How to Run a Successful Facebook Contest

Running a Facebook contest is one of the best ways to engage your fans and acquire news ones, who doesn’t love getting free stuff for pushing a few buttons?  The key to a successful Facebook contest is making sure you have all of the key elements that bring in new fans, get people to enter, and encourage people to share and promote your contest for you.

Follow The Facebook Contest Guidelines

First and foremost, if you’re going to run a Facebook contest, make sure that contest doesn’t break any of the official rules that Facebook has setup for business pages.  The last thing you want is to spend hours getting everything setup, promoting your new contest and finding out your page is now suspended for a TOS violation.  Can’t promote a page that doesn’t exist right?

Some of these Facebook rules include:  

  • Not forcing people to complete an action to enter your Facebook contest like:  Forcing them to like your page or requiring them to take a picture using their product.
  • Releasing Facebook from any involvement or liability for the contest (don’t ever say it’s sponsored by Facebook, seriously).
  • Disclosing information about the information your collecting and how you’ll use it
  • Don’t use Facebook features as a voting mechanism (picking a winner based on liking the page, commenting on a photo, etc)

There are a lot of rules to Facebook contests, make sure you don’t break any of them.

Pick a Prize Worth Winning

If you really want people to get excited about your contest, make sure your prize is worth winning.  A year of free sandwiches at your restaurant is a lot more exciting than 15% off your value menu.  When you’re deciding on your prize, make sure it’s something people will not only be interesting enough to get people to enter your contest, but great enough that it’s worth sharing with their friends.  The more share-worthy your Facebook contest is, the better your end result will be.

Use a Third Party Application to Manage Your Contest

The best way to make sure that you’re staying within the Facebook guidelines and providing an easy entry method is to use a third party Facebook application to manage and run your contest.  Facebook page app producers (depending on which one you choose) like North Social produce great apps that are not only eye-appealing but make running your contest incredibly easy.  One of the biggest benefits to using these applications is that they are usually set up to abide by the Facebook TOS by default, alleviating your work a bit by handling the compliance part for you.

When choosing a Facebook contest or  Facebook sweepstakes app, make sure that you work with a company that has a good reputation, not just a cheap price.  While these apps can seem expensive, spending an extra $50 to have a professional looking contest will likely generate a lot more return than going with the cheapest option available.

If you’re not sure what company to use, I would recommend taking a look at North Social.  They have been around for quite a while, offer TONS of different Facebook apps and have a reasonable price compared to some of the other options available.


Promote Your Contest Everywhere

If you want your contest to be a success, you can’t stop at simply setting it up.  Once you have your prize picked and your contest page up and running, it’s up to you to spread the word about it.  Start by creating and sharing your contest announcements daily on all of your various profiles.  Throw a blog post up and an announcement on your website and build a buzz.  If you’re interested in generating a bit of a bigger buzz, you might consider getting a small Facebook ad campaign going for the duration of your contest.

Have a Plan in Place for After The Contest

Hosting a contest is great, but having a plan in place for afterwards is even better.  If you get a few hundred entries and a few new likes, that’s great, but don’t let it stop there.  If you setup your contest properly, you should now have a few hundred new leads that you can reach out to.  Whether it’s contacting them via email to notify them of the contest winner, or simply offering a coupon to those who didn’t win, have a plan in place for what you’ll do after the contest has ended.


Have you run a Facebook contest to promote your brand or business online? Share your best Do’s and Don’ts by leaving a comment below!

Taylor Clark is a web designer, internet marketing expert and blogger from Gonzales, LA. Taylor has been working with small business owners and entrepreneurs to improve their online marketing strategy through use of social media, website marketing, PPC advertising and much more.

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