How Do You Measure Up To Your Competitors On Facebook? - 30 Second Tip
30 Second Video Tip - Facebook Pages To Watch
30 Second Video Tip – Facebook Pages To Watch

Have you ever wondered how your page compares to those of your competitors on Facebook? You may not be able to see how many people view their posts or how much money they spend on advertising but you can see some headline stats using the ‘Pages to watch’ feature in Facebook insights.

You can compare the following stats to those of your competitors:

  • Total page likes
  • New page likes (percentage increase or decrease on the previous week)
  • Number of posts by the page in the last week
  • Engagement in the last week

In this video I show you how to add Pages To Watch to your Facebook Insights:

This is a really useful way to keep yourself motivated on Facebook. Having someone to beat will keep you working hard on your page.

It’s also a good way to keep an eye on what is working for popular pages and what isn’t working for others.

It is nice to see our page likes soar above our competitors, to know our engagement rate is winning but Facebook marketing is about more than that.

You need to take your stats with a pinch of salt and answer the following questions:

  • Are the people who visit and engage with your page your ideal customers?
  • Are people clicking the links to your website and if they do are they taking action on your site? Are they getting in touch? Subscribing to your email list? Buying your product?

Are customers asking you questions either on your page or via direct messages?

Over to you

How does your page compare to your competitors?

Have you learnt any tricks from other Facebook pages?

Do you have a goal for your Facebook marketing?



How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
Buster – The 2014 Nose Of Tralee

One of the most successful Facebook competitions I’ve worked on was ‘The Nose Of Tralee’ with Pet Sitters Ireland.

Pet Sitters Ireland customers really love their pets and we wanted to design a promotion that tapped in to this. We know pet owners love sharing pictures of their pets online so a contest that encouraged this would have to be a success. We named it humorously after the ‘Rose of Tralee’ and announced the winner at the same time the Rose of Tralee was announced.

Like the Rose of Tralee this wasn’t a beauty contest, Pet Sitters Ireland were looking for the pet that best represented Ireland. Each county had a representative.

The contest was run via a ShortStack app on Facebook (affliliate) but didn’t Like Gate it as we wanted to make it accessible for all. This wasn’t a contest aimed at getting Likes but about getting brand awareness amongst Pet Sitters ideal customers. To enter applicants had to submit a picture of their pet and describe why they deserved to win. The finalist from each county was given a sash and had to submit a second photo with their pet wearing it.

Here’s a snapshot of the results:

  • Web traffic doubled for duration of contest
  • 2,000 new likes
  • 650 subscribers to email list
  • 15 newspaper features
  • 7 radio interviews
  • 1 TV appearance


Kate from Pet Sitters Ireland did all the hard work, I spoke to her about the contest and how it worked.


Tell me about Pet Sitters Ireland. How long have you been in business, what services do you offer?

We started Pet Sitters Ireland in 2010. At the time we had a cat and a dog.

We had stopped travelling away as I hated putting them in kennels. Our dog Patch hated being left there and our Cat ‘Top Cat’ would always be really angry when we went to collect him. It always seemed so much hassle to take them and then collect them when we got back.

A friend of mine in the UK was doing some Cat Sitting for a friend and it occurred to us that this service could be really popular in Ireland. At the time of starting the business there were a few independent people offering this type of service, but no-one who was really operating it as a full time business 365 days a year.

Our Pet Sitting service allows your pets to stay home while you travel away. One of our Pet Sitters will call to you house as many times as you need each day to feed your pets and walk them if required. While they are there they also carry out a check of the house and can turn lights on and off, close/open curtains and blinds, and generally make the house looked lived in. We don’t come in branded vehicles or wearing Pet Sitters Ireland uniforms, so the service is very discreet.

Our daily dog walking service is extremely popular with busy professionals and is perfect for people who work or maybe are short on time. Not everyone has time to walk their dog as much as they would like, so we can fill those gaps for them.

Using the services of a Pet Sitter or Dog walker is becoming increasingly popular with people who work or like to travel. It takes the hassle away from dropping your pets at kennels or catteries, or asking friends to do you a favour and come in and feed your pets. When you hire one of our team we come in, follow your exact instructions and then send you a pet care journal via email to let you know your pets are safe and your home is secure. You even get pictures every day to show you how your pets are doing.


What was the Nose of Tralee?

The Nose of Tralee was a chance for pet owners across Ireland to enter their pet to become crowned the 2014 Nose of Tralee. Like the ‘Rose’ we asked people to share stories about their pets and tell us about their special talents. So whether your pet could sing a song, walk backwards or just had a cute smile we wanted to hear from them.

It was a 2 stage competition. Pet owners were asked to submit a picture of their pets along with details of why their pet would be a good Nose of Tralee. 3 Independent judges then selected the 32 finalists who then went on to a public vote.

The winner received a photo shoot with David Mcauley Photography and the runner up received a 250 euro hamper worth of pet products.


How many entries did you get?

We received 647 entries from the 32 counties. It was amazing the amount of effort that people went to with their entry. The pictures and written stories about people’s pets was amazing.


What different techniques did you use to get entries?

We have an active social media presence so we received a lot of entries via the promotion we did on our Facebook page. We posted pictures of the entries, asked people to share the competition details and we tweeted about it. 

We did some Facebook ads targeting pet owners to encourage more entries. We wrote blog posts on why people should enter the competition and the type of pets that should enter. Probably the most unusual pet that was entered was a tortoise.

