[Case Study] 5000 New Facebook Fans.. 1 Contest! Leverage Facebook to Grow Your Offline Business
I want to take a moment to talk about Facebook advertising. It’s no secret that it works. I give all of my content a boost by promoting it, amplifying its reach and attracting new readers to my blog, and clients to my business. Some of our themed articles like The McGregor Marketing one for example, have went viral for us and resulted in a shit ton of traffic.
It works, and it works very well. Most of the focus around Facebook ads is in relation to online business. But, Facebook ads are equally as powerful for offline local businesses and events, and I have had some first-hand experience recently to share related to this.
Just a little backstory…
A few months ago, I became a partner in an event management company. We promote and run house and techno nights for a venue in North West Ireland, with plans to expand into other areas in the near future.
I was brought onboard to lend a hand with the marketing and promotion side of things, aimed at growing our events and online reach. It was my background and experience in online marketing that peaked my interest in the project originally.
The first thing I did, was to create an epic contest that would create quite the buzz, and drive a lot of attention to our Facebook page. We decided to offer up an amazing prize to the winner, which was a week-long trip to Ibiza for two, including flights, hotel, and tickets that got the winner and his or her guest into two of the largest and most popular events on the island.
Click Here to view the original contest post with the graphics used.
We had 4,339 fans. They were all highly targeted and very local, which was good, but we wanted to use the contest as a way to really enhance our Facebook presence for current and future events the promotion might run.
This is what our Facebook page looked like before we announced the contest:
This is what the Facebook page looked like after the contest was over:
We ended the contest with 9,431 fans, which was an increase of more than 5,000. That’s incredible growth for two reasons:
- First, we were able to double our Facebook audience with a single contest, proving how a single well executed promotion can draw immense attention to your business, even an offline based business.
- Second, it helped us attract fans that are genuinely interested in our page. We didn’t just run Facebook ads targeting third-world countries to add new likes for a penny each. The new fans we added are valuable to our business and every single one is a potential customer.
There are several reasons why every business, whether you run an e-commerce website or have an event planning company that has an offline focus, should be highly invested in Facebook advertising.
It’s pretty simple. The entire world is connected on Facebook, and with its advanced targeting options, you are provided with an opportunity to deliver a compelling offer in front of people that are highly likely to be interested in what you are offering. Below are the reasons I feel every business owner, online and offline, needs to dive head first into Facebook advertising.
There is no better source of quality potential customers than Facebook.
When we set out to grow our Facebook page, we had one goal in mind. We wanted to attract people that would have a high level of interest in the events we produce and the music at these events. For example, those interested in dance music and Ibiza, that lived in close proximity of our venues, would be ideal.
It’s all about location, and thanks to Facebook we could target people who can physically attend our future events. Adding fans that love electronic dance music, but lived in the United States wouldn’t be effective. Sure, they might enjoy our page, like and comment on the content, but they aren’t going to be attending our events, which is how we generate revenue.
Having 1,000 fans that live in your area is much more beneficial than having 50,000 that live on the other side of the world. Many people are focused too much on the number and not the quality, or the probability of that fan actually becoming a customer. Having supporters are great, but unless they are handing over their cash and credit card details to you, they are essentially useless.
Some might look at the results of this first contest and say, “Great Tommy, but you only added 5,000 fans. There are pages with millions of fans. Why is this such an accomplishment?”
The 5,000 people we added as a result of this contest are all in close proximity of our clubs. That means when we make a Facebook post about or better still create a Facebook event, the people seeing the offer and engaging with it have the ability to physically attend in person. We technically added 5,000 potential customers, not just fans.
Facebook advertising gives you the opportunity to penetrate new markets before you spend the money to enter them.
Now, not every single one of the 5,000 fans were located within our regular Donegal audience. There were some from all over Ireland, which is a result of the sharing and not necessarily our targeting. Because people shared our posts and tagged their friends, it gave us organic exposure outside of the main target area.
While this isn’t something we can leverage right away, it did prove that there is interest in other markets within Ireland, which was helpful, because we have plans to expand and run bigger events in the future. When we do, we will be using Facebook ads to break into new markets before we even set foot in them.
For example, if we identify a new market, we will run a similar contest, to add fans from that area. This will give us an audience to market to right away, as soon as the first event date is set. With music events, there is a lot of upfront and out of pocket expenses, related to securing venues and performers in advance. When you have a highly targeted audience in that location prior, it helps to pre-sell tickets, which lightens to load related to advanced expenses. Any time you can carry less debt as a business owner, the less stress and headaches you will encounter.
This strategy applies to any business. You can get a feel for interest and response rate in any market prior to investing your time and money. Use this as a guide to gauge interest before putting your money on the line.
