How to Run a Facebook Referral Promotion


We’ve written extensively about utilizing your customers to grow your business. Most of these methods though are indirect, such as gathering customer testimonials. There is a more direct way to do this: A Referral Promotion.

What is a Facebook Referral Promotion? How does it work?

A Referral Promotion entices Fans to earn a reward in exchange for referring their friends to sign up. There are two basic steps to a referral promotion:

  1. A person goes to the referral promotion entry page that a business has created. On that page he enters the promotion by completing the entry form to redeem the small base reward. This is normally something small like a 15% Off coupon to use on the business’ products and services.
  2. Once a person has redeemed the base reward they can work to redeem the referral reward. This is a larger reward, such as a gift card, that is redeemed when they refer a certain number of friends to enter the promotion. A referral is attributed to person A when their friend (person B) clicks on a link shared by person A and enters the promotion, redeeming the base reward.

Why should I run a Referral Promotion? What are the Benefits?

A Referral Promotion is a powerful way to grow your business by leveraging your current Fans. Instead of trying to do all the heavy-lifting on your own, a Referral Promotion entices fans to do it for you.

There are 4 main benefits to be had from running a Referral Promotion

1. Facebook likes: Using an entry popup which prompts visitors to Like your Facebook Page is a great way to boost Fans. Engaging is a very simple action for people to take, resulting in almost no drop-off and tons of new Fans for your Page.

2. Opt-in Emails: Every person who enters your promotion gives you their email address, allowing you to add them to your subscriber list and contact them in the future.

3. Sales: If you follow our advice above and give away a coupon as the base reward, you will drive a number of immediate sales. You can also drive sales by converting entrants over time using an email lead nurturing campaign. This is where you send a series of emails over time that include pieces of interesting content and finally an invitation to buy.

4. Brand Awareness: Brand awareness occurs when people see their friends sharing about your brand in their News Feed. Not every person will be enticed to click at the exact moment they see a friend share about you. But if they see multiple stories about your business over time, they will be likely to click at least one to learn more about what their friends are talking about.

5-Step Guide to Running a Referral Promotion

1. Choose a Prize and Referral Goal

The prize is the most important piece of your Referral Promotion. It’s what entices people to enter and refer their friends. Make the prize something relevant to your business.

A great prize to award people who achieve the referral goal is a gift card for your business. Why? Two reasons:

  1. A gift card is enticing to all of your potential customers – it’s the prize that is the most enticing to the largest group of people. If you give away a certain product or service, you will only get entries from people interested in that specific product. With a gift card though, you will attract entries from those who are interested in the products you sell.
  2. It will only attract people who are interested in your products, which is what you want! If you give away an ipad you will get a ton of entries, but those people will only be interested in ipads, not your products. This will make it almost impossible to convert these users into actual sales for your business. Giving away a gift card ensures that entrants have an interest in your products, which makes it easy to convert them into sales.

You also need to make the base prize, the one given out to people who only enter but don’t reach the referral goal, somewhat enticing. We recommend using a small coupon to your store (15% – 25% Off). This will be enticing enough for people to enter without destroying your margins.

Next, decide what the referral goal is. This depends both on the size of your community (or advertising budget) and the referral prize. The larger each of them are, the bigger you can make the referral goal. I recommend making the goal between 3 and 20 (meaning that a person needs to have 3 – 10 of their friends enter the promotion).

For a small business with a small community, budget and moderate prize, a goal of 3 will make it enticing for people to reach for it (because it’s fairly easy) and rewarding enough for you (as it will provide you with 3 new sales leads).

For larger brands giving away a great prize, a goal of no more than 20 will drive you tons of leads without having to pay out so many prizes.

2. Build your Referral Promotion

The Referral Promotion entry page needs to be simple and exciting. It must get people excited about the promotion and prize, and make it easy to enter. Here are the 5 elements of an entry page for a promotion on Facebook:

1. Attention-Grabbing Title: A short title phrased as a call-to-action is the best way to maximize entries. For examples, “Refer 5 Friends to Win a $25 Gift Card to Marley’s Shoes” is both simple and informative – it tells visitors what they can do on this page, what the prize is and who is running the promotion. It contains the essential information a person needs to feel informed enough to enter the promotion.

2. Graphic of Your Prize: An image of your prize is a great way to entice people to want to win it. If you’re giving away a gift card (recommended), include an image with the gift card value in text and a product that people can buy with the gift card.

3. Entry, Referral Goal & Prizing Info: Include a short paragraph with info about the prize, how to enter, how to refer friends and any rules or restrictions for your promotion. You can easily add a link to an outside rules & restrictions page using our HTML Text Editor to keep from overcrowding your promotion page.

4. Entry Submission Form: An entry form for a Referral Promotion consists of an email address signup box and an “Enter Now” button. After a person enters, the entrants unique referral link is displayed in place of the form. They can share this with friends to get them to enter the promotion and attribute a referral to them.

5. Share Buttons & Facebook Comments: Make it easy for entrants to share your promotion with friends by including share buttons directly on the promotion page. Wishpond’s Facebook Contest Apps include built-in Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest share buttons. They also include Facebook Comments to boost interaction on the promotion page.

3. Promote & Share your Referral Promotion

With your Referral Promotion set up, it’s time to spread the word. There will be organic growth from entrants sharing with friends, but you will need a few boosts in the beginning to create the initial seed. Here are 5 methods to boost your Referral Promotion:

1. Send an email blast: Email your customer email lists – they will be the most likely to enter and share with friends to help jump-start your promotion.

2. Share your promotion on social networks: Share on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and anywhere else you have a social presence. This is a great way to introduce users from other networks to your Facebook Page and get them hooked more into your brand.

3. Add a banner on your website home page: If you’re an online business, you get the most traffic to your website, not your social network accounts. Capitalize on this traffic by including a banner on your homepage that links to your promotion entry page.

4. Create a Facebook Ad: This is a great way to reach new customers outside of your current community. These ads can be very targeted to reach your demographic.

4. Monitor your Promotion

Depending on your goals, you may be interested in tracking entries, referrals, shares or new Fans. Here are 3 methods to monitor the metrics of your Facebook promotion:

1. Facebook Page Insights: These will allow you to track the number of shares, likes and comments your promotion’s posts receive, and the number of new Fans your Page received during the run of your promotion.

2. Google Alerts: Set up Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your promotion across the entire web.

3. Wishpond Campaign Reporting: Wishpond’s Facebook Apps include real-time campaign reporting, which allows you to track views, entries, referrals and bounce rates in real-time. This allows you to update your promotion in real-time as it is running.

5. Post-Promotion Follow-up & Promotion

Once your promotion is complete, you can use it to promote your Facebook Page further. Here are a few ways you can use an expired promotion to keep your Fans engaged:

1. Profile fans who reached the referral goal on your blog, Facebook and other social networks.

2. Create an infographic showing the timeline of different people reaching the referral goal.

3. Send a follow-up email to promotion entrants with an offer to nurture them into customers.

4. Share your plans for future promotions on Facebook to keep your Fans hooked.

All of these activities keep the momentum going and will prime Fans for future promotions from your Facebook Page.

P.S. Looking for inspiration for your next Facebook contest? Check out 25 Creative Facebook Contest Ideas You Can Use Today!


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