The Social Media Panel Nov 12: From Facing Cancer to Facebook Competitions

This week’s Social Media Panel was hosted by the beauTEAful Amanda Hoffman and on the panel was myself, QBG Admin Rockstar Jasmine Birks, TLC Rock star Cas McCullough and this week’s special guest was Facebook Fan Page Rockstar, Donna Hamer.

Donna starts by telling us how she got into her latest business venture. (We at The Social Media Panel love stories). In 2010 Donna was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and at Nambour Hospital, she sat wondering what to do as her next business venture. As a single mum who had been in and out of hospital for the year, she needed to look at a new business venture and reluctantly turned to Facebook after being persuaded by her friends. We sat there giggling as Donna told us that after setting up a Facebook page that had 13 Likes she knew once and for all that Facebook was not the way to go. A little more persuasion from her friends led Donna to her first Facebook Competition.

One of her Facebook friends kindly told her that her competition was against Facebook’s Terms of Service. After doing a bit of research, she realized that there was a gap in the market as all the information on Facebook competitions that was out there at the time was out of date.  Donna, as her alter ego in Second Life (Lady Hathaway), partnered with a Second Life friend to help kick start And in the true spirit of collaboration, Lady Hathaway was able to persuade her Second Life friends to wander from virtual world into real world with some of her Second Life friends becoming real life clients. We love to hear about Relationship Building at The Social Media Panel.


The Elephant In the Room

Cas asked about the elephant in the room: breast cancer, and Donna explained how a growth from the size of a pea went from a golf ball, to a tennis ball and despite being told by a Doctor not to worry until it grows to the size of a football. Donna went against the “expert” advice and popped a long to the Breast Screen Clinic one day (a service which is free). She was told that the growth had to be cut out otherwise she would risk losing her breast.  She went home and cried for six hours. It’s understandable, really.

The journey didn’t stop there as she was told the lump was benign but was told after the operation that there were cancer cells and they would have to be open her up again. When she was recut, cancer had indeed developed (taking only 7 days to develop) but after the surgery, fortunately the cancer didn’t return. Donna recommends going to the clinic if you are unsure. Don’t worry about it later, just go.

Cas echoed Donna’s advice by suggesting that as women we tend to put ourselves last especially as mums and if we don’t look after ourselves we’re not going to be as effective in what we’re wanting to do for ourselves and for our families.

Amanda took the stage next by asking Donna our first question which was “What makes Donna unique in her business compared to others that do Facebook Competitions?” Donna suggested that she’s the only Social Media strategist that just teaches Facebook Competitions. She niched down to help businesses with one simple strategy that has a return on investment. She also observed other strategists who teach broadly about Social Media and Facebook competitions but their training is still outside of the guidelines which she found frustrating.

Cas agreed that it is easy to make mistakes on Facebook competitions even for those that know what they are doing, citing a recent example when Queensland Business ran a Facebook competition which she wrote about at Social Media Examiner. In the lolly jar competition, Cas asked, if two fans guess the same number, does this need to be a sweepstake? Donna clarified that it depends on what you put in the rules of your competition. If a prize is not involved and the winning is merely the pleasure of guessing correctly, then this doesn’t contravene the Facebook rules.

Cas asked whether Facebook Competitions applied not only to Facebook pages but to Facebook Groups too (the lolly jar competition was run on our Queensland Business Facebook Group). Donna replied by saying we should probably have asked Facebook Australia but suggested that yes, they probably do extend to any area of Facebook.

Being the queen of Facebook competitions is an occupational hazard it seems, as Donna appeared to win one or two competitions but upon realizing who she was, the wins were retracted. Poor Donna lost out on Moët and Chocolates :( Oh, and don’t call her the Queen of Facebook competitions, as that suggests someone old and grey. So Cas suggested Genie as she is so lucky at winning competitions :)


Amanda asked Donna for key tips on creating a Facebook competition.

The number one tip is to have a goal and don’t lose sight of why you’re running the competition.

The number of people who participate in the competition might not matter if there is a good conversion rate on those who participate who then later become clients of yours.

The next tip is that the prize does count. Think about the prize: it must be relevant to your business.

Don’t give away an iPad as this will attract lots of participants but are these participants your target market? Donna tells us that she would prefer to have 200 Likers who are your target market than 2000 Likers who just want to win an iPad. We at The Social Media Panel have to agree there: it’s not about the numbers, it is never about the numbers.

The third tip is that if you’re running a competition, talk about it.

Donna has seen many business owners run a competition and maybe through lack of fear, don’t talk about it again. It is important to let people know about your competition. Use Facebook to build relationships so that if you’re going to run a competition then you can use your relationships, groups you belong to, such as Queensland Business and get them to talk about it. This is in order to get a bigger saturation point of people knowing about the competition.

The final tip is to follow up.

At the end of the competition, you have a list of names and emails.  If you don’t follow up, you will have wasted time and effort in running the competition if you don’t follow up and give them an irresistible offer. How aMAYZing are these tips?  Cas shares our enthusiasm for Facebook Competitions and thanks Donna for the fabulous tips.

What is your biggest Social Media Challenge?

Amanda’s next question to Donna was “What is your biggest Social Media Challenge?” Donna replies by saying that figuring out how to get the biggest bang for your buck on any Social Media platform and recommends choosing one Social Media Platform and do it really well. You need to try and get yourself out there and be seen. Spreading yourself thinly across several platforms might not achieve that.

What is the best advice you can give when it comes to investing in Facebook competitions for your business?

Amanda’s final question was “What is the best advice you can give when it comes to investing in Facebook competitions for your business? What is the most important thing they should do?’’ Donna responded by saying to educate yourself and go and find the person that has the most experience to help you; make sure you can learn everything that you can learn about it before you run a competition and don’t run a competition before learning everything about it beforehand.

Donna’s final piece of advice is that people underestimate the power of Facebook Competitions. They are a great strategy, one strategy that shouldn’t be run every week, but maybe every six weeks as a strategy but mix them up. For example, a sweepstake one time, a photograph competition the next, an on-page competition (like a free product give away) for another. Each competition type has their own strategy and ways of targeting people.

Onto the Social Media News

Jasmine Birks told us that there was a crackdown for the Winter Olympics. Any journalists and Olympians seen using Vine or Instagram at the Olympics will be booted out according to Mashable (although some Australia Olympians have suggested they will defy the decision, according to The Sydney Morning Herald). Cas got on her soap box (and rightly so) about Government and Media Organisations wanting to try and control Social Media, likening the social web to Chaos Theory. It would be difficult to police it.

The final Social Media News of the day was that Philadelphia Police were trying to figure out who was Rats215 on Instagram where they had identified 30 individuals who had testified against criminals. Vigilante groups who were running campaigns to oust criminals is a very serious issue which The Social Media Panel are worried about as it opens a can of worms which is difficult to police. We discussed whether this was a window into a much bigger problem that has been overlooked by authorities? Social media use and crime with some inTEAresting observations.

Apologies from Phil who wasn’t able to attend but a big thank you to Jasmine Birks who does a sterling job as Admin on our Queensland Business Group and did sterling work tonight on The Social Media Panel.

Contact Donna Hamer on Facebook Competitions.

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