Use contests to drive interest and create a viral element.
We created quite the buzz because of our contest prize. A trip for two to Ibiza to attend two of the biggest parties. Not only did we provide the winner with two tickets to the parties, but we also covered their flights and hotel accommodations. This was a major prize, and something that everyone wanted to win.
We targeted the right audience, making sure they were local and had an interest in electronic dance music. Then, we required them to follow us and then also share the contest post and tag their friends.
The total cost, Facebook promotion and trip, came in right at $2,000. Now, when you consider we were able to add 5,000 highly targeted fans to our company Facebook page, it brings the cost for each in at just $0.40. While some might cringe at the thought of spending $2,000 to grow their Facebook followers, you have to understand that these are not just random fans. These are people that are highly interested in what we have to offer (dance music/events) and could potentially end up coming to one of our future events or purchasing future products. That means money in our pocket.
Not all of the followers and engagement of our contest posts were paid for directly. We received most of the additional followers and shares from people that were tagged in the posts and were exposed to the offer via their newsfeed based on the activity of their friends. 95% of the views were through organic exposure.. that’s huge.
Spending money on Facebook advertising is useless unless you have a load of fresh content to introduce.
Having a great contest is one thing, but if your Facebook page is boring and lacks content, then its overall effect will be poor. During the promotion, myself and my partner were publishing a lot of content on the Facebook page. This included posts from our new blog and videos from our new YouTube channel. We were also sharing images and news from our events that were currently going on.
This helped to pack the page with content and give the people something other than the contest to engage with. If our only exciting and popular content was the contest, most people would lose interest and assume the only thing we had going for us was the contest.
Seeing content like videos from our past events helped to create an exciting environment. This gave them more reason to share on their own Facebook newsfeed. If they feel like they are going to introduce something fun and exciting to their friends, that’s perceived as cool, they will gladly hit that share button. They want to look cool in the eyes of their friends, so give them reason to think they will be. It will help push them to want to introduce your page to their following.
Encourage engagement & participation to further leverage your paid efforts to attract organic interest.
I mentioned a couple times that we were able to get some traction outside of our immediate location because of sharing. It doesn’t matter if you are running location specific paid ads or global ones, you want to encourage engagement.
When someone likes your post or leaves a comment, their activity shows up in the feed of their friends. Someone might see that their friend liked or commented on a post and then click over to land on it. Any engagement that occurs at this point is free; an added bonus and reward for creating a highly engaging post.
In terms of our contest, it was viewed more than 500,000 times, with 95% of the views being organic because of our requirements to enter the contest, which were:
Like the post
Share the post
Tag 3 friends in the post
Take a look at the results. I’d say it was a “raving” (har har) success! We even got a write up in the local press. This is what can happen when you combine an irresistible offer (the contest) and encourage social sharing and engagement participation.
Make sure to praise and highlight your contest winner and use the excitement to roll out your next promotion.
In total, we had 8,000 unique entries for the contest, which included the Ibiza events, flights and hotel accommodations. We received thousands more than this, but many were duplicate and repeat entries. We had some people that entered several times, and we made it clear that it was one entry per person.
So, we eliminated the duplicates, and entered all 8,000 entries into an online tool that was used to randomly select the winner, pictured below:
Now, it’s important that you praise and highlight the winner on your page after the fact. This does two things. It legitimatizes the contest, and proves that it was the real deal and not just some bullshit fake marketing stunt, which many companies do.
It also gets everyone excited and ready for the next one. If you combine the social proof of the past winner and a new contest, you should experience much more engagement, at least that is what I am anticipating for our next giveaway.
There is a large percentage of the social media audience that is very gullible. They share and like posts thinking they will win, but sadly most of those offers are fake, just put out there to grow pages. But that type of strategy doesn’t build an active page. For long term growth, follow through on all promises and highlight your past winners to create a huge buzz before you even announce your next giveaway.
I have always wanted to dabble a little bit in offline businesses, but there was always the worry of not being able to carry over what I knew online to the offline world. From my experience, it can be similar, and the same principal applies: offer something of value and you will capture the attention of consumers.
Then, you mix in the targeting and reach advantage that Facebook provides, and you can essentially promote and advertise anything. From online consumer goods to an offline music festival, you have the ability to sell anything.
While this first offline promotion was a success, I can only hope that the next one will be even more successful. I know the majority of my readers are online based, but if you are like me, you might have contemplated some offline ventures in the past. I hope to encourage you to take risks and try things that you aren’t completely comfortable with. That is how we grow and get better.
If you have any specific questions related to this promotion, please leave them below and I will do my best to answer you as quickly as possible. Also, if you have used Facebook ads to promote offline events in the past, I would like to hear about your results and experience.
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