How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
Some of the 2014 Nose Of Tralee finalists wearing their sashes.

What was people’s reaction to the contest?

We had great support from people and they seemed very excited to enter their pets. People thought it was a fun idea and seemed to genuinely want their pet to win the title of Nose of Tralee.

Because of the link to the Rose of Tralee we received a lot of interest from the press. The title of the competition really caught people’s attention.

How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
The Kildare Nose meets the Laois Rose of Tralee

What challenges did you encounter during the process?

It was quite time consuming and I would probably have given myself more lead time to create the blogs, images etc we used in the promotion, as that all took a lot of time.

We sent sashes out to the finalists and I probably could have done with more time to get these out to people after the first round of judging.

It was also apparent that you need to be very clear about the process of selecting finalists and the different stages of the competition, so that there is no confusion about what people can expect.


You got a lot of press coverage for the competition, how did that come about?

We sent press releases out to newspapers and contacted the radio stations, so we got some press from that at the start of the competition. Once the finalists were selected we encouraged them to generate press for themselves using the following blog article.

We got a great response from the newspapers, radio stations and 2 of the finalists were on TV. As I mentioned the name of the competition really helped with the press. If it had been just another pet competition I don’t think we would have received the same media interest.


What results did you achieve?

During the competition we got an additional 2000 likes on our Facebook page. These were not just people who entered the competition, but also friends and family. We did promote the competition with a press release ourselves, but we encouraged the finalists to get in touch with local press themselves.

It was actually hard to keep track of all the press. With it being a nationwide competition we were relying on entrants letting us know they were featured. Of the press that we are aware of we had 15 Newspaper features, 7 Radio appearances and an appearance on the TV by 2 of the Finalists.

On the day the competition was launched we had 1000 visitors to the site – which was a fantastic start to getting the word out.

Each day then during the competition we had double the amount of website traffic we would normally get. We also had an additional 650 people sign up for our newsletter.

Here is the link to the some of the press we got.


How Pet Sitters Ireland Reached Their Ideal Customers - Facebook Competition Case Study
The Carlow Nose gets great PR in the local paper

You are running the contest again in 2015, is there anything you will do differently?

We will be hosting the competition again this year but as it has become so popular we’re going to run it via the Pet Sitters Ireland website rather than Facebook.

Having it purely on Facebook did limit us promoting it on Twitter, as we were asking people to leave Twitter to go onto Facebook and vote.


When do entries open for 2015 and where can people go for information?

For more information and to register to receive notification when the competition is open for entries visit the Nose of Tralee page on our website.



Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
photo credit: Crystian Cruz via photopin cc

Facebook competitions are regarded by many as a shortcut to getting lots of new page likes and interaction. They can be effective for both but only if you work at it.

It’s always sad to see a photo contest with only two entries or a timeline contest with very few likes or comments. If you want to build a buzz around your contest it will take planning.

In this post we will look at:

  • How to build buzz for your contest before you launch it
  • How to promote your Facebook competition on Facebook
  • How to promote your Facebook competition outside Facebook

Before you start

You need to think about promoting your contest long before you launch it. The first step is to choose a style that will work for your audience. If you don’t have a large interactive audience you need a contest that will take very little effort to enter. If your audience have participated in your contests before and are interactive you might think about running a UGC (user generated content) competition this time around.

If you need inspiration for the type of contest you should run take a look at these 20 competition examples.

Here’s five ideas for promoting your contest before you launch it:

1. Ask your audience to pick a style

If you are not sure what sort of contest will work for your business ask your audience. The level of engagement on your post will give you an idea of the sort of result you will get when you run it.

Facebook users are most likely to view your posts on a mobile device so make it easy for them to give an answer without typing too much:

For example:

What sort of competition would you like us to run next?
1. Caption contest?
2. Like to win?
3. Photo contest?

2. Tell people about the prize

Rather than just telling people you are going to run a competition tempt them with a prize. Take a photo of your prize from a strange angle or just share a picture of a gift box and ask people to guess what it is.

3. Get people to choose the prize

Similar to asking people what kind of competition they would like you to run ask them what prize they would like. Give them three options and ask them to comment with their favourite.

In this example from Aldi Ireland they use the results of a poll to determine the prize.

Aldi use a customer poll to determine the prize


4. Tell people you will launch the competition once you get a certain number of actions

Celebrate your 1,000th like by running a contest or ask people to comment or like a post and launch the contest when you reach a pre defined number. Tell your audience and you will get them engaging in order to reach the goal.

5. Countdown

Tell people all about the competition; what it is going to be, what the prize is and when it will be launched. Then count down the days either by posting a daily image or a status updates.

We used this tactic in the run up to the Blog Awards Ireland nominations. Each day we got different comments, likes and shares. When we launched people were primed and ready to enter.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Blog Awards Ireland Countdown


Westminster Abbey teased their audience in the run up to their Advent competition ensuring that people would tune in when they launched.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Westminster Abbey teased people in the run up to their contest.


These tactics should help you build up buzz around your contest before launch. They will also get people interacting with your posts more frequently ensuring that they will see more from you in the future.

Promoting your contest on Facebook

If you promoted your Facebook competition in advance you should have a keen group of people ready to enter.

It is important that you continue to promote for the duration of your competition. You will need to post about your contest regularly to ensure that all your followers know about it.

Since the beginning of January 2015 this has become more challenging. The latest update to the Facebook posting algorithm could effect the reach of your organic (not advertised) competition posts.

