ZoSocial Review & Case Study: Facebook Contest Software

To get the quick and dirty Zosocial review and case study, click the screen below to pop up the review video. I’d also recommend reading the article below as it goes into greater detail on some of the material I only touch on in the review…

Click here to learn more about purchasing ZoSocial for your business!

ZoSocial is contest software for Facebook. Contests are huge on Facebook for a very simple reason; engagement. People like to win stuff and thus they participate in them, they comment on them and they share them with their friends. In short, they do all the things you only wish they’d do with your “other” posts and updates (sigh).

Engagement is a critical metric on Facebook for a couple of reasons…

  1. The most obvious reason is that your customer, fan or prospect is bombarded with distractions on all sides; funny pet videos, updates from friends and family, pictures of Uncle Ross’ prize winning pumpkin and so on. To actually be able to wrench their attention away from all that stuff and focus on your business is a feat in itself, and the Zosocial contest software helps with that.
  2. In large part, how your fans react to your posts determines how many of them are going to be exposed to them now and in the future. That’s correct; if your fans comment, like and share the material you post, that tells Facebook they are “engaged” with what you are publishing, and therefore additional content is likely to receive the same, or perhaps more exposure. On the other hand, if very few do, that tells Facebook your content is not very engaging, and the reverse is true.

What makes Zosocial different from other Facebook contest options is that it allows you host your contest or sweepstakes in a post. All actions required to register for the contest occur within the post.

What’s great about this?

Well, it means your fans and prospects don’t have to stop doing what they are doing to participate in your contest. They don’t have to click away from their newsfeeds – where your post will appear – they don’t have to visit your page, and most importantly, they don’t have to leave the confines of Facebook. This may sound trivial, but it is of critical importance. The easier you can make it for people, the less of an imposition upon their time you can take, the better the response is going to be.

Before Zosocial, you had two choices for contests… run them as a custom tab on your page (using a service like ShortStack or Heyo), or run them off site, like you can see here…

contest-pic

… using a service like WP Contest Creator, and then advertise to try to divert your audience to these locations to participate. This can be done, of course, but it hugely more expensive – prohibitively so, I’d say.

The Functionality

As addressed in the review vid, Zosocial does exactly what it says it does, which is pretty reasonable to expect when you’re paying $300 for a piece of software. It’s…

  • Mobile responsive
  • Allows numerous types of contests (caption contests, trivia contests, pure sweepstakes, giveaways, polls, etc).
  • Able to automatically update winners and losers.
  • Able to automatically select and notify the winner.
  • Able to create squeeze pages to capture email addresses
  • Able to integrate with all major autoresponders.

… and much more. As I indicated in my video, I don’t intend to talk too much about the functionality in this review, because that is discussed in full on the product web site. Doing so here would be redundant. Besides, showing you the internals of the tool does nothing to determine whether or not it will do anything for your business on Facebook. Thus, the purpose of this discussion is to determine whether it will make you money – and boost your business. It’s enough to know that it’s well designed, easy to use, and comes with comprehensive, but not overwhelming help.

Integrating with Autoresponders

As I mentioned a minute ago, ZoSocial integrates with all major autoresponders via an API, and if yours is not on the list, you can copy and paste the raw HTML into a form. And while you do not need to integrate the squeeze pages or the autoresponder integration into your contests, I strongly suggest that you do; it is the only way you can re-connect with your participants. And I don’t mean to notify them of winning the contest. I mean connecting with them with offers related to your business, links to your web site and so on.

One of the problems with marketing on Facebook is that you do not own the medium, nor do you own your fans’ data. Getting their email addressess allows you to connect with them outside of Facebook, which is hugely valuable. If you do not have an email publishing / autoresponder service yet, I highly recommend Aweber. I use them myself and have done so for years. The interface is intuitive and easy to use, and it’s very competitively priced at just under $20 a month. This is an essential marketing tool, so don’t cut corners!

Boosting / Advertising Your ZoSocial Posts

I purchased ZoSocial for my businesses, but I only did so after confirming that contest posts could be advertised within Facebook. As the image directly below shows, Facebook’s organic reach has been dropping like a rock since its IPO in 2012 and it now hovers somewhere between 2-6%…

facebook-decline-reach

What’s organic reach?

It’s the number of your business’ fans who are exposed to your updates (which appear in their newsfeeds) for free. In other words, out of every 100 fans that you have, only 2 to 6 of them will have your updates appear in their newsfeeds (which they will need to see and acknowledge for you to obtain any benefit). That means 94-98 of them will not receive exposure.

Yes, despite the fact that they specifically asked to receive them!

You’re not the only one upset by this. I am. Mercedes Benz is. As is almost every single company that maintains a Facebook presence. It’s a huge drag. But it helps to emphasize the point – if you don’t own the platform you are advertising on and cannot obtain your customers’ (fans) data, you don’t own your business and can be help hostage by changes in policy such as this.

Anyhow…

The bottom line is that if I could only promote my ZoSocial contests to my own fans, there probably would not be much point in bothering, since I would only be able to connect with such a tiny percentage of them. However, when I received confirmation from ZoSocial staff that Facebook was OK with promoted contest posts, I went ahead and purchased.

I set up a post – as detailed in the video at the top of the page…

contest

… and promoted it through the ads manager for page post engagement (facebook.com/advertising).

I did not “boost” a post, which does not offer nearly the same amount of flexibility. My post was approved, although it took quite some time. Several hours to be exact. Normally, it only takes a few minutes for ad approval. This indicates to me that this was punted around by staff at FB HQ before coming up with a decision. My recommendation is that you include a link to a Terms and Conditions page somewhere – either in the contest description, or in the registration process somewhere. I suspect this is going to be critical to approval, as it mitigates the liabilites FB may assume by running the contest on their platform. It certainly makes your contest look more professional and credible.

I have set up a template that you can use for your promotions – just click here, and cut and paste it into a simple text editor. Review and make all the necessary changes for your sweepstakes, which I have highlighted in ALL CAPS. This is the same template I used for my promotion.

ZoSocial Review Bottom Line

I was very pleased with the results I obtained with ZoSocial. I obtained in excess of a 3% click through rate on my contest, which I ran as a newsfeed ad only. This is a pretty decent CTR for Facebook, especially when you consider the image was not particulary compelling, nor was the call to action as strong as it could have been. I receved over 60 registered entries and over 35 new subscribers to my autoresponder sequence – at less than $2 apiece. I am definitely going to run more contests and put the tool through its paces. If you’re looking for some well made, well thought out Facebook contest / sweepstakes / caption it software, ZoSocial is definitely worth a long, hard look.

However, if you do not intend to advertise your contest posts, or use the integrated squeeze page option to collect your participants email addresses to market to, the value of ZoSocial drops significantly – unless of course, you have a massive number of fans, and are able to connect with a relatively large number of them for free.

This is not cheap software ($300 annually or just under $40/month), but if your Facebook promotional campaigns are important to you, it verges on the “must have”.

Hope that helps!

You can learn more about ZoSocial here.

Speak Your Mind

*


*