How to Launch a Successful Facebook Contest

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Do Facebook contests really work?

The answer is — yes. People love to win things!

Contests need to be done the right way, though. Facebook has rules about contests that many people don't know about — and running a contest that doesn't comply with Facebook's rules could get you banned.

If you are convinced that a Facebook contest is the right choice for your brand, here are some ways to launch a successful contest.

1. Know Why You Want to Run a Contest

Are you running this contest to get more page likes? More engagement? To showcase a new product or increase brand awareness?

Make sure that you have a clear idea of why you are running this contest — rather than just doing it because everyone else is.

2. Follow Facebook's Rules 

Facebook has rules for contests that you may have not heard about.

You cannot run a contest from your wall by having people comment on a post or upload a picture to your page. It seems simple enough to say, “Comment on this picture and the funniest caption will win ________,” but if you do this and Facebook's automated system detects it, you could be banned.

Save yourself the trouble and run your contest through a third-party contest application. Some popular applications you can use are:


Choose the app that's right for you. It should be customizable, in your price range, and have mobile capabilities (in 2012, people spent nearly 40% of their online time on a mobile device — crazy, right?).

Other rules that you might not know about:

– You must also notify the winner(s) of your contest via email, snail mail, phone call, etc. before publicly announcing it on Facebook.
– You can't include calls to action like, “Tell your friends” or “Don't forget to vote” on your timeline cover picture.
– You need to clearly state that Facebook is not sponsoring the giveaway — show your rules and guidelines loud and clear on your contest.

3. Pick a Relevant and Realistic Prize

While it would be cool to give away one of the latest Apple products, if your business is a burger joint, this might seem like a scam to your fans and followers. It doesn't really have anything to do with your products and seems too good to be true.

Offer a prize that showcases your products or services — a free dinner for the burger joint, a month of free membership if you own a gym, a pedicure at a spa, etc. You could poll your fans to find out what something is that they would like to win.

It doesn't have to be extremely expensive to be valuable to your fans.

4. Promote, Promote, Promote

This is one of the most important parts of running a successful Facebook contest — promote your contest!

Spread the word by tweeting about it, putting links to the contest on your Facebook page, having a link on your website, including it in e-mail newsletters, providing a share button so that friends and fans can share it — whatever you need to do to get it out there.

By following a few pretty simple Facebook rules and promoting your contest with great prizes, you are sure to run a successful Facebook contest. What's the most creative contest you have ever seen on Facebook? Have you run a successful contest already? How? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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Harold Gardner
Harold Gardner
11 years ago

The rules don’t seem that tough, but I have yet to visit FB without seeing somebody fouling this up.

Reply to  Harold Gardner
11 years ago

Totally the truth!

11 years ago

Great outline for people wanting to set up an FB contest. Contests really are a great way to engage consumers. Like you said, we all like to win free stuff! 🙂

Reply to  LeadGenix
11 years ago

Yes, we sure do :-)! Thanks for dropping in!

11 years ago

I know, right, Alicia? Same here. Many are in direct violation for sure.

10 years ago

You cannot conduct a contest on FB ‘legally’ without using a third party app. Additionally, you cannot contact them through FB to tell them that they are the winners without violating FB’s TOS. I would suggest taking a look at

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