6 Facebook Timeline Contest Tools: An Opinionated Reviewby Lisa Kalner Williams on Sep 24, 2013
Within mere days of Facebook relaxing its fan page contest rules, six companies came to market with tools to manage timeline promotions. How do these new products stack up?
There was only one way to find out. I held my first Facebook timeline contest and ran it through all six contest tools. Let me guide you through the tools as I experienced them.
My first stop was Shortstack, a product I’ve lovingly used for years. Its “Contest/Like Importer” was available to me as a paid subscriber of its services. (The importer is currently not available to Shortstack users with a free plan.)
I simply picked the fan page and post that hosted the contest then decided what data from the post I’d like to be downloaded. For example, if I had a contest that required an entrant to “Like” a post, I could tell Shortstack to just give me a download of the likes of that post. (My contest was a “leave a comment” type, so I got the tool to just download the comments.) This data download feature is handy if you need to sort entrants, check for duplicate entries, or share the entries with your colleagues.
If you’re stuck on whom to pick as a winner — or you’ve promised entrants that a winner will be chosen at random — you can have Shortstack pick a name out of a digital hat by choosing its “pick random winner” button.
It wasn’t the right time for me to think about a winner — so off I went to tool number two: Tabsite. The Timeline Contest App is available with basic functionality to folks like me who have a free plan. (More options are given to those who have paid plans.)
The download process is somewhat similar to what I’d just seen earlier with Shortstack, but what caught my eye here was Tabsite’s ability to create the contest post directly from its Website.
I then hit Woobox, a company like Shortstack and Tabsite that offers all sorts of neat features for Facebook pages. The good news: Woobox offered a downloadable list of contest entrants to both paid and free users. The not-so-good news: the contest functionality was not as intuitive as the ones offered by Shortstack and Tabsite. Truth be told, I couldn’t figure out how to use the tool without constantly referring to the directions.
Needing something easier, I moved on to Contest Capture, a free tool created by EdgeRank Checker. It provided a simple download of entrants’ likes and comments and didn’t require me to sign up for EdgeRank Checker in order to use the tool (although it did ask for my Facebook credentials).
The final two tools in my research were the easiest to use. The first of the two was the free “Facebook Flash Giveaway” offering from Rafflecopter, an app I typically associate with blog contests. The Flash Giveaway didn’t offer a download of folks who’d liked or commented on my contest post. The focus on this tool was simply to pick a winner at random.
Fanpage Karma’s “Good Luck Fairy” was run on a similar premise — it waved a wand and chose a winner at random.
The “Good Luck Fairy” gets a thumbs up for being the option out of all six tools that didn’t require access to my Facebook account. All I had to do was paste the URL of my contest post and click “Identify winners.”
While I like the simplicity of the tools from Rafflecopter and Fanpage Karma, I recommend an old standby, Random.org, to select a random number. Not only can you use it for Facebook timeline contests, but you can pull it up for blog giveaways, door prizes at speaking engagements, or any occasion when you need to choose a number without bias.
So which tool should you use? If you less than a handful of entries, a simple option like Contest Capture, Rafflecopter, or Fanpage Karma might work just fine. Photo contests or general promotions with a hearty amount of entries might fare better with the more sophisticated tools (Shortstack, Tabsite, Woobox).
Use this tool comparison chart to examine other factors before you run your next Facebook timeline contest.
Which tool seems best suited for you?
Headline photo credit: iStockphoto