According to Facebook the following post types will be shown to less people:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Although it’s hard to determine what they mean by ‘no real context’ we need to assume that we have to purchase ads to ensure our competition posts are seen. But before we advertise we have to create.

Here’s the three kinds of post you can create to promote your contests. We will look at advertising later on:

1. Links

If you are running your competition on your own website or via an app you can create a link post to advertise it.

If you use ShortStack (affiliate link) to manage your contest you will be provided with a ‘Smart Link’. When people click this link ShortStack will determine if it has been clicked from the web or a mobile device and will send the user to the correct version of the competition.

2. Images

Create three or more images to help promote your competition. Keep the text on the image to under 20% so that you can promote it with a Facebook ad without any issue. Think about what will catch the eye of your target market. Is it the prize? A picture of your staff? Is the post part of your contest. Nutella are always very creative with their contests.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Nutella using creative imagery to capture attention


Here’s an example from The National Gallery London. They promoted their app based contest using an image. They have included the link to the contest in the photo description:

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
The National Gallery London promoting their contest with images


3. Video

Video is getting great organic reach on Facebook. Use Vine or Instagram to create a short video introducing your contest.

This example from Target Jobs works really well. It’s a cute idea, an advent calender of questions and we’re introduced to the owner or staff member as part of the experience



By sharing a variety of post types and by sending them out at different times of the day and days of the week you will get maximum organic reach from your posts.

Advertise your Facebook competition posts

Because of the Facebook algorithm changes detailed above you will need to invest in Facebook ads to ensure your contest posts reach a wide audience. Set aside a small budget for each post and use Facebook ads to promote them. I recommend promoting posts via the Facebook ads manager rather than using the ‘Boost Post’ option as you will be able to target the post more accurately and get better value for money.

Promoting your contest via on other social media channels

Finding the link to your Facebook posts

You can share your Facebook posts on other social networks to maximise exposure. First you need to find the direct link to your Facebook competition post.

Here’s how:

Click the timestamp on the post you want to share. This is the part of the post that displays the age of the post. It might say ‘an hour ago’, ‘Wednesday’ or a specific date.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Click the timestamp to find the unique link

Copy the entire link from the address bar of your browser.

Get More Entries - Supercharge Your Facebook Competition Promotion
Copy the link from your browser address bar.


This link is unique to your Facebook post. Paste this into your Tweet, your Google+ post or the source area of a Pinterest pin.

Via email marketing

If you have an email newsletter let the subscribers know about your competition. Include the link to either your Facebook competition app or the post in your email.

Your Turn

How have you promoted your Facebook competitions in the past?

Which techniques have worked best for you?



Are You Getting Negative Feedback On Facebook?
How To Find Out If You Are Getting Negative Feedback On Facebook
30 Second Social Media Tip – Are You Getting Negative Feedback?

Are you getting negative feedback on Facebook posts? What is negative feedback and why does it matter? 

Facebook is constantly telling us that the best way to get organic reach is to provide quality content. But what is quality content and how does Facebook judge your content?

The truth is that we don’t know but there are two factors that seem crucial:

  1. Do your posts get much engagement from the people who do see them? This includes clicks, likes, shares and comments.
  2. Do you get negative feedback on Facebook posts? This includes hiding posts, hiding all your posts, un-liking your page from a post or marking a post as spam.

Of course the type of negative feedback you get matters too. A post marked as spam is going to have a stronger negative effect on your future reach than a post hide.

In this video I show you how you can find out if your posts are getting negative feedback and what type of feedback you are getting:

It’s ok if you get occasional negative feedback, particularly if your posts are getting a lot of reach. If you find you are getting negative feedback on multiple posts it might be time to re think your posting strategy.

Tips for avoiding negative feedback:

  • Post content that is entertaining, informative or educational
  • Avoid overly promotional posts
  • Post content that is relevant to your target market

Your Turn

Do you have any tips for achieving better organic reach on Facebook? I’d love to hear them.

For more social media tips download the Kindle book ‘365 Social Media Tips’ from Amazon:

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:



A Quick Guide To Writing Facebook Competition Rules
A Quick Guide To Writing Facebook Competition Rules
photo credit: ttarasiuk via photopin cc

Do you set rules for your Facebook competitions? Rules are a crucial part of your contest. Let me tell you a story.

Many years ago before Facebook had any competition guidelines in place a friend of mine ran a photo contest on his Facebook page. He got some amazing entries and the winner was picked by public vote.

There were some great prizes. An amazing phone, a yoga holiday somewhere warm and a few other bits and pieces.

When the votes were counted the winner was informed and took the phone as a prize. Second place chose the holiday and that’s where the problem arose. The competition rules stated that flights were not included in the prize. Unfortunately even though this clause was displayed prominently on the competition page the winner had not seen it. He was very upset but at least the page owner had the terms and conditions to refer to.

If you don’t want a disgruntled winner on your hands it’s important to make it clear what the rules are.

In this post we will look at:

  1. The required Facebook disclaimer that needs to be included in your rules.
  2. What you need to include in your rules
  3. Examples of Facebook competition rules
  4. Where to publish your rules

It is important to include terms and conditions for your Facebook competition. If you are running a timeline competition you should link to these from the posts you are using to promote it. If you are running a competition via an application you can include your rules within the app.

