5 Ways Facebook Contests Drive Engagement, Build Connections And Capture Leads

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Marketing apps can help you in a variety of ways. But, do you sometimes feel that there are just way too many options out there? It’s hard to decide which solution to go with, isn’t it?

“I don’t know if I should I run a photo contest, a sweepstakes or a giveaway. Nor do I know the difference between them.”

Well, at first it was confusing for me, too.

To help highlight the differences, here are five campaign examples from Antavo’s database.

You will see what each app type is useful for, and decide for yourself which fits your goal the best.

#1. Driving Engagement With Selfies

Lessthan10pounds.com is a fashion retailer. They ran a photo contest where people were asked to upload pictures of themselves.

Since Ellen DeGeneres‘s legendary Oscar selfie, such pictures are not lame any more. Ellen legitimized it for all of us, and it’s a great marketing tool. (Thanks Ellen and Samsung!)

According to Antavo’s numbers, photo contests with people in the pictures spread much faster and wider.  The reason is that once people upload their own picture, they do their best to drum up votes, so they spread the word among friends.

To achieve better results, instead of awarding the prize only to the top entry, the company could distribute prizes among the top 10 entries.  This strategy encourages sharing and inviting friends. Also, giving multiple prizes encourages participation.

facebook contest

Fashion retailer Lessthan10pounds.com was running a selfie contest.

facebook contests

This is the list of entrants. People could vote for their favorite.

#2. Rewarding Fans and Building Connections

Postplanner.com is a social media tool that helps to find great content and to schedule posts on Facebook.

They gave away a free membership to John Haydon’s study program.  John is a Facebook marketing expert for nonprofits, so his study program is relevant to Postplanner’s audience.

It works in reverse too.  Postplanner helps John by bringing traffic to his site.  It’s a win-win situation.

See the app below. To facilitate sharing, the app has an inbuilt viral mechanism: “Spread the word after entering, and you will get 5 more entries per referred friend!”

Bonus points work as a great incentive for sharing.  Plus, it’s often the only way you can convince someone to spread the word about a sweepstakes. (Otherwise, why would you share a sweepstakes if you’d simply be decreasing your chances of winning if others sign up and stiffen the competition?)

facebook contests

Postplanner gave away a product from an expert in their industry. It’s not only relevant to their customers, but they also help the expert to get exposure.

#3. Encouraging Newsletter Signups

Reloved Cornwall is a home décor and furniture store. They use newsletters to recommend new products to their customers.  To grow their email list, they ran a sweepstakes where people could win a valuable gift pack.

See the app below.  From the copy along, one can learn why it’s worth it to sign up for their newsletter, and what the prizes are.  Right off the bat, it introduces you to their shop and what it offers.

The shop could make the sweepstakes more attractive by offering multiple, lower-value prizes.

facebook contests

This home décor and furniture store uses sweepstakes to grow their email list.

#4. Capturing Leads After an Offline Event

LUX, the beauty brand runs offline events called “Girls’ Night Out” when they invite fans to watch a movie and get to know each other.

To keep contact after the event they chose a fun and engaging way. They asked participants to upload their photo that was taken at the event. The photo with the highest number of votes won.

Just like #1.  To maintain a high interest level, the condition of winning could have been to earn a spot among the top 10 entries instead of only the top entry.  In addition to this, it’s a perfect way to keep in touch with fans and reach friends and family members of the attendees.

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LUX continues its offline event on Facebook.

#5. Getting Large Exposure With Viral Spread

The Rock n Roll Resort is a concert venue in New York.  They ran a sweepstakes where they gave away a pair of tickets to a local music festival.

After entering the sweepstakes, you could earn more points if your friends enter the sweepstakes from your shared link.

This app has a clean design, and it’s very easy to enter. The sole purpose of this app is to capture leads and encourage sharing.

No frills, no extra questions.

facebook contests

This dance hall gives away a pair of tickets to a local music festival.

The Simple Truth Of Marketing Apps

For the record, there is not much difference between sweepstakes and giveaways.  They are synonymous, in theory.

After seeing all these apps, it’s clear there are patterns in the campaigns above:

Facebook contests are for engagement.
Facebook sweepstakes are for lead generation and growing your email list.

Which one do you want in your next campaign?


Zsuzsa Kecsmar
This monthly Social Media Contests column is contributed by Zsuzsa Kecsmar. Zsuzsa is a co-founder of Antavo Viral Contests, a tool that helps to create sweepstakes, contests and giveaways to Facebook, mobile and web. It's used by small businesses, agencies and marketers from 150+ countries on 27 languages. Zsuzsa is an award winning radio journalist, now responsible for marketing and customer development. +Zsuzsa Kecsmar
Zsuzsa Kecsmar


Formerly @szabozsuzsa. Co-founder & CMO of @antavopromotion, a smart tool to run sweepstakes & contests. Creator, connector, communicator http://t.co/OPZKVlzo3C
Everything Is Still NOT Awesome https://t.co/1fK0JfCK19 #StopShell #Lego #Greenpeace - 2 months ago
Zsuzsa Kecsmar
Social Tools Summit


  1. Jessica Smith says

    Thanks for sharing this post for sure it will help create fresh ideas in the minds of Facebook page managers. Marketers are into various tactics to drive Facebook engagement including creating contests for their followers.
    It is natural for most people to be driven by the rewards that they can get. Aside from that, people are usually curious with what their friends are into so contests like the ones you mentioned in this post can really drive engagement.

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