Before August of this year, holding contests on Facebook in order to increase likes, promote engagement and drive traffic to your website was against the rules. But not anymore! Here’s what’s new about Facebook promotions and how you can leverage them for the benefit of your business.

 What’s new. Facebook now allows you to host a promotion on the timeline of your business page. This means you may create a Facebook post promoting a contest or offering a prize. You can require users to like or comment on that post as a form of entry.

The rules. Even though Facebook has made it easier to create promotions for your business, there are still some rules you need to follow:

  • Contests and promotions may appear only on your business page. While you may encourage users to share information on the contest on their personal timelines, this cannot count as a means of entry.
  • Promotions may take place only within the timeline. You cannot have users like your page as a means to enter a contest, but you can have them like a specific post.
  • You may have users enter a contest by posting a comment on your page or by sending your page a direct message.
  • You are responsible for abiding by the regulations governing contests and the official rules and terms and eligibility of your promotion.

How financial advisors can use Facebook promotions. The biggest goal of hosting a promotion on Facebook is to increase engagement, page likes and traffic to your website. You could use any of the following techniques to do so:

  • Create a post with an offer and ask people to like it and leave a comment. These two actions can act as a form of entry into the contest.
  • You could ask people to submit photos and create an album of submissions. Ask people to vote by “liking” their favorite photo, with the most popular photo being the winner.
  • Drive traffic to your website by including a link that leads fans to a landing page describing the promotion in more detail.
  • Use these promotions to get people to interact with your brand and start talking about the big ideas of your business.

Best practices for financial advisors. Many of the same rules for creating a successful Facebook post also apply to creating a successful promotion.

  • Create an attention-grabbing image. This will be the first element your fans will see and should motivate them to share it with their networks. You can also use the image to explain what the contest is or what they can win.
  • Have an enticing giveaway. Your audience won’t be motivated to engage with you and enter your contest if the prize isn’t worth it. Team up with a popular restaurant or local shop in your area and give away a gift card or discount.
  • Provide clear instructions. Viewers need to know exactly how to enter and how they will be notified if they win. For example, you could instruct fans to “leave a comment with your best money saving tip, then return on October 1 when we announce the winner.”
  • Promote your contest by pinning your promotion post to the top of your timeline. To get more participants involved, pay to have the post promoted to the friends of fans who have already liked your page.

Now that these types of promotions and contests are allowed on Facebook, why not take advantage. It’s a great opportunity to show the personality and spirit behind your business.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and President of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.