The Facebook Disclaimer

Facebook requires that you add a disclaimer to all competitions that you run. Here it is, fill in the blanks:

“This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to ________________ and not to Facebook. The information you provide will be used for ____________________”
And here’s an example of it with the blanks filled:


“This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Abuja, Nigeria and not to Facebook. The information you provide will be used for this competition only and will not be shared with any other party outside the U.S Mission and will not used for other purposes in future dealings with the Mission”

(source U.S. Embassy, Nigeria Facebook page)

What Should You Include In Your Facebook Competition Rules?

There are some basic questions you need to ask yourself when writing Facebook competition rules:

  • Who is running the competition
  • Who is eligible to enter the contest
  • How often can an individual enter
  • What is the closing date and time for the contest
  • How you are going to pick and inform the winners
  • If entrants are creating content for you (photos, videos, stories etc) how do you intend to use this content?

If that list looks intimidating to you don’t panic. I found this really useful Facebook competition rules template that covers most of these areas and more.

2 Facebook Competition Terms & Conditions Examples

1. Chester Zoo: This is a good example of guidelines for competitions that require user generated content. Take a look at the clause that specifies how the photos will be used. I also like the clause that says they have no obligation to publish photos from entrants.

Facebook Competition Rules
Exert from Chester Zoo Facebook Competition T&C’s


2. Camden Court Hotel: What I love about these is how simple they are to read and understand. Terms & Conditions are often a big turn off full of legalese and baffling language.

Exert from the Camden Court Hotel Facebook Competition Rules
Exert from the Camden Court Hotel Facebook Competition Rules

Where Should You Display Your Facebook Competition Rules?

If you are running an app based contest you will be able to add your terms and conditions to the app itself. This can look a bit clunky though and many businesses prefer to host their rules on their website and link to it from the app,

If you are running a Timeline style contest. The type that requires people to comment or like a post on your page you are still required to add a link to your rules to the posts. You have a few options:

  • Create a page on your website for your rules and link to it from the post
  • Create a note on your Facebook page and link to it from your post. To find notes click on ‘Settings’ at the top of your Facebook page and ‘Apps’ on the left hand side bar. (See below)
  • Include your rules as part of your competition post.
Facebook competition rules
How to add the ‘Notes’ application to your Facebook page


Do you include rules in your Facebook contests? Have you had any issues with entrants in the past? Have you won a competition only to find out that the prize wasn’t what was expected. I’d love to hear your thoughts.



Get More From Your Twitter Contests With Binkd - Cool Tool

Get more from your Twitter contests with Binkd

I’m seeing a lot more contests popping up on Twitter but to be honest most of them seem to be pretty uninspired. Yes a ReTweet contest will get your brand in front of more eyes. It will get your more entries but what else? Are you nurturing leads for the future or are you just focussing on short term goals?

Binkd is an app that allows you to set up simple Twitter contests that capture email addresses. This is a great way to build a mailing list. You will probably get less entries but you will gain leads that could prove valuable in the future.

It’s free to set up a basic Twitter contest with Binkd. In this video I show you how.


To customise your contest you will need to create a couple of graphics. I used Canva, here’s the ideal sizes:

Header image: 810 pixels x (whatever size you require)

Prize image: 790 pixels x (whatever size you require)

To use the email addresses you collect in the future you will need to add a custom opt in field to your competition. I didn’t’ show you how to do this in the video. You will find the option under the ‘Advanced tab’. See below:

Get More From Your Twitter Contests With Binkd

Another cool feature is the ability to connect your Mailchimp account (and soon Aweber too) so that entries will be added directly to your mailing list. This is a massive time saver.

I like this app. It’s a quick solution for setting up more effective contests on Twitter. The free option is quite extensive too and well worth trying out.

I’d happily pay for an app like this and some of the premium options look interesting. For me the downside is the confusing pricing. There is a set up fee and a daily fee. You also need to commit at least $40 to your contest.

I’m OK with the cost. It’s good value particularly if you are collecting leads but I would prefer  an all in monthly fee rather than the three tier model.

This is a small criticism however and I would highly recommend giving this app a try the next time you run a Twitter contest. If you do use it let me know. I’d love to hear about your results.


The Story Behind The eBook '365 Social Media Tips'

The Story Behind The eBook '365 Social Media Tips'


Just before Christmas Lorna (my business partner at We Teach Social) and I published our first Kindle book ‘365 Social Media Tips‘. It was a challenge to write and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

As a departure from my regular blogging style I thought I would share the story of how the book came about.

Scroll down to the bottom for three of my favourite tips from the book.

How I met Lorna

When I first met Lorna we were both working in different businesses. I ran a eco-friendly corporate gifts company and had just moved to Co. Kildare from Dublin and Lorna had just opened an Interior design business. We both presented our businesses to the Women In Business Network at the Carlow Enterprise Board that night.

I’m not sure we talked much at the time but we kept bumping in to each other. Lorna was one of the first people knew who also blogged.

When I decided to set up a Bloggers network in the local area Lorna was my first port of call. I was surprised how quickly she jumped at the idea. Little did I know that a few years later we would run Blog Awards Ireland together and start a business.

We Teach Social

Both of our core businesses changed. There was a massive recession in Ireland. People weren’t in the market for corporate gifts of interior design anymore. Both of us had to change to stay afloat.

I brainstormed ideas for a new business and decided to build on a skill that I had built whilst running my first business. Shortly afterwards was born. The story of Spiderworking is one I will tell a different day.

As social media trainers the majority of our work comes from colleges and institutions. They decide they want to run a course and they hire us.

