How to Run a Facebook Contest

Facebook Contests


Everyone loves winning things, which is why a contest can be a great way to reach new and existing customers on Facebook, but there are some rules that you need to follow.

In November Facebook banned ‘Like-gating’, which means having people Like your Page before they can access information or enter a contest. Their official statement is:

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

While this means that your Fans will be true fans, not just people who want to win something, it does mean you might need to be a little more creative with your content.  Facebook does say however that:

To collect entries, you can ask people to:

  • Like or comment on a post on your Page (ex: “Like this post to enter”)
  • Publish to your Page
  • Send your Page a message

Personal profiles can’t be used to collect entries. For example, asking people to share a post on their profiles to enter your promotion isn’t permitted (ex: “Share on your profile to enter” or “Share on your friend’s profile to get additional entries”)

So what does that mean? You can ask people to Like a picture or Post, or to comment on it (like perhaps tagging a friend), but you can’t ask them to Share the post to enter. You could also ask them to take a photo and Post to your Page, or even send a Private Message to your Page – this is a good way to collect information, perhaps like email addresses.

Before you start running a contest for your business, the first thing you need to ask is ‘what do you want to achieve with this contest?’ – is it having people Like and Comment on your Post? Is it to get Posts to your Page that will be seen by the posters Friends? Or is it collect email addresses? The aim of your contest will then allow you to pick what the best way of running your contest is.

Another option for running a contest is to use a Facebook App, there are a number of them available, and I have seen positive reviews for Contests for Pages  and Wishpond.

Rafflecopter is a website I have used, this allows you to run a contest on your website or blog that you can then promote on Facebook and other platforms. It gives you the option to have people get an entry for visiting your different social media platforms.

Don’t be discouraged by the rules, you can gain some great exposure by running a contest, just make sure you keep them in mind, along with Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines.


  1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
  2. The official rules;
  3. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
  4. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)

Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

  1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  2. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).
  4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

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