Fb Contests – What Works and What Would not

Since Facebook became a major marketing tool and social media marketing became a specialty in its own right, Facebook contests have also become a crucial part of efforts to build brand awareness, drive user engagement, and generate leads.

If there is one thing people love more than being on Facebook it is trying to get free content on the social website. This is just one reason why the concept of Facebook Contests, even though it has been around for years, can still be an important element of social media marketing campaigns.

A good example of this is the competition held by the Crate and Barrel home improvement and construction store. Their contest offered couples the opportunity to win a dream wedding worth $ 100,000.

The rules of the contest, aptly named “The Ultimate Wedding Contest”, were quite simple: participants had to set up a gift list with a specific brand, post three pictures and answer three questions.

The prize it was about was tempting enough, but what made it transcendent were the aww-inducing love stories that the contest focused on and that sparked even more interest.

In the end, the analysis of the competition data showed that the Crate and Barrel Facebook page had been viewed around three million times within 12 months, and the competition received half a million votes. Further analysis found that around 16,000 couples attended, resulting in gift lists of around $ 35 million.

This may be just one example, but it hammers home the point that online competitions, if done properly, all need metrics – engagement, fan base, relevant information gathering, and user-generated content – to improve.

That being said, here are a few important things to keep in mind when creating Facebook contests for your brand.


As with most social media, nothing is set in stone, and that includes the Facebook Terms of Service.

You’ll need to check out the latest permutation of their guidelines if you decide to take the Facebook contest route, but the ShortStack staff created an infographic on some of the basic guidelines.

What you CAN ask people:

  • How to enter a post
  • Comment on a post to participate
  • Message to a page to be entered
  • Like a page to get access to a competition form
  • Like as a means of voting

What you CANNOT ask the participants:

  • Split a page to enter
  • How to enter another page
  • Tag yourself in photos to win a prize
  • Share the competition on a friend’s timeline for additional entries

You may have the most brilliant Facebook contest ever, but if it doesn’t match Facebook’s changing rules, it’s all for free.

Best Practices

After reviewing the latest Facebook Promotional Terms of Use, here are some of the most popular contest practices.

1. Brand awareness

Correct positioning of the company / brand logo on the campaign is key. It needs to be highly visible, able to identify with your brand and be able to build trust, which leads to more user engagement.

After all, a company or personal brand is one of the greatest drivers of success for an online business.

2. Easy-in form

How many times has a competition piqued your interest only to give up the prospect of joining because the entry form was too complicated? Maybe a couple of times? There are too many if it’s your competition.

There are a number of web tools that you can use to ensure that your registration form is clearly visible and easy to enter. The most commonly suggested tools include ConstantContact, MailChimp, and Aweber.

3. Delete steps

Perhaps even more important than a straightforward registration form is a step that is just as easy to understand and perform to enter the competition. Keep the rules simple and the game exciting. Skip unnecessary steps for potential attendees and make sure they engage a wider audience.

4. Appropriate call to action

Just like the tip above, you need to be precise and direct in your call to action. If they would like to participate, please let us know immediately in the first line of your post. This is key to building a high performing landing page, but it is also key to designing all of the CTAs on your website.

Whether you share, like, or comment, you should be clear about what to do.

5. A picture paints a thousand words

It has been proven that photos generate more likes on Facebook (around 53 percent more). It can of course be just as important to carefully choose which competition photo to use.

A nice shirt or sunglasses as a prize will always attract attention, but a person who glows with joy when wearing this shirt or sunglasses will be even better.

Just like you would create a narrative if you were writing a blog post, you should also tell a compelling story if you are writing a copy for your contest. If you do this, you will likely increase your conversion chances.

6. Use a third party

Third-party apps no longer need to be used for Facebook’s Terms or Service. However, if you can, it is still a good idea to use one.

And if you want to use one, it’s also important to note that you should be using an app that is compatible with mobile devices as more and more people are accessing Facebook this way.

There are many Facebook contest apps out there that make creating a contest easy and straightforward. Use them to your advantage so that you can worry about how your blog is running.

Practices to Avoid

Also, in order to set up an online contest, you need to be aware of practices that may not produce the results you want. Prior knowledge is key to avoiding these mistakes.

1. Registration required

People like prices. Filling out registration forms, not so much. If you really have to, the right incentives must be in place.

2. Award an irrelevant prize

A shiny new tablet sure seems like a relevant price tag – if you’re Apple, Samsung, or an electronics store.

Such big prices would surely get attention, but if they don’t relate to your business you’re probably doing it wrong.

You want attendees to care about your product and brand. When you give away one of your unpublished products, not only do you get a glimpse of what to expect from them, but you can also cause a stir.

3. Have a big winner

Having only one winner is not a good idea for Facebook contests. Low chances of winning distract potential viewers. Even in the lottery, more than one person can win.

4. Run the competition too long

An unfortunate side effect of the internet and social media is the reduction in attention span. You want to keep them busy and not lose interest over time through disinterest.

You want them to keep coming back to your page. A shorter duration of competitions along with constant updates is key.

5. Rely on photos

There are too many things on Facebook, and over-reliance on photos wouldn’t make your brand stand out. You need something special, something unique. You want to involve your audience.

Instead of using archive photos, you can hire a professional photographer to give you unique photos, or you can take one yourself if you have the skills.

Wrap up

As with any marketing campaign, you need to be clear about what you want to achieve by creating a Facebook Contest. Once you’ve set yourself clear goals and devised a competition that equally gets straight to the point, keep the tips above in mind and you should be fine.

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