Both of us were getting approached by individuals wanting us to run training courses for them but this wasn’t always possible. Running your own courses is always a risk. You have to organise a venue, make sure the internet works, sell seats, travel. It’s intensive work and there’s no guarantee you will make your money back.

That’s when we decided to collaborate on an eLearning company ‘We Teach Social’. By teaching remotely we were able to help the people who contacted us. We didn’t need to book venues, participants could take courses in their own homes. ELearning ehabled us to give students individual attention. We could spend time answering their questions and assessing their progress. We’ve been up and running for over two years now . In that time hundreds of delegates have completed our social media and blogging courses.

The Book

One of the things I like about working with a business partner is that we achieve things that we wouldn’t working individually. We bounce ideas off each other. Ideas that would sit on a shelf if I was working alone are pushed forwards. Our new Kindle book is a result of this.

We completed our first free eBook and launched it for St. Patricks Day. It had been a success and we had smashed our targets. So what was next?

The idea for ‘365 Social Media’ tips came from Lorna. I’m not sure what put the idea in to her head but I do remember it was going to be 500 tips.

It was Lorna’s husband Brian who suggested that we make it 365 tips, one a day for a year. I loved this idea, one of my favourite books as a child was ‘365 Things To Do’.

Our former ‘Blog Awards Ireland’ collaborator Beatrice Whelan suggested that we put a date on each tip and tie it in to seasons. If you pick up a copy of the book you will notice that there are tips and ideas surrounding Valentine’s Day, Patrick’s Day and more.

By July we had the structure of the book in place. We decided who would write tips on which networks. We had a rough idea of how many tips we would have to write each. That left us four and a half months to write the book. Then the Blog Awards got in the way.

Every year when we put the awards together we convince ourselves it won’t be as much work as the previous year. Every year it still consumnes our attention. We found that working on the awards along side our commitments to our clients meant that not much book was getting written. In fact by the time the Blog Awards was done and dusted in early October I hadn’t written a single tip.

Time for an emergency meeting. This time we set a word count: 100 words per tip and started writing tip ideas. Once we had a list of tips we could write it would be easy or so we thought. After a long meeting and lots of scones we had written the majority of our tip ideas down. We set ourselves a goal of writing twenty a day.

I think it surprised us both how hard it was to write twenty tips a day. Although each was only 100 words long they needed to be good. We needed to show the benefit of each one and show how they worked. Trying to make a point in 100 words was tough but also good for our writing skills.

I had half of my tips written before I had to go away for a week. When I returned Lorna had finished hers. On my return I kept writing. I worked late into the night and early mornings to fit the writing around my regular client schedule.

Finally we had finished… we had finished the writing. We sent the first draft to our designer and started editing. This phase was the hardest. We read and read and read and edited and edited and edited. We edited so much we couldn’t be sure if it made sense anymore. We read it so many times it became impossible to view it with a critical eye at all. We needed fresh eyes so Lorna approached Sally Vince from Banner Co. Press to take a look.

Her feedback was great and we edited again. Our designer Alan from A2D design had been working hard behind the scenes to make it look pretty. We were almost there.

All that remained was for Lorna to upload it to Amazon and cross our fingers that they would approve it. We were expecting a 24 hour wait but it went up almost immediately and was approved by the end of the day.

We launched three weeks later than intended but people are still buying. We’ve had great support form friends, business associates and clients.

We’ve kept it priced low so it’s accessible to most business owners. It’s £3.65 on (I hope the price point amuses you as much as it does me). And $5.70 on

My favourite tips from the book:

1. Cool Tool – Rapportive

Use the Rapportive Gmail plugin to easily connect with the people you email on Linkedin.

When you open an email in Gmail Rapportive shows you a sidebar full of info about the sender. This includes their Linkedin profile, their Twitter accounts and their Google+ profile. You can send Linkedin invites directly from this sidebar.

The nice thing about this is that because you have their email address you can personalise your connection invite rather than sending the generic one.

The Story Behind The eBook '365 Social Media Tips'


2. Cool Tool – Google Page Analytics

Install the Google Analytics ‘Page Analytics’ Chrome extension to see how people interact with your website.

Once you have installed a toolbar will appear at the top of each page of your website when you view it. This will show you the headline stats. Scroll down the page and you can see how often people click the links on the page.
Here’s what my main blog page looks like:


The Story Behind The eBook '365 Social Media Tips'

3. Set an expiry date for your Facebook posts

If you are running a timed special offer or a newsworthy story you can set a date and time that you would like Facebook to stop showing it in the newsfeed. It will remain on your page but it won’t be shown to people who like your page.

Here’s how:

  • Write your post as normal
  • Before you post it click the cross hair to the left hand side of the status update box.

The Story Behind The eBook '365 Social Media Tips'

  • Click ‘Select targeting’
  • Choose ‘Post end date’ from the drop down menu
  • Choose the date and time from the calendar on the left hand side of the box

The Story Behind The eBook '365 Social Media Tips'


How to get your hands on ‘365 Social Media Tips’

You can buy our book on Amazon:

Thanks to all who have bought it already. Happy New Year!



How To Create A Facebook Personality Quiz With AgoraPulse

How To Create A Facebook Personality Quiz With AgoraPulse

Have you ever taken a personality quiz on Facebook? You know the kind, the one’s that ask what Historic character you are? What Dr. Who Character you are? What your true age is?

They have huge viral impact, people love taking them and love sharing the results.

