Facebook Contests: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

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When done correctly, a Facebook contest can bring many benefits to businesses. With an array of contest-types to choose from, including voting contest, photo contest and sweepstakes, businesses can utilize contests to use it to increase sales, increase loyalty, increase fans and many more. But did you know that Facebook has set strict guidelines that you need to follow?

According to the Facebook Promotion guideline:

  • Promotions on Facebook must be administered within a third party app
  • Promotions on Facebook must include the following
    • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant. 
    • Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.


Facebook Promotion Guideline

    • Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. 
  • You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. 

The third is quite straight forward – you can’t use any of Facebook’s features to run your contests. This includes:

  1. Like to win
  2. Share to win
  3. Comment to win
  4. Post on our wall to win
  5. Tag yourself in a photo and win

Not following the guidelines is one of the biggest mistakes that your business could do. Either the admin/owner of the page is completely unaware of such conditions, or simply ignoring it by choice, the fact is there are still many page owners who are organizing contests such as these.

Facebook has the absolute right to remove a page if it is not complying with its rules. The playground is theirs after all – and we all need to play nice together! Although you may not have heard of pages being removed, I actually had a friend who had his page removed because of this. He lost 20,000 fans in one night.

Now that we’ve covered the most important thing you shouldn’t do on Facebook, here are some of the things that you should do.

1. Use a third party app

The good news is third party contest platforms like Binkd is made especially to comply with the Facebook guidelines we talked about earlier. That means you’re able to organize a contest without losing any sleep because of the risk of having your page removed when you wake up.

Third party apps make sense because, quite simply, the best way to move your business forward is sometimes to trust other businesses in areas where you are not an expert in. That way you can concentrate in what you do best while being supported with those who do their best in other fields.

 2. Promote, promote, promote

Let the world know about your contest. One mistake businesses make is not promoting enough. A good way to really get the word out is asking your family and friends to chip in to promote. If you don’t know how to promote your contest, I recommend you to read what we’ve covered before here.

Here is a summary:

  1. Ask friends for help
  2. Use Facebook ads, sponsored stories, promoted posts
  3. Email your subscribers
  4. Share on other social networking sites
  5. Use buysellads
  6. Influencer engagement

3. Put up a like-gate

A Facebook like-gate ensures that those who wants to participate in your Facebook contest will need to like your page first.

Here is a great example of a like-gate  using Binkd by Saga Outerwear.

social media contest

 4. Give away the right prize. 

Giving away the right prize will attract the right crowd. Prizes such as iPads, iPhones and iAnything will attract a lot of people and increase the amount of fans on your page, but it will not help your page in the long run as most of them aren’t interested in your brand and will not like to engage with your page after the contest.

To summarize the entire post, I have a little slideshare that I would like to share with you.


As I mentioned earlier, a Facebook contest is only powerful when it’s done correctly. The possibilities and potential of it helping your business are endless, but structuring a contest without a solid goal will only damage your page in the long run. I’ll finish with a quote that fits well with this post

‘With great power comes great responsibility – Uncle Ben (Spiderman)

What would you add to this article?

Aaron Lee
This monthly Social Media Contests column is contributed by Aaron Lee. Aaron is the social media manager at Binkd.com, a comprehensive social media promotion platform that allows businesses to build and manage digital promotions and contests. Aaron is also the founder and writer at askaaronlee.com. +Aaron Lee
Aaron Lee


Grand Master of Customer Delight @PostPlanner. Trying to perfect the art of making cappuccino while running a business. Introvert with awesome hair.
I know this too well! http://t.co/FCFLeiOGaX - 3 hours ago
Aaron Lee
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