away free holidays!”
The good news is that you don't.
Over the course of this post, I'll show you how you can get creative with your prizes and how to run the perfect Facebook competition without losing any profit.
First things first: the prize. I’m sure you’re thinking one of two things.
- “I don't mind giving away a free night's stay.”
- “There's no chance I'm giving away a free night's stay.”
If you're in camp 1, then move on to the next segment, “How to run the perfect Facebook Competition”. If you're in camp 2, read on.
If your property is more than just a hotel or a B&B, for example, if you also have a restaurant or tea rooms on site, then an obvious option would be to offer a free meal for two or something similar. This is low-cost to you, but the real beauty is that you can appeal to not only locals in your twenty-mile “enchantment area”, but also to potential overnight guests who can use the voucher and then book a room for the night. Be creative in what you can offer as a way to attract customers. If you don't have an on-site restaurant, tea rooms or similar, then brainstorm. Give away something memorable and closely associated with your property. Have an item that was well loved, but is no longer required? Perhaps a picture or a painting? This can be used for your prize.
How about giving away some merchandise that you currently sell at your property? A great example of this was what Alec and Jules did at The Beaches. They had hoodies made that bore their logo and then ran a Facebook competition using those hoodies as prizes. Branded merchandise is an excellent way to promote your property. Imagine the competition winner wearing the hoody, or drinking out of a mug with your hotel’s name on it, and people asking them questions as to where it came from. This is great word-of-mouth advertising.
People love to win prizes and also love to be reminded of a great holiday. If your property is in a well-known holiday town in the UK, such as Scarborough or Whitby, then you have loads of possibilities for a prize. You could stick with cheap and cheerful and offer a stick of rock, or give away tickets for an upcoming music event in your town. The benefits of either are huge. With the latter, they’ll need a place to stay, and you will almost certainly be their first choice.
If you're still stuck for ideas, how about this? Approach a local shop or business, such as a chocolatier, florist, or restaurant. Explain that you are going to run a Facebook competition and would love to involve them in some way. Ask them to commit to a prize in exchange for a plug on your Facebook page. The benefit for them is that you are promoting them to your audience and they don't have to do any of the work.
While you’re at it, why stop with one business? Get a pool of local businesses together and offer a bundled prize.
How to run the perfect Facebook Competition
You have your prize, now you want to create awareness. The worst nightmare of anyone running a competition is that only one person will enter. I have tried and tested every possible way of running a Facebook competition. I have seen every outcome, from incredible success (10 bookings off one completion) to massive fails (having to cancel an event because no one signed up).
I've gone through all of that so you don't have to!
Here, in my opinion, is the best way to run a Facebook competition for your hotel. Follow these four points exactly as I’ve written them.
- Keep the initial message short, sharp and sweet. You get around three lines to play with on Facebook for the initial view.
- Make sure it is absolutely clear what you are doing and what the post is about. I find a title of “Competition Time” is clear and works well.
- In the first 200 characters, make it VERY clear as to what entrants will win and what they have to do to enter the competition.
- Always ask them to LIKE & SHARE complete entry. This is then an easy way for you to tell who’s entered and also gives you greater coverage.
Note: Getting the person to share your status on their wall is imperative. Facebook constantly changes their rules on how frequently business page posts appear on people’s Newsfeeds. A recent statistic suggested that only 5% of your audience will see a post from your business page! However, if a different user independently posts something on their wall or shares it, it will appear in their Newsfeed to all of their friends. By getting Mr Smith to share your post, you have just massively increased your possible coverage amongst people who don't even like your page at this stage. Clever, eh?!
If that’s a bit too confusing then please email me at [email protected]. I’m more than happy to explain one-on-one.
Keeping competitions simple is important. Don’t confuse people. I've seen some competitions where a business wants you to like, share and comment with the answer to a very hard question. I've also seen situations where entrants are asked to post a photo on their wall and get friends to like it. These are very creative ideas, but unnecessary and overcomplicated. Keep it simple. A like and a share is fine. (There's a cool follow up trick that I'm going to teach you later.)
Once you have these four points covered, then you can add the details. Mention if you're teaming up with another business, for example. The chances of everyone reading all of the information you put on the post is slim, most people will just want to know how to enter the competition. But it means the information is there for anyone that is interested. Make sure you tell people how and when you are going to draw the winner.
Finally, add in an image or video, whichever you feel will be most effective. A visual attracts the eye. Studies have shown that Facebook posts with an image get more engagement, so no matter what it is, make sure you add one.
Finally, post your competition, then sit back and wait for around twelve hours. The next bit is the KEY difference between a successful competition and an unsuccessful one.
Don't rely on your followers to tell the world about your competition. Follow these steps on how you can maximise awareness:
- Send out an email to your mailing list. (If you don't currently email your guests, SHAME ON YOU! Stop reading this, google “Boostly email marketing”, then come back.) Tell your list about the competition and insert a link to the Facebook page.
- Post about the competition on your other social channels. Once again, ensure you include a link.
Share the competition on your personal Facebook page. Every like counts!
Share the competition on Facebook groups.