Creating this sort of quiz can help your business in a couple of ways:

1. It will increase brand awareness. As long as you brand your content so that when it’s shared people know where it’s coming from and as long as it’s relevant to your target market this can be a great way for getting your business in front of people.

2. You can collect email addresses from participants and add them to your email marketing list. This gives you the opportunity to sell to them in the future without relying on Facebook.

A personality quiz won’t suit every business. They are fun and light hearted so make sure that this tone fits your brand personality before you create one.

How to create a personality quiz

Facebook Personality Test from AgoraPulse is a really easy way to set up and launch a personality quiz on your Facebook page.

You will need to sign up for their free 15 day trial to use this tool, this allows you to collect 20 entries. If you sign up to one of their paid plans you can extend this. Get your quiz right and spending the minimum €29 for a month will be well worth it for the leads you collect.

Here’s a quick walkthrough:


In this video I didn’t customise any of the images. This is a must if you are running a quiz. You also need to think hard about the questions you ask and the personality types you create. Be careful to amuse and not insult your audience.

Your Turn

Do you love or loath personality tests? Would you set one up for your business?

If you have, or if you do after reading this post leave me a comment and let me know how you got on.



20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
photo credit: Transformer18 via photopin cc

It’s easy to rush into launching a Facebook competition on your page but for the best results you should spend some time planning your contest. One key question you need to ask is what sort of contest you want to run.

In this post we will look at 20 Facebook Competition ideas that should help get your creative juices flowing.

Before you start:

Set a goal – I know you are probably tired of hearing this from marketers but the best starting point for any campaign is to set a goal. What is the intention of your competition? What results do you expect and how will you measure them?

How much your followers will do for you – What size is your Facebook audience and how much do they interact with you already? If you find it hard to get them to engage with your content you should start small. Make entering your contest as easy as possible.

If you have a more interactive audience you can be more creative and run a contest that requires user generated content. A photo or short story contest can work well here.

Choose your prize – You don’t always have to give away a huge prize. If you are asking a lot of your audience and if they are providing valuable information in return you may want to splash out on something impressive. In most cases you can give away a voucher or small prize that will appeal to your audience and still achieve good interaction.

Should you run an app based or Timeline contest?


These are contests run via posts on a Facebook business page. According to the Facebook promotional rules you can ask for a comment, a like or ask users to upload photos or videos as part of a contest. You cannot ask for a share or for someone to tag ta picture unless they are in it.

Timeline contests are quick and easy to set up, attract lots of entries and will increase your page interaction meaning that people will see more content from you in the future.

App based:

These are contests run via a third party app. They will appear as a separate tab on your Facebook page that you can link to. These applications require users to complete a form as part of the entry process. They are great for capturing leads, email addresses, phone numbers as well as additional information that can help qualify them as customers.

There are lots of apps you can use to set up contests including:

Shortstack (affiliate link)



Competition Ideas:


Sweepstakes is generally an American term. Here in Ireland we tend to refer to this style of contest as a ‘draw’. People will enter some basic information to enter and a winner is picked at random.

You can include a simple question as part of a sweepstakes if you want to add a more competitive element.

When should you use them? – Barrier to entry is reasonably low so if you have a small following or a following that doesn’t tend to interact with your content very often this is the ideal type of competition to get things moving.

App based:

1. James Whelan Butchers

This is a simple but effective giveaway. Entrants just need to enter contact info to have a chance of winning a voucher. Vouchers are good prizes as you are attracting a new customer or tempting back loyal or existing customers.

Not every customer will shop with you again but once they have bought from you once they are more likely to return. In this case James Whelan Butchers is capture email addresses. He will be able to update all entrants with new products and offers encouraging repeat custom and brand awareness.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
James Whelan Butchers


2. Huff Post Tech

This is the simplest competiton you can run via an app. Just fill in your details to enter. They run these promotions monthly and the prizes are always spot on for their tech audience. It’s a fantastic way to build an email list.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Huff Post Tech



3. Shortstack

I love this idea from ShortStack. I guess they have to be clever as they make the software that helps you run apps. The prize is  $500  to spend at Amazon. Instead of giving away vouchers part of the entry process requires you to link to the prize you want to win on the Amazon website.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire


Timeline based

Ask people to Like a post or comment on a post for entry. If you are asking for a comment make it simple to participate so that it doesn’t discourage entries.

It’s also a good idea to ask something that will either:

  1. Be memorable to those who enter. This means they are more likely to remember your business
  2. Be valuable to you. Ask a question that will tell you something about your customer and you can use this information to target customers later.

4. Loughrey’s Pharmacy

Fun and relevant. This competition from Loughrey’s pharmacy is giving away a hamper that any mother would love as a gift. Asking what our Mammy’s used to say to us will make us smile both when entering and when we read the entries. A perfect way to build positive sentiment around a business.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Loughrey’s Pharmacy


5. Westminster Abbey

This is one of my favourite Timeline contests. To be in with the chance of winning a family pass to the Abbey you have to answer one daily question correctly.

I like this because people have to think before they enter. Participants will either know the answer already or have to Google to find out. The advantage of this is two fold.

  1. Westminster Abbey knows that those who enter are really interested in what they do.
  2. People who enter are more likely to recall the brand and information about it that they can pass on. I can imagine people passing on those facts in conversations over Christmas dinner or in the pub.
20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Westminster Abbey


Photo contest

When should you use them? – The barrier to entry for photo contests is higher. People need to think about taking a photo and enter it. This means you will get less entries.

