Best Practices For Running A Successful Facebook Contest


Running a contest on social media, especially Facebook, is a great way to boost your reach, drive engagement and and build brand awareness. With over a billion people active daily on Facebook, you have a great opportunity to attract new customers and engage with current ones.

Here are 10 key tips to help you get started with running a Facebook contest:


1. Understand Facebook’s contest guidelines

Facebook has pretty strict rules and guidelines when it comes to running contests.  Be sure to take the time to read Facebook’s Page guidelines before running your own contest and check back often as they can change the rules at any time.

2. Have a specific goal in mind

In order for your Facebook contest to be successful, you have to give thought to what you want to gain from it. Setting specific goals before you start will help ensure you achieve them.

As an example, you may want to use the contest to boost website traffic, promote a product or just create some buzz around your brand. Once you have come up with your objectives, you have what you need to start the   planning process.

3. The prize should be both relevant and worthy

When it comes to contests, if you want people to enter, you have to offer them something they are interested in. Take the time to found out what objects are of great interest to your audience and cater to their wishes.  A successful contest will generate more than enough engagement and buzz to pay for the cost of any prize.

4. Decide on the type of contest 

Now comes the fun part, deciding what type of Facebook contest you want to run. Some of the most tried-and-true contest types can be a good place to start.  This can be a like or comment to win, a photo caption contest, post your own video or photo,  answer a question, just to name a few.  Just keep in mind that these types of contests usually generate hundreds of entrants so you need to make sure you have someone to judge them. On the flip side, you can also run a more straightforward contest where a winner is chosen at random.

Before you get moving to the next detail, consider using a third-party app to help you keep track of all the entrants. Some apps can even pick a winner for you!  Don’t you just love technology.  There are many of these apps to choose from including WooBoxRafflecopter and Votigo.

5. Provide clear rules

This is a very important step.  Be sure to provide your audience with very clear terms and conditions for entering your contest.  Some of these include whether there are any age or location restrictions, how people can enter, what the prize will be, whether people can enter more than once, when the competition closes  and how you will go about announcing the winner.

6. Make it easy to enter and share

By now, we have all probably tried to enter a contest we have seen on Facebook for a great prize, only to find out you need to fill out a lengthy questionnaire about yourself.  This is something you want to stay away from.  You want to keep it sweet and simple for your participants, which will in turn encourage more entrants.  Furthermore, to boost the number of entrants even more, you also want to make it simple for participants to share your contest with their friends.

7. Make it mobile-friendly

A large percentage of people on Facebook are using the platform via their smartphone so make sure it is mobile-friendly.

Here are some ways to ensure your contest works properly on a mobile device:

  • Run a test for the entry process across all types of mobile devices (Windows, iPhone, Android, tablets, etc.)
  • Keep the entry form nice and short
  • Do not make the entrant like your page before they can enter the contest.  Most will find it annoying.
  • Use Facebook’s contest app which helps keep your contests both optimized and uniform across all devices.

8. Use Facebook ads to boost your contest

We should all know by now that your organic reach is greatly reduced on Facebook.  For this reason, Facebook ads are a great help in boosting visibility of your contest.  If you are looking for help with ads, take a look at Facebook’s guide.

9. Promote your contest beyond Facebook

Sharing your contest across all your social media accounts is key to ensuring your contest reaches the broadest audience possible. Something like Twitter could be used to provide updates on the contest, driving people to head to Facebook.  If you are doing a contest involving photos, Instagram would be a good cross promotion idea. Aside from social media, also consider finding a spot on your website to promote it.  Also include contest details in any email newsletters you send out and even include it in your email signature.  And of course don’t forget about the power of word of mouth.  It can be mighty.

10. Measure your contest performance

Now that the contest is over, it is time to review its performance.  Circle back to those goals you wanted to achieve and see whether you achieved them or came up short.  Either way, do consider running more contests in the future. The high level of potential engagement with contests is something you want to continue to capitalize on. You will need to fine tune your strategy and tactics.  Here are some questions to think about as your contest comes to a close:

  • Did I run the right type of contest?
  • Did I target the right audience?
  • Did I allow enough time for the contest?
  • Did the prize I picked provide enough incentive?
  • Were the rules clear and easy to follow?
  • What was the biggest challenge of running the contest?

If this was your first time doing a contest, come up with new goals and targets for your next one and do a comparison.  You will soon figure out what your audience responds to most and what performs best for your brand.