How to run a Facebook contest: 5 tips and best practices

Last Updated on October 2nd, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Before knowing how to run a Facebook contest, you need to know about Facebook contest rules. Facebook’s contest rules change frequently, so it pays to stay up-to-date.

For example, Facebook used to require that contests be run on third-party apps, however, now you could run contests directly on the platform. Utilizing, say, a regular post from your business Page.

As well, Fb no longer permits certain prevalent kinds of contests. (By “popular” we mean “overused and spammy”—more details on these in a moment.)

Fb’s most recent updated contest rules break down into three major parts.

Facebook contest rules

1. You’re responsible for running the contest legally

In other words, Fb is not going to help you keep away from breaking state, provincial or federal laws by, say, accidentally running a lottery instead of a contest.

Hint: a lottery contains any contest where participants are required to pay to play, i.e., purchase a product.

2. You’re responsible for obtaining from participants “a complete release of Facebook” and an acknowledgment that Facebook has nothing to do with the contest

One tried-and-true place to house all these regulations, notifications, and consents is a landing page. Landing pages have other advantages, too, which we will get into later.

3. Requiring people to use their personal timelines or friend connections to participate isn’t permitted

Here’s where the old rules fall by the wayside. Asking people to tag a friend or share a post on their timeline used to be a standard contest requirement. No more!

Here’s the direct word from Fb itself:

“Promotions might be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Fb. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” aren’t permitted).” (Source: Facebook)

That said, the advantages of those newest changes outweigh the inconveniences.

These practices were actually kinda annoying to most people. Decreasing the overall pollution on Fb means a better experience for users, meaning people will continue to use the platform (and enter your contests).

So, to recap what is allowed versus what is not:


  • Like this post
  • Comment on this post
  • Like comments on this post (i.e., vote by liking)
  • Post on this Page’s timeline
  • Message this Page

Not ok:

  • Share this post on your timeline
  • Tag your friends
  • Share this post on your friends’ timeline

One grey area is asking people to like your Page. Technically, this is not against the rules, however it’s not recommended ’cause there is no simple method to track the folks who’ve done so.

That mentioned, you could encourage people to like your Page and enter through a less suspect way.

How to run a Facebook contest: 5 tips and best practices

By now you probably have an idea or two as to what you could offer your audience, and what you could ask for in return, in terms of how to run a Facebook contest. Here are some best practices to remember as you iron out the details.

1. Target your goals

When you are going to devote several days—or weeks!—to planning, promoting, administrating and customer-caring this contest, it needs to directly help the objectives of your Facebook marketing strategy.

Here are some examples of goals and objectives to select from before you get began:

  • Improve brand awareness by growing impressions
  • Improve customer affinity by growing engagement (i.e., likes, shares, comments, reactions)
  • Drive traffic to your site by growing click-throughs to a landing page
  • Collect user-generated content for future marketing use
  • Collect audience feedback on services or products
  • Identify leads by collecting email addresses

When you have narrowed down your particular targets, it’s a lot simpler to determine what type of contest you’re gonna run, and how you’re gonna run it.

And since Fb contests are very quantifiable, you will be capable of proving your ROI after, too.

2. Know your audience

You wish your contest to attract people who will like your brand, not people who like big cash prizes (a.k.a. everybody).

That is also called the Don’t Give Away iPads Rule.

Facebook contest by

Select a prize that would appeal to your great customer.

Your very own flagship services or products is usually a good selection: contest participants will self-identify as people who are excited about what you have to provide. Yes, they may prefer your product when it’s free, however, once they have imagined winning it they will have a better appreciation of its value.

At the same time, the prize has to be intrinsically valuable enough that people will pause their eternal scroll and take the time to enter your contest.

If you wish to increase your contest’s reach by offering a more exciting prize, don’t choose one randomly. Take a look at why people care about your brand. What values are they identifying with? What lifestyle are they aspiring to?

This issues particularly when you are asking people to provide user-generated content: once we are talking about their brand, things get personal. Ask yourself whether participating in your contest fits with who your audience is and how they are already behaving on Facebook.

One final note on understanding your audience: think about geo-targeting your posts so that you do not annoy followers who live in ineligible places.

3. Keep it simple

The vast majority of Fb users are on mobile, so design your contest experience for a variety of devices and operating systems. (I wish to send test links to my mother, proud owner of the world’s only living Blackberry Playbook.)

In case your contest requires a landing page, keep it as low-effort as possible. Form fatigue is real. Greedy forms asking for zip codes, salary ranges, and your boss’ phone number will lead to user drop-off or blatant lying.

4. Or make it hard

If you’re looking to filter out low-quality leads or content, a high barrier to entry (i.e., anything that involves more than two clicks) will scare off the half-hearted and noncommittal.

In case your purpose is to gather truly amazing user-generated content, then yes, you could create the prize exceptional. Asking people to write a story, (or, more practically, a review), take a picture, or make a video makes sense if you’re breaking the Don’t Give Away iPads Rule by, um, giving away iPads.

Alternately, if your purpose is to gather great leads, make the task exceptionally related to your target demographic.

5. Promote your contest

Lastly, in order to help your contest gain traction, it needs to reach critical mass, leverage your other marketing channels. Whether your contest is for Fb alone or is running simultaneously on your other social profiles, be sure to post about it, mention it in your newsletter, push it on your proprietary app, and so on.

As well, relying on your business objectives for the contest, it may be worthwhile to boost your contest as a paid Facebook post.

For example, when you pay for Lead Adverts, you could gather audience info without constructing a landing page. (That mentioned, you will also pay for each lead.)

Facebook contest by Aveeno

Hope this article will help you to answer the question ” How to run a Facebook contest”

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