The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Contests

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Contests

  1. Strategy
  2. 2018/04/09

Whether you’re with a small agency or a big company, if you oversee the business’social media, you’ll probably have to host a contest on your Facebook page at one point or another. If you’re thinking it’s not worth your time, you’re wrong! It’s not just clickbait.

While you may think that Facebook contests aren’t really going to have added value for your brand, I am here to outline why they are, in fact, a good idea for your company.

Not only does this strategy build loyalty among your audience, it’salso an excellent way to promote certain products and services. At the same time, Facebook contests can stimulate interest and in turn, help to grow your online community. More fans equals more prospects.

I’m here to help you develop a Facebook contest that is relevant, engaging and… legal!

Set a goal for your contest

First things first. To make sure you start off on the right foot, you have to determine the overall objective of your contest.

  • Do you want to thank your customers for their loyalty?
  • Are you celebrating an important milestone?
  • Are you promoting a new product?
  • Do you want to collect email addresses?
  • Are you trying to get content from your subscribers??

It all depends on your personal objective. Just don’t forget to establish what you want to achieve before moving forward!

Choose the type of contest

Once you’ve answered the question of WHY you want to do a contest, you’ve got to ask yourself HOW. You’ve got to decide how users will participate. Will they need to send you information by email? Answer a questionnaire? Fill something out online?

IMPORTANT: If you want your selection process to use the “likes”, comments or shares, your communication must be phrased carefully.

Note that you cannot compel participants to:

  1. Like your page in order to participate
  2. Share your contest on their feed or that of a friend’s
  3. Tag one or many friends in the post

This is known as “fan gating”and Facebook began prohibiting it in November 2014.

If you do indeed decide to mention one or all of these elements in your post, the abovementioned actions cannot be a part of the selection process for the contest winner.

However, because Facebook is the master of changing its spots, I suggest you visit their contest guidelines pagefor up-to-date information.

Review Facebook’s Terms of Service

Another important thing to consider: contest participants must have access to the complete contest rules. This includes offer conditions and eligibility criteria such as age limits and geographic restrictions.

Among these rules, you absolutely have to mention that the promotion is not associated with Facebook and is not managed, approved or sponsored by Facebook.

Make sure you comply with regional regulations

Now that your contest is legal from “Zuckerberg’s”point of view, it also needs to comply with the province’s standards.

If you are holding the contest in the province of Québec, your contest has to comply with the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec(RACJ). You have to declare your contest to the RACJ if your prize exceeds a value of $100. In order to do so, you can complete the online form (available in French only)and pay the associated fee (which corresponds to 10% of the prize value).

Promote, and then promote some more!

Congratulations for making it this far! Now it’s time to get creative.

In fact, at this stage of the process, you have to choose whether you want to use a third-party application for your contest or simply post something to promote your contest.

So, how to choose?

If you’re hosting a fairly simple Facebook contest where you’re not looking to gather personal information from your participants and you want to remain in Facebook’s interface, I would recommend a Facebook post.

However, as soon as your contest gets a bit more complicated, say, if participants need to fill out a form and it doesn’t bother you to ask your public to leave Facebook’s website, I recommend a contest application.

There are countless contest apps but my favourite is Shortstack.It’s really user-friendlyand lets you personalize just about everything.


If you went the route of the Facebook post contest and it comes time to choose your winner(s), you can check out the Fanpage Karmapage. Just copy your contest’s URL and select the parameters you want to determine the winner of your contest.

And if you decide to use an application, all you have to do is export your data in CSV files and do a good ol’=INDEX(A1:A3;ENT(ALEA()*3)+1) in Excel.

Hint hint! Beware of serial contestants!

Oh contest addicts! How we love and loathe thee! You will find these contest fanatics just about anywhere there is a contest to be won.

No matter the brand or the product, serial contestants will participate just to experience the thrill (!) of winning. As such, these individuals will render your contest statistics biased because their interest in it has nothing to do with your brand and/or product. They are simply playing for the fun of it.

And don’t be fooled, these serial contestants are smart! They have discussion groups and forums where they share information about contests and getting “likes”.

That’s right. We don’t all share the same passions in life.

All this to say…have a great contest!

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