New Facebook Contest Rules: What You Need to Know

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Two weeks ago Facebook announced that they are changing how businesses run their Facebook contests.  Previously, every contest needed to be accompanied with a third party contest app such as Binkd. Today, business owners have the choice of running the contest through an app or simply through their timeline.

To read the full changes, I recommend you click here.

In a nutshell, here is everything you need to know about the recent changes.

Now Facebook page owners are able to run contests such as:

  • Get fans to like a post to participate
  • Get fans to comment on a post to participate
  • Get fans to send a message to you to participate.
  • Use like as a voting mechanism

However, there are still rules that you need to follow if you’re planning to organize a timeline contest.

  • You can’t ask fans to share the post on their timeline or their friends to participate
  • You can’t ask them to like your facebook page to count as a participation.
  • You can’t ask fans to tag themselves in your photo

There are still many businesses who make the mistake of not knowing this and still asking their fans to do some of the above.

Now that we’ve covered what you can or can’t do, here are some of the advantages of running either a timeline contest or using a third party app.

Timeline Contest

facebook timeline contest

i. Fast: Organizing one is fast without the need to know any technical knowledge.

ii. Free: Timeline contest is free and you won’t have any additional cost except advertising.

iii. Easier to promote: You can easily promote your contest by using Facebook’s ‘promote post’. This would ensure your contest gets the exposure it needs.

With a third party Facebook contest app

facebook third party app

i. Able to install like-gate: A like gate is important, it ensures that fans like your page before they can participate.

ii. Viral features: Most app has a viral feature that helps the contest gets more exposure. On Binkd, fans would get extra entries if they get their friends to participate in the contest.

iii. Lead generation: Contests are a great way to increase leads. With a Facebook app, it gets fans to share their email addresses in order to participate in the contest. This allows you to reach them again in the future.

Here are some contest ideas that you can organize without a third party app.

1. Like the post

To organize this type of contest, all you have to do is ask your fans to like one of your posts in order to participate. It could simple “Would you like to win XXX? Simply like this post to participate, X winner(s) will be drawn on the XXX.

2. Comment on the post

Simply ask your fans to leave a comment in your post. It could be a simple “What do you think when you think about ice cream? Leave a comment below and win XXX”

3. Fill in the blank contest

There are two ways to do this. The first would be a simple post with an incomplete sentence and the second would be to accompany it with a photo. It could simply be “When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is ______” Complete the sentence and win _____

4. Caption contest

facebook caption contest

Definitely one of my favorite contests. This type of contest requires you to post a photo and get your fans to caption it for you. Winners could be picked based on the most amount of likes or based on your choice.

For more ideas and examples, I recommend you check my post at PostPlanner where I’ve listed eight Facebook contest ideas with photo examples.

With the new changes in place, now you can also announce the winner of your contest on your Facebook page.

What do you think? Are you planning to organize a timeline contest or have you done so already? Share it with us in the comments below.

Aaron Lee
This monthly Social Media Contests column is contributed by Aaron Lee. Aaron is the social media manager at, 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 +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.
@aaronadel sorry for the confusion but we didn't use that image. @suzimcc @juliaroy @PostPlanner - 2 hours ago
Aaron Lee


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