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Five Simple Steps To Run Successful Competitions On Facebook

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Five Simple Steps To Run Successful Competitions On Facebook

Facebook is a great platform for running a contest because it can expand your audience, raise awareness about a product or service, boost audience engagement and increase your fans. However, Facebook states that if you are running a competition of any sort, then the following rules MUST be adhered to or you run the risk of getting your page removed. Facebook clearly state that “We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason. These terms are subject to change at any time.”

To read the full details of Facebook Page Rules click here. These are my five simple steps to running competitions on Facebook and staying within their rules.

Competitions on Facebook

# 1. Establish your objective

Why do you want to run a competition? Don’t just run a Facebook competition because that’s what everyone else is doing. Who are you targeting? What do you want to get out of it? Are you hoping to grow your community, or to engage your current fans or do you want to increase awareness about a new product? Or perhaps it’s something else?

# 2. Plan ahead, keeping in mind the rules!

What is the prize? How do your fans enter the competition? Remember don’t make it too difficult! Also be aware of relevant competition rules and licensing laws. For example you require a license to run a lottery. You can get around this by making your competition a ‘game of skill’ which means entries require a particular knowledge level. For example, entrants must answer a question.

You also need to put together some terms and conditions and link to this within your competition, because people need to be able to see the fine print of your competition.

# 3. Set up

Choose a third party application which has the functionality required to run your competition. There are strict rules outlined by Facebook about running competitions – you should read them before running any competitions or contests on your Facebook page. If you violate the rules, you risk having Facebook disable your Page or account.

Can I select a fan at random to give away a prize? No. This constitutes a lottery. You’re effectively using Facebook to “collect entries.” Moreover, you cannot contact winners via Facebook at all—via private message, chat or posting on their wall—nor can you post winners on your page wall.

So, get to grip with 3rd party applications which are built to host competitions on your Facebook page. Here is a list (in no particular order of preference)

# 4. Posting schedule and promotional updates

Have a content calendar created with your posting plan. Often, when running a competition, these promotional updates about the contest take over. Remember to continue to post the information you normally post and include the competition updates in where they naturally fit. Of course, keep in mind your Facebook page’s particular “hotspot” or best time to post. Don’t overload your fans with status updates about the competition. Consider spending some money on promotional posts to boost interaction and increase reach of the post, i.e. more people will see it.

# 5. Wrap up and Review

In scouting, there is a motto: Plan, Do, Review. It is very much appropriate for the business world too! Once you’ve planned your competition in advance then you can execute it step by step knowing exactly what is going to happen at each step. Finally, reviewing it to gain valuable lessons and experience is critical. Don’t forget to take note of what didn’t work, chances are you’ll remember what did!

 Have you ever ran a competition on your Facebook page? How did it go? 

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Images:  ”Facebook Website /

Aoife Rigney recently graduated with Bachelor of Business (Honours) in Information Systems at Cork Institute of Technology. She has a passion for social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and all things marketing and technology. Having worked with SMEs throughout Ireland over the last few years, she has helped them to get to grips with their online presence, developing strategies and supporting implementation. While relatively new to blogging, she loves to spend a lot of time reading while online. Aoife is a techie at heart with marketing on the brain. A twitter addict; @aoiferigney :)

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  • Great post Aoife! Many folks ask me about facebook competitions and in the past I have been reluctant to offer any perspective precisely because of the uncertainty in my head around what is useful and also inside the rules. Thanks for clearing that up with this post – I’ll give it a try!

  • I think your first point on defining goals is critical and it shouldn’t be simply to get more fans, without knowing, whether or not those fans will equate to ROI.

  • Hi Aoife,

    I think another point worth stating is trying an application like Rafflecopter uses Facebook to get people to your site to enter a comp using a simple application. It’s also very ‘social’ and clever in that it gets new visitors to your site while building the reach of your social network. Great post and thanks for sharing with us.


  • angelina Dom

    very informative post, one more i got here i think the content of the most must be very important in my opinion in social media content is also very important if you are coming up with unique content and healthy writing then it also my attract the follows on social media.

  • beatricewhelan

    Great post Aoife. I see so many pages running like and share competitions, so many of them get away with it. It would be great if Facebook came down on this a bit more. As you point out, with the free apps it is quite easy to run a competition according to the rules.

  • Great clarifying post Aoife.
    I agree goals are of utmost importance, and that “normal” content should appear “as normal” also – not every fan is interested in the competition!
    Thanks for sharing great tips and highlighting the apps.

  • Happy new year to everyone who reads Tweak your Biz.- delighted to be included in this list. of great articles and writers. Would definitely recommend that anyone who has something to say should definitely contact Tweak your Biz (by clicking the button at the bottom of this page) to get involved.

  • Thank you Donncha & congratulations again….allthough it’s not your first time & my guess is it won’t be your last. Happy New Year, Niall

  • Gilbert Samuel

    I’m glad I made the list Niall, It’s my first though but I’ll try to be one of the most active of all. I hope the readers will find this post helpful too.

    Happy new year

  • Hi Gilbert & thanks for the comment. Looking forward to reading more great posts by you. Many Happy Returns, Niall

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