Facebook Contest Best Practices


Running a Facebook contest or giveaway, is an effective means of generating interest on Facebook without spending money on advertising. By the nature of the contest alone, participants will be engaging with the contest through tags, shares, and comments. This naturally increases your Facebook page’s visibility, which is exactly what you want as a small business.

But running a Facebook contest isn’t all fun and games—aside from compliance with Facebook’s guidelines, your Facebook contest should follow best practices to avoid being flagged as spam. Here are some best practices guidelines for your small business’s Facebook contest.

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Set Participation Rules

With any kind of social media contest or giveaway, you should set clear rules for the contest. Rules should include:

  • How to enter the contest—give clear directions
  • Who may participate in the contest—is your contest limited to a geographic location?
  • When the winner will be announced—set an end date for the contest
  • How the winner will be chosen—is this a random contest or a contest where you will pick the winner based on a photo or caption?

Related: Facebook Marketing in 2016

Make it Easy to Enter

If you’re running a Facebook contest or giveaway, it should be easy to enter. The point of the contest is to increase engagement which will put your business’s Facebook page in front of more people. The more people who know about your business, the better and the easier it is to participate in the contest, the more people will enter.

Provide simple and clear directions for participants on how to enter the contest. Easy ways to enter can be to tag a friend,  like the post, or comment on the post. Choose one of these ways; it not only makes it easier for people to enter, but it also cuts down the work when you’re picking a winner. This is especially when you’re first getting started with Facebook contests and don’t know how many people will participate.

Related: How to Run a Facebook Contest

Contest Limitations and Newsfeed Visibility

If your business is local, you might only want the Facebook contest open to people in your geographic area. If your contest or giveaway involves delivering the winner products, you may not want to deal with shipping the products to the winner if they live far away. Facebook offers the option of limiting the reach of your post to target certain people who already like your page. So, if you’re giving away books or a giant teddy bear, both of which would be expensive to ship, consider limiting the visibility of the Facebook contest post to those within a certain radius of your business.

Giveaway a Prize that Reflects Your Business

The barrier-to-entry is so low on most Facebook giveaways, it means almost anyone can enter. What often ends up happening is that someone with no interest in the business whatsoever will register for the contest in hopes of winning a cool prize. While you may decrease the total number of entrants by having a prize relevant to your business, you will increase the value of each customer who does decide to enter. Check out this post for Facebook contest prize ideas for your business.

Emphasize Graphics

People are bombarded every day by tons of advertising. You must make your business stand out with unforgettable graphics. This includes your brand logo, the prize, an infographic and any other visuals that will pique the potential of potential customers and get them to enter.

Use Your Own Photos

If you’re going to run a Facebook contest, you want it to include a great photo. The better the image is, the more likely it will be to attract attention and entice users to participate in the contest. Although it’s tempting to use professional photos, it’s best to use your own. At the very least, make sure to use stock photos that you have purchased or are free to use for commercial use. Check out these 6 great stock photo sites for images that may work for a Facebook contest.

Timing is Important

When you host your Facebook giveaway you want to make sure that it is during a time of year where your prize and business are relevant. For example, if you run an ice cream parlor, then having a contest during the cold winter months isn’t likely going to appeal to many people. But if you do it during the heat of summer you can guarantee participation will be huge.

Related: 2016 Marketing Calendar

Make it Obvious

Make sure what you’re promoting on your Facebook contest is obvious to your target audience. The purpose of the contest is to grow your business or sell more products or services, but unless that’s obvious to your audience, you won’t be successful. Before you publish your Facebook contest, run it by people who are familiar and unfamiliar with your business. Those who are unfamiliar with your business should be able to tell you exactly what it is that you’re giving away and how it relates to your business. People familiar with your business will be able to tell you if you’ve left anything out of your contest information. Need help with giveaway ideas? Check out these 6 Facebook giveaway ideas.

Collect Information

Make sure that there is a way for you to collect information from the Facebook contest. This might be email addresses through a form or demographic information for future Facebook ad targeting. Whatever is it that you want to get from running your contest, make sure that you’re actually getting it. An easy way to collect information is to require users to like or share the post so that you can use these users for future targeting on Facebook ads. Another way to collect information is for the contest to involve clicking a link and filling out a form where people must provide an email address.

Annouce the Winner and Follow Up

Stick to the timeline of the Facebook contest and announce the winner of the contest on your Facebook page right after the contest has ended. This lets people know that the contest is over and who won. Make sure to thank all of the participants in the contest and follow up with information for future contests.

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