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March 24, 2010

Creating a Facebook page for your business or organization is now a cinch. Making status updates and posting content is getting easier every day. But what can you do to really engage a NEW audience of constituents and customers? We have been experimenting with some new strategies to help clients engage their current base and rally more followers towards action.

Whether is the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes or a 50/50 cash give-away at an industry happy hour – we all LOVE a contest. Contests, sweepstakes, and give-aways can motivate your fan-base and help spread your message virally. When it comes to Facebook and Twitter based contests, the sky is the limit! From an ROI perspective, a simple but creative contest can yield new fans for a very minimal cost. These contests can also help you bolster your e-mail list, market and promote new services or products and tie-in to community and philanthropic work. But please remember, simplicity is the key. Instant action and instant reward is what will easily satisfy a potential new fan.

As more and more companies have embraced these tactics, we are starting to see a little “contest fatigue” on some platforms. Users have had free Popchips thrown at them, free movie tickets and chances to get gas for 10 cents a gallon! Now you have to create something clever, easy and unique that will catch on with the greater community. It also doesn’t hurt to have some traditional public/media relations and advertising support too!

Check out the Skittles Facebook page. They continuously up the ante, solicit creativity from their fans and engage in some wild two-way dialogs. It captures the colorful nature of the brand and users come back because Skittles will always present something new and exciting.

Another rewarding method of generating new fans and followers is to connect with an active community through charitable contributions and donations. This can be an awesome win-win for everyone. You can pick a non-profit that you support and feel a connection with, then announce and promise to donate a designated dollar amount per new user interaction during a particular time period. For example, for every new LIKE you get on your Fan page – you donate a dollar to Amnesty InternationalDining Out For Life, the ASPCA or another non-profit organization. Each new user click represents a donation and a potential share or endorsement to their network of friends.

To ensure these fancy ideas work effectively, use application software like Wildfire Apps or Woobox designed to facilitate these interactions and capture data. Not only do these methods increase your community base and network of support, they also provide useful analytics to give you insight on your audience and their behavior. We always enjoy playing with new ways to make your fan page more robust, whether it be through contests, sweepstakes, non-profit-donations, or a combination of everything. Just be sure to think out your strategy completely and integrate all of your digital properties to achieve the best results. Good luck!

About the Author

Matthew Ray

Creative Director and Co-Founder of ChatterBlast, Matthew Ray is a fan of comic books, ice cream and sitcoms from the late 1980s.

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