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Run a contest on Facebook the right way

Posted on: September 16 2013 | Posted in: Client Help

Facebook ContestThe social media team at Compucast is often asked about Facebook contests - how they work, when businesses should do one, and if it’s “worth it.” The answer to that last question is yes, they are worth it – if they’re done right. The rest we can help you out with as well.

We’ve seen a lot of great Facebook contests, but we’ve seen our share of bad ones too. If done right, these contests can drive sales and increase brand loyalty. If done wrong, they can annoy customers and decrease a business’s online following.

If you really want to do a Facebook contest right, then we suggest following these simple rules:

Keep it simple

The simpler your keep your contest, the better. That’s why “like to enter” contests can be so effective. They user doesn’t have to think, they just have to “like” a post to be entered and involved. An example of a good contest post for New Orleans business during football season might be: “Who loves the Saints? Like this post to be entered to win an awesome prize!”

A “comment to enter” contest is also effective, and doesn’t require much effort on the fan’s end. For a good example, look at the Facebook contest Experience New Orleans recently ran. For a chance to win a Lee Tucker Art print, Experience New Orleans asked their Faceboook fans, “What is your favorite thing about New Orleans?” What the staff deemed as the best answer won. Within 24 hours, the post had over 600 comments, and a bonus of 577 likes and 93 shares – even though they didn’t ask people to like or share the post.

Whatever you do, don’t make it too complicated by asking people to do multiple things. If you’re asking someone to like a post, don’t ask them to like AND comment on it. And remember, it’s against Facebook’s rules to ask people to share a post for contest entries. Yes, we know – people do this. But if you get caught, then you can risk your page being shut down by Facebook. It’s not worth the risk.

Promote the contest, but don’t be annoying

This is not a “if you build it, they will come” type situation. If you want people to enter your contest, then you need to get the word out. The trick is to regularly promote it, but not bombard your fans’ newsfeeds with it.  Your fans do have other interests, and if you clog up their newsfeeds with requests to enter a contest, then they might get annoyed and unlike your page. Space out your contest promotion with other posts that aren’t asking anything of the fans.

Here’s a good guide for how often you should promote contests based on how long the contest is running:

Length of contest – Frequency of posts
1 day – Once in the morning, and once about an hour or two before it ends
1 week – Every other day
1 month – Once a week


Give good prizes

Never underestimate the power of a good prize. Tell your fans up-front what they are entering to win, and make sure it’s compelling enough to get people to take action. So if you’re thinking about giving away a $5 gift card, then think about adding a zero to the end of that. The same people who might pass on entering for $5 might quickly click “like” for $50.

Want to increase sales in-store via Facebook? Try this:

Promote in-store sales

If your business has a physical location, then promote in-store sales via a Facebook contest. For example: Your business is having a great Black Friday in-store sale.  Upload a photo with details of the sale to the business’s Facebook page, and ask people to like or comment on it to win a prize. A great prize would be a gift card to the store since that’s what you’re promoting. By doing this, you are not only rewarding loyal Facebook fans, but you’re spreading the word about in-store deals, which will hopefully increase your foot traffic and sales.

If you want help brainstorming contest ideas for your Facebook page, then we’d be glad to help. Just contact us or call (504) 779-5188

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