- The last point is KEY to getting attention and new likes. Join Facebook groups in the areas where you want attention. If you want to appeal to the local geographic area, then join groups associated with your town or city. If you want to target people from Leeds, then search Facebook for Leeds groups and join the top five. The number of people in these groups gives you an indicator of their popularity. Once you have identified and joined the groups, then share your competition to the groups themselves. To do this, go to your competition post and hit the “Share” button. Facebook will ask you where you want to share. You’re looking for the “groups” button. Choose which groups you want to share it in, then type out a message. Here's an example: “Wow! Check out this competition on @(insert your Facebook page). ??” I have used this message a lot and it works. But to get YOUR message right, ensure you test different messages on different groups. The key to everything is to test and then test some more. See what works for you.
Note: Make sure you read the group's rules before posting. Some frown upon businesses posting.
What to do to maintain the attention on your competition
After 24 hours, you may start to notice that your competition entries start to drop off. Here's a cool tip to keep them clicking over.
Go to your competition and click on “comments”. “Like” any replies that people are making to your post. You can be generic or actually spend some time communicating directly with people. If you can get them to reply to you again, then this helps your post shoot to the top of their friends' Newsfeeds. This is KEY to your competition's success.
Secondly, post a comment yourself. Try this: “Thank you to everyone who has got involved so far! For a double entry into the hat, comment below and tag a person who you would like to share this prize with.”
What does this do?
- Everyone who has entered the competition and commented will get a notification saying that you have written something and it is likely that they will click on it. If a notification comes up on our phones we all know how hard it is not to click on it!
- Once you've invested time in entering a competition, you want to win it! Getting someone to enter in the first place is the hard part. Once they are involved they are more than likely to comment and tag a friend or loved one as long as there is a reward. In this case, the reward is the second entry.
- Facebook’s algorithm works by showing people results based on what they are liking, commenting on, or engaging with. The more you can get your followers to engage, the more your future posts will appear on theirs and their friends’ Newsfeeds.
- Increased engagement also has another advantage. Friends of people engaging will see your business page appearing on the section entitled “Recent activity” next to the Newsfeed. The more people engage, the more your business and Facebook page gets seen.
After this, leave it again for a further 24 hours. Then, put out another comment on the post. Here's an example: “WOW! What a great response, thank you to everyone that has taken part. We are going to announce a winner soon. Please make sure you like our Facebook page @(insert page name) so we can inform you if you have won!”
What does this do? It encourages everyone who has entered and not LIKED your page to go and do so now. Again, they would have gotten a notification to say that you have posted something on a post that they have engaged with. They will want to check it out. Why did you start the competition in the first place? TO GET MORE LIKES! This is how you achieve it.
Again, give it another 24 hours.
This last step is the most important. Go to your competition and click on ‘likes’, showing you everyone who has liked the competition. On the right, you’ll see three pieces of information and options.
- People who have liked your page.
- An option for inviting them to like your home Facebook page.
- An indicator to tell you if you’ve already invited them to like your page, but they haven't yet done so.
Scroll down through all the likes. If option 2 appears, then simply click on the box. Make sure that everyone has had at least an invite to like your page.
Every time I have done this, there has been a MAJOR spike in new likes. (You can track all of this in the “Insights” section on your page.
Before you finally draw a winner, feel free to do another round of sharing in your groups.
Boost your post with Facebook ads. If done properly, this needn’t cost a lot of money, I average between £20 and £30. This is a great shortcut to get a big final boost of engagement. Click on the “Boost Post” option and chose your audience. There are several options.
- Choose the area and then go for people who follow your page and their friends.
- Create an audience, then select the people who have engaged on your page within the last 90 days. This is a particularly good strategy for an established page.
- Chose people who like a page which is similar to yours. This is optional, but a little boost never hurts!
How to pick a winner
Here you have two options depending on how much time and patience you have.
- This is my favourite strategy! Go to www.random.org. Find out how many people have liked your competition and add onto it how many people got a second entry from tagging a friend. Put the total in the box and the website will give you a lucky number. For example, if 300 people entered, input the number “300” and random.org will give you a random number between 1 and 300. If it gives you number 60, go to the competition and starting from the top scroll down counting out 60 people. Whoever is at number 60 is the winner.
- Get a hat, lots of paper and write down all the names (remembering to write down double entries twice). Put the names in the hat and draw one out.
Option 2 looks laborious, but its beauty is that you can post a video of yourself pulling the name out of the hat. Even better, do a Facebook Live post as you are drawing the magic number. MAJOR ENGAGEMENT!
Once you have a winner, get in touch with them over Facebook Messenger immediately. Comment on the competition post announcing the winner. Get everyone to tag the winner if they know them.
As a rule, I give every winner 72 hours to get in touch. Make this time limit clear in the winning message. If you haven't heard from the winner by then, it means that they don't care about your business or will never buy from you. I would much rather an engaged fan win than someone who is just a serial “competition enterer”!
If this happens, don’t panic! Simply draw a new winner and let the person who didn't get back to you know via a personal message that they haven’t now won as they didn’t get in touch.
Before you draw a line under the competition, make sure you personally thank everyone for entering. When I thank, I also sometimes mention that we will be running another competition in the near future. To encourage even MORE engagement, I ask people to comment about future contests. I ask, “What kind of competition do YOU think we should run?” This is great because it not only keeps you engaged, but it also genuinely gives you new ideas for future competitions.
Finally, make sure you go and check out the analytics of your post. You can find this in “Insights”, as mentioned above.
I'm going to go into more detail on “Insights” in a future post. In the meantime, if you have any questions, email me at [email protected].
Now you have all the info you need to run the PERFECT FACEBOOK COMPETITION! Don't waste any time. Go out and post your competition now!
When you do, email me [email protected] with a link. I would love to see your results.