How To Run A Successful Facebook Contest

Posted by Murray Sye

on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 @ 01:21 PM


Ever wondered if a Facebook contest is right for your company?

Well, with a little planning and effort, your company could see a great payoff.

As of September 2014, Facebook has 1.35 billion monthly active users, so it's still the big daddy of social media marketing, for businesses large and small. A contest can be a great way to enhance and expand your company's Facebook presence.

Why have a Facebook contest?
First off, you need to decide exactly what you hope to accomplish with your Facebook contest. Contests can be a powerful marketing tool, but you need to go in with a goal, otherwise you're just flailing in the wind.

Some of the top benefits your company can hope to achieve with a contest are to:

  • Generate interest in your company or product
  • Increase fans and likes
  • Collect data
  • Increase loyalty

What to give away
You want to attract your customer, so what you give away is important. An iPad is still a popular prize, but you'll benefit more by giving away something that attracts contestants that have an interest in your actual products or services. 

So try and keep it relevant, like fashion retailer Lord & Taylor did with its Facebook contest. The big winner snagged $2,500 worth of accessories from its website.


Some companies offer their services as the big prize. So, if you run a landscaping business, you might want to give away three months of gardening maintenance, or a free backyard design plan.

You can also consider partnering with another company so you can offer a more impressive prize and you can both benefit from the contest publicity.

Don't risk your Facebook page: Be sure to play by the rules
You don't want to put a lot of effort into your contest, only to have your Facebook Page deleted because you broke the rules.

A few things to keep in mind are that personal timelines cannot be used to administer promotions. they need to be administered on Pages or within apps. Also, be sure to let participants in your contest know that it is not sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook.

Keep in mind that Facebook rules are often in flux, so it's important to keep on top of things. For a more in-depth rundown of what you can and cannot do, check out: Facebook's Guidelines here.

Company success stories
Companies of all sizes have found success with Facebook contents.

Kohl's Cares for Kids, the philanthropic arm of Kohl's department store ran a hugely successful Facebook Contest. Kohl's Cares pledged to give schools that gained the most votes on its Facebook page $500,000 each. At the end of the six-week campaign, two million people had voted and Kohl's gained 1.6 million new Facebook fans.


The prize doesn't even have to be that big. On a smaller scale, Diamond Candles ran two contest where the prizes were two $50 gift cards to their stores. They received 10,000 new leads from these promotions.

Apps to use for your Facebook contest
There are numerous apps that you can use to implement your Facebook contest – whether it's a sweepstakes, or a photo, video or essay contest, many apps offer a pared-down free version or free trial. Most apps also offer premium versions with all the bells and whistles.

Some of the popular apps include, Shortstack, Woobox,, and Offerpop.

There are over one billion mobile monthly active users on Facebook, so make sure the app you choose can make your contest mobile friendly. 

Promote, promote, promote
Sure, your contest may be on Facebook, but be sure to use your other social networks like Twitter or Pinterest to get the word out. You can embed your Facebook contest on your website or blog, shout it out in your newsletter, or advertise in your physical store if you have one.

Looking ahead
During your Facebook contest, you should obviously post periodic updates about your contest. But you'll also want to post other enticing content that doesn't have to do with the contest, so you'll retain your new fans long after the contest has finished.


And don't forget to follow-up after the contest. Thank people for entering. If you've collected email addresses, you might even consider sending a small consolation prize, such as a coupon for 20% off your products or services.

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Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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