How to Run a Facebook Contest

facebook contestFacebook Contests Dos and Don’ts


    • Use a third-party application to administer the Facebook contest. This follows Facebook’s Terms of Service, so you can rest easy knowing your page will not be in violation. Indicate that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook. Include a release of Facebook by each entrant or participant. Disclose that you, or your sponsors, are going to receive the information from the players’ entries – not Facebook.
    • Activate Like-gating. This requires the entrant to Like the Facebook page in order to enter the contest. For more information about Like-gating (and a great example of a Like-gate) check out this article about how to optimize your Facebook page for contesting.
    • Make sure your Facebook contest has a compelling prize. Your contest prize should closely align with the products and services you or your advertiser actually offers. A car dealership will probably not acquire quality fans if they are giving away a free massage. If they give away free oil changes for a year, that is much more closely aligned with their business and ultimately their goals. If you are a media property, make sure the prize aligns with your target demographics and their lifestyle interests.
    • Make sure your contest is mobile-friendly. 50% of Facebook users are on their mobile phone – and this segment is growing rapidly. We’ve also seen that anywhere from 30-60% of entries come from mobile phones. (Bonus: Second Street’s Facebook Contesting software has been mobile-friendly since 2012!)
    • Promote, promote, promote you Facebook contest. This is not a “if you build it, they will come” scenario. We have found that the emails you send to promote the contest are the single-most effective asset in these campaigns. Be creative in your status updates by using photos and videos to build buzz. Also, now that Facebook has recently loosened their Cover Photo Guidelines, a custom cover photo with calls to action is definitely recommended (use this handy tool to determine if your Cover Photo obeys the 20% text rule). There are many other ways to use Facebook’s free tools to promote your contest as well!
    • Include an opt-in. One of the single-most important benefits of running Facebook contests is to take your fan base and convert them into a database that you actually own. There are a few additional must-haves on your registration form, such as email and zip code. Keep in mind, you cannot just add all of your contest entrants to your email database! In order to comply with CAN-SPAM laws, you must place a checkbox on your form where people can agree to receive email communications from you.
    • Have a post-contest plan. Create a content strategy in place for what to do AFTER you get your new Facebook fans. This is just as important, if not more so, than running the contest itself.


    • Run contests using Facebook’s functionality. Contests where you “comment to win” or “Like/share this post to win” to enter not only violate Facebook’s Terms of Service, they do not provide the ability to collect any data and convert these fans into a database you own, like your email marketing program.
    • Make it complicated. You will see much higher ROI and achieve the goals you actually want – more fans, more engagement, more opt-ins – if you keep it simple.
    • Contact players directly via Facebook. Using features like Facebook messages, chat or writing on their timeline to notify winners is strictly against Facebook’s promotion guidelines.

Here are some interesting apps to help you run Facebook Promotions and Contests:

  • NorthSocial. Starting Price: $19.99/mth
  • Votigo. Starting Price: $30/week
  • Strutta. Starting Price: $99/mth for their Social Suite
  • Appbistro. Starting Price: Free
  • Faceitpages. Starting Price: Free
  • FanPageEngine. Contest App Coming soon.
  • Tabsite. Starting Price: Free
  • Woobox. Starting Price: $29/mth for promotions
  • Shortstack. Starting Price: Free for Pages under 2000 Likes



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