The benefit is that you can share the entries you get both on social media and elsewhere (make sure you let people know that you intend to do this in your T&C’s to avoid any issues).

If you have a medium to large interactive community on your page this could work well for you.

App based

Contests run via an app allow people to upload their photos and you can capture contact info here. This gives you the opportunity to stay in touch with those who enter after the contest is finished.

Running a ‘voting’ contest via an app allows the public to have their say. You can either allow them to determine the winner, the finalists or just give some weight to the judges decision.

6. Sports Direct

In this example from Sports Direct entrants were asked to post a selfie wearing an England shirt. To win you had to get the most votes on your photograph. It’s bang on brand and by asking the public to vote it’s spreading brand awareness way beyond the people who enter.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Sports Direct



 20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Sports Direct – Vote for a winner


Timeline based

The Facebook competition guideline changes last year mean that you are now allowed to ask your audience to upload their photos to your page to enter. If you want to allow voting you can ask people to click ‘Like’ under the photo that they want to win.

7. Blenheim Palace

Your contests don’t have to be exclusive to Facebook, you can promote contests and allow people to enter on multiple platforms. By using a hashtag you can find entries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

What’s nice about this is that you are widening your audience to those who may not want to share on Facebook but enjoy other networks.

Take a look at this contest form Blenheim Palace asking people to share their Blenheim Palace moments using the tag #BPMagicMoments on either Facebook or Instagram.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Blenheim Palace


Caption contest

When should you use them? – This style of contest would fall somewhere in between Sweepstakes and photo contest. The barrier to entry is reasonably low but people do need to be creative.

This style of competition could be a really good way to increase interaction on your page if run via the Timeline.

App based

You can run this contest like a sweepstakes via an app. Make sure you share some of the entries you get in order to encourage others to participate.

8. Chicago Bears

Fans can enter a caption to accompany the photo displayed at the top of this page. Sports fans will love this and there are some interesting entries. The public can get involved voting for their favourites too but this is ‘just for fun’ the winner will be picked by the sponsor.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Chicago Bears


Timeline based

9.  Dublin Zoo

It’s not always necessary to give away a prize for this sort of contest. Some people like to take part for fun.
Look at this example from Dublin Zoo

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Dublin Zoo


Instead of a prize consider rewarding people by choosing your favourite captions and adding them to the image.

Survey contest

Do you want to get to know more about your followers? Maybe you want to get more responses for a survey you are running. It’s easy to set up a survey on Survey Monkey or Google Drive and offer a prize as an incentive to enter.

This isn’t technically a Facebook contest as you are running it off site but you can make it exclusive to Facebook users to get a better insight into what makes them tick.

When should you use them? – It is sometimes quite challenging to get people to leave Facebook. Links also get seen by a smaller portion of your audience than other types of update. If you really want to know more about your Facebook community this is a good approach but be prepared to promote the hell out of it.

App based

10. Hazelbrook Farm

In this example there’s an eye-catching image that tells you what you need to do accompanied by a link.  HB is a big brand so smaller businesses may find it harder to collect entries this way. Here’s a couple of things you could do to improve it:

  1. Share the competition as a link rather than a photograph. Facebook have recently changed their algorithm and should be showing more links posted as links to those people who like to click them. By sharing a link the traditional way, rather than attaching a photo you will ensure that wherever someone clicks on the post they will arrive on your survey page.
  2. Ensure that your image covers no more than 20% of the space with text. To reach more people you may want to advertise your contest. Using more than 20% text means that your ad will not be approved.
20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Hazelbrook Farm


Timeline based

Asking questions as part of a Timeline contest can also be good customer research. You could find out more about your page likers and tailer content for them in the future based on this or you can use it as an opportunity to find out what they want from your business.

11. Blind Pig Speakeasy

This is a perfect example of quick market research. By asking for favourite cocktails they will know what to stock their bar with as well as get lots of entries. You don’t always have to offer a prize when you ask these sorts of questions, customers are often quite willing to tell you what they think.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Blind Pig Speakeasy


Story contest

Asking people to share story is a good way to gather testimonials and user generated content about your business. You can ask them to share their experiences with your product or service and how they have helped you.

When should you use them? – The barrier to entry is quite high but if you have an enthusiastic audience who like sharing their experiences and leave good reviews this could work really well. Remember to let people know that you will be res-haring their entries for marketing purposes in your terms and conditions.

App based

Long text comments are not the ideal way to collect entries in a story contest. The best way to run a story contest is via an app. Typing large amounts of text into a Facebook status is hard work. Using an app gives people longer to ponder their entries.

12. Renault Ireland

This competition asked entrants to share their back to school blues for the chance to win an iPad. Although not directly related to their brand it is a good way to engage a large segment of their target market. Parents.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Renault Ireland


Timeline based

The advantage of running a story contest via the Timeline is that people can enter without having to leave the Facebook newsfeed. You will get more entries but it will be harder to manage and the quality of submissions may not be as high.

13. The Cliffs Of Moher

One of Ireland’s top tourist destinations the Cliffs of Moher celebrated their millionth visitor by asking people to share their Cliffs stories. This is great for re-igniting customers and getting them to re live their experiences. The prize or a pass to the attraction means that entries will be limited to those who are likely to visit.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
The Cliffs Of Moher


Video contest

A video contest has the highest barrier to entry. You could collect some really cool content this way though.

