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What Works—and Doesn't—on Facebook

On social media, sometimes a launch can feel like you've thrown a party...and no one is showing up. Here are 4 tips for filling the room with adoring fans.

You know that dream where you throw a party and nobody shows up?

Well, that happened to us—only it wasn't a party, it was a Facebook contest. It was last fall, and we were so excited about Altruette's first big social media push. We make a line of charms that each benefits a different non-profit and we work with more than 30 charities, so we have a community of involved, committed people just waiting to be engaged.

We had designed a contest around a day we were calling "Philanthropy Friday." People could submit a video of the work their favorite non-profit was doing, and the winner would get $500 for their cause. Nice idea, right? It was. But it wasn't an effective contest—we'll explain why in a minute. The good news is that on Facebook you constantly have chances to try again. So for Mother's Day we dreamed up our "Help a Mom in Need" contest, building on what we learned and finding much more success this time around.

Make it easy to get involved.

This may seem obvious, but filming a video of your favorite non-profit takes hours of coordination, planning and editing. So this time around we lowered the bar: To be a part of Altruette's Mother's Day campaign all you have to do is post a comment about the most "charming" mom you know. It takes two seconds and it's a feel-good way to celebrate a deserving mom.

Reward everyone.

Rather than just offering one big reward for a "winner," this time we're making a donation to our mom-focused non-profits for every new "Like" or comment we receive. The dollar amount may be small, but it's symbolic—and it makes everyone feel good about participating.

Tie contests very closely to your brand. 

Perhaps the most important thing we did right this time was to come up with a theme that really fits with what Altruette is all about. We're both new moms and are very close to our own moms. So a contest based around celebrating mothers and helping mothers in need felt like a completely natural extension of the Altruette brand.

Enlist help when you need it.

When the contest went live, we emailed a select group of friends and former co-workers asking them to post and help us kick off the contest. We got some great posts so that when new visitors checked it out they weren't landing on an empty page. We also tweeted directly at celebrities who we thought would embrace the contest and the causes, asking them to retweet their contest to their followers. Sherri Shepherd (one of the hosts of ABC's The View) instantly retweeted to her 409,661 followers: @SherriEShepherd Please RT! Now till Mother's Day, every "charming mother" story or "Like"=a donation to needy mothers: ow.ly/alcET.

It was a wonderful way to get our name and our causes out in front of a massive new audience. Our contest runs through May 13, so we're not done learning yet! Like us at www.facebook.com/altruette and let us know what you think!

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Last updated: Apr 27, 2012

LEE CLIFFORD AND JULIE SCHLOSSER | Columnist | Co-founders, Altruette

Lee Clifford and Julie Schlosser are the co-founders of Altruette. They make a line of classic charms that each benefits one of 35 different charities. Previously, they were both editors at Fortune magazine.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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