Facebook Contests!
January 21, 2011 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm creating a Facebook page for a university and we want to hold trivia contests on the page. We would ask a question and the first person to comment with the right answer would win a prize. What would be the best way to communicate with the winner?

Our options so far include:

- communicating with a personal account (I would send the winner a message).
- creating a new Facebook account just for the purpose of contacting contest winners

Any other ideas? Neither of those are overly appealing.
posted by tomcochrane to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Perhaps you could tell us why those options aren't appealing? So we know what sort of things you're trying to avoid.
posted by hermitosis at 8:00 AM on January 21, 2011


What is wrong with sending the winner a message from the university page, which doesn't seem to be an option you presented?
posted by brainmouse at 8:03 AM on January 21, 2011


Seriously, don't make this more complicated than it needs to be. Have the university page send out the message to contact the winner. Making it be from anyone else is likely to be erased as a scam.
posted by theichibun at 8:19 AM on January 21, 2011


I would send a message from the university page account as brainmouse suggested. It makes communication easy, and depending on the privacy settings of the student, you may not be able to view their profile from your personal page if you are not friends with them and couldn't send them a message.

Also, I think you should allow people to message or comment the correct answer in a given period of time. I say this because you might end up getting the same people winning the prize (the people who spend the most time on Facebook) and if people know that the first person with the right answer wins, they won't visit your page, which I am guessing is the major point of the contests. Instead, you could give people a few hours to respond and pick the prize winner at random from the correct responses. Or maybe even two smaller prizes - one to the first correct response and another to someone who correctly responds in the allotted time. The major challenge would be avoiding questions whose answers can be looked up online.
posted by msk1985 at 8:27 AM on January 21, 2011


I think the real question is "How can you send a message to someone's Facebook inbox while acting as a fan page," because I can click on the profiles of fans of my University's page but the "Send a Message" option doesn't specify from whom the message will come, and I'm assuming it's my personal account.
posted by moviehawk at 8:33 AM on January 21, 2011


Don't have them comment on the page; have them send answers to a university e-mail address (yours or otherwise) and respond directly from that.

A side benefit of this is that people don't know how many other people have responded, or if others have responded correctly, so they won't get discouraged when someone pops in with the correct answer after spending three seconds to Google it. That'll keep them thinking about the Facebook page, the trivia question, the college or other related things for juuust that much longer -- because they still might have a chance.

At our university, we use this system for a "Name That Campus Location!" kind of contest in our newsletter, and it works well. Be sure to list the person who wins, which also ups the excitement/recognition factor. Everyone, even those who don't respond, likes checking to see the names of people they know.

Example:
What does the G stand for on the Green Bay Packers' helmets? E-mail tomcochrane at MountAwesomeState dot edu; the first correct answer wins a fabulous mug!

The answer to yesterday's question, "What brand of mints is labeled as being 'curiously strong?' is ALTOIDS. Congratulations to hermitosis, of the Hermiting Department, for being the first to respond correctly!

posted by Madamina at 8:37 AM on January 21, 2011


I'm going to support Madamina's idea...have them email to triva@yourschool.edu, then post the winner's name and the answer. You get the added benefit of not having 300 straight comments with nothing but a one-word answer.
posted by moviehawk at 8:44 AM on January 21, 2011


I'm going to support Madamina's idea...have them email to triva@yourschool.edu, then post the winner's name and the answer. You get the added benefit of not having 300 straight comments with nothing but a one-word answer.

Yeah, but then don't you get 300 emails with the same problem? At least you can easily ignore 300 comments. You only look for the first one anyway.
posted by inturnaround at 8:57 AM on January 21, 2011


Yeah, but then don't you get 300 emails with the same problem?

if it goes to the trivia mail box you just delete the ones you don't need with out reading them. Yes, DO NOT direct them to your personal email account.
posted by d4nj450n at 9:04 AM on January 21, 2011


I think the real question is "How can you send a message to someone's Facebook inbox while acting as a fan page," because I can click on the profiles of fans of my University's page but the "Send a Message" option doesn't specify from whom the message will come, and I'm assuming it's my personal account.

This is what I'd like to do, ideally, but I can't find a way to do that. Any ideas?

I'd like to avoid using my personal account because it could be kinda creepy and hard for people to make the connection from my personal account to the University's page.

I don't want to make a Facebook profile for the University because it looks tacky and with both using my own profile and creating a University profile, there is the possibility that I still won't be able to contact the winner, depending on their privacy settings.
posted by tomcochrane at 9:16 AM on January 21, 2011


I just entered a competition on Facebook to win tickets to a show—the theatre posted a trivia question and an email address to send the answer to. Later, they congratulated the winner on their page, presumably after emailing them directly.
posted by hot soup girl at 9:43 AM on January 21, 2011


Yeah, make a separate e-mail, even if it's just a Gmail account, so that you don't have a flooded inbox. Ours is "lookslike at [university].edu" and it can either be accessed separately or just sent into someone's regular e-mail account and diverted to another mailbox.
posted by Madamina at 9:45 AM on January 21, 2011


With respect, DO NOT follow the suggestions to take it to email if you have any interest in your page updates making it into fans' News Feeds, because FB's EdgeRank formula is all about on-page engagement.

I administer a page with 15,000+ fans and occasionally offer incentives, run contests, etc. It works just fine to contact winners via Facebook messaging from my personal account. "Hi, I'm Short Attention Sp with the ABC Page, and I'm pleased to tell you that your recent post to our page was selected at random to win. If you will provide me with your email address, I will send you your $100 amazon.com gift certificate immediately." It hasn't failed me yet.

Granted, there was one person who wondered if it might be a scam, because she didn't remember posting to the page, but that was quickly cleared up by giving her a link to the thread.

Note that creating a "personal" profile in the name of the organization is a violation of Facebook's terms of service, even though lots of people do it.

It doesn't work to announce a winner's name in a page status update, because you don't know if the winner will see it.

FWIW, we don't offer incentives often. The two main instances are 1.) when we hit a fan milestone and want to thank our peeps for being interested, in which case we leverage that by saying that they are entered in the drawing when they post a comment sharing a business tip, and 2.) when we want them to take a (surveymonkey) poll to learn more about our followers than Facebook's Page Insights provides.

Kudos to you for thinking about these things before the fact.

Finally, while this has yet to happen to me, if the day comes when the winner fails to respond after best effort, I will post their name on the page with a congratulatory message and keep the hundred bucks in my pocket.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:57 PM on January 21, 2011


because FB's EdgeRank formula is all about on-page engagement.

Woah, good point. I forgot about that.

I guess we'll have to use personal profiles then. Thanks!
posted by tomcochrane at 7:43 AM on January 25, 2011


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