When should you use them? – As the barrier to entry is high you need to have an existing interactive audience. Ideally they will have participated in contests on your page before or have uploaded photos and other content without you asking in the past.

If you want to run this sort of competition give people very specific guidelines for what you want them to do. For example if you were an interior designer it could be to shoot a short video of a room in your house you’d like to do up. Like the other user generated content contest types it’s important to let entrants know how you intend to use the content they submit in your terms and conditions.

App based

You can collect more info about the video and let people leave a description when they enter via an app. You can also request more contact information and permission to add them to an email list.

14. Lego

In this example from Lego they are asking you to upload your video and encourage your friends to vote for your entry. Parents are a good audience for video contests, it gives them a project to work on with their children that is fun and could result in a trip to Legoland.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire



20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Lego – Vote for the winner



Timeline based

Running this type of contest via the Timeline is easy, people are able to upload their videos the same way they upload their photos. It makes the process easier so you should get more entries.

15. Coca Cola

Coca Cola ran a series of video contests on their Facebook page to tie in with their sponsorship of the Winter Olympics. Each challenge was related to an event within the games.

Here they challenged Likers to film themselves sliding a coke up the bar and called it ‘Coke Curling’. You will also notice that they are linking to the contest rules as part of the post which is a requirement of the Facebook promotional guidelines.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Coca Cola


Bringing offline online

If you hare a bricks and mortar business you can use contests to combine online with offline.

16. A&A Pharmacy

This is a clever way to promote an in store contest. Participants don’t have to do anything on Facebook. Instead they bring a photo of their mum or gran into store for a special Mother’s day window display. It’s a lovely idea but I think it could be made better if people were able to submit their photos via Facebook.

Most of us don’t print our photos anymore so uploading would be easier and they would get more entries. Participants would still be sure to visit the store once the window is revealed to find out if their photo made the cut.


20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
A&A Pharmacy


Other clever ideas

Not all the competitions I looked at fit neatly into categories. The following examples are either fun or clever and do a good job of engaging their audiences.

17. Nutella

I love the Nutella page, it’s always full of interesting and entertaining content. They have an extremely engaged audience who already seem to enjoy sharing content. If you scroll through their posts you will find fan photos in almost every comment thread.

They keep this engagement going with frequent contests. Although some of them are a bit random they always include a brand mention. I love the example below, although it’s an easy puzzle to crack it does entertain me for the 10 seconds or so it takes to find the answer.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire


18. Studio 93

I like this contest because it’s a bit quirky, I’m not sure it has anything to do with their brand unless they are just showing off their creativity. It’s a twist on the ‘How many sweets in the jar’ style contest. In this case you have to guess how many sweets land in the jar.  There’s a video to accompany it.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire
Studio 93


19. MKFM

This one from a radio station asks a question that many of their audience will be able to answer immediately. I love the simplicity of this.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire


20. Pigsback

I admire this competition for it’s quirkyness. To make it interesting they have asked people to comment and the first comment that has no Likes on it at the end of the week wins. I can see it getting quite heated as the deadline approaches.

Although this is a clever idea I’m not convinced that Pigsback are gaining anything from this contest. They will get a lot of comments but you’d have to be a pretty hardcore competition fan to get involved. These people often aren’t the right audience for your brand and are less likely to be interested in you in future.

20 Facebook Competition Ideas To Inspire


Your Turn

There are lots of types of contest you can run on Facebook and each time adds different value to your business. It’s always worth putting some time into planning a contest that will entertain your target market and will make them remember you.

Have you seen any creative contests on Facebook recently? Do you get tired of seeing ‘Like & share’ competitions in your newsfeed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.



Get More Buzz For Your Social Media Contests With Rafflecopter


Get More Buzz For Your Social Media Contests With Rafflecopter

Many businesses are lazy when they think about setting up social media contests. They resort to the obvious and set up a rule breaking Like & Share contest on Facebook.

To run a successful contest you need to think beyond Facebook and if you really want results you need to plan. As with any plan the first step should be to decide what you want to achieve.

Do you want:

  1. More social media followers?
  2. More interaction?
  3. To broaden brand awareness?
  4. To gain email subscribers?
  5. To get leads?
  6. To gather user generated content?

If your goal is 1-5 above it’s worth taking a look at this weeks cool tool Rafflecopter for setting up your social media contest.

Here’s how it works:

What I like about Rafflecopter:

People can enter multiple times. You can add lots of entry conditions giving people extra points each time they enter. This promotes more sharing from users.

It’s not just for Facebook. Rafflecopter contests can be embedded in your blog or added to a Facebook page. If these options don’t work for you Rafflecopter will create a page on it’s site for your contest that you can direct people to.

It helps you pick a winner. Rafflecopter has an inbuilt random winner selector. If you prefer you can view all entries and pick a winner manually.

It takes minutes to set up. Many of the full featured contest apps I use take a big chunk of time to set up. As you can see in the video above you can have your contest ready to go within three minutes.

What I don’t like about Rafflecopter:

The sharing options are what really makes this app but I have some reservations. Are we gaining valuable social media followers or are we just attracting people who like doing contests? When we ask people to share a tweet or pin an image are we encouraging people to share quality content or are we encouraging people to spam their friends?

The verdict

Rafflecopter is a neat little app for setting up social media contests. I prefer the email subscriber and social follow options than the sharing options. This way I’m gaining leads but avoiding encouraging spam.

Your Turn

What do you think? Are social sharing contests spam? Would you use this app?

Leave me a comment below.