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How to Create an Effective Facebook Contest

  • Benefits of running a Facebook contest
  • How to create a Facebook contest that grows your audience
  • Set measurable goals and know what you want to achieve
  • Promote your contest across multiple platforms

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms globally, amassing approximately 2.9BN active monthly users in 2021.

With so many people engaging with the platform, it represents a massive opportunity for digital marketers and administrators to drive business goals and increase their return on investment (ROI).

One of the critical factors to successful marketing is reaching your target audience on their favourite social platforms. While not everyone uses Facebook, one thing for sure is it is the largest social media platform globally.

So, whether you’re involved in B2C or B2B marketing, it would be in your business’s best interest to leverage Facebook’s multitude of features to help boost brand awareness and convert prospects into customers.

If you’re looking for ways to build your audience, one of the most profitable ways of driving engagement on Facebook is through contests or giveaways, which tend to yield good results.

Benefits of running a Facebook contest

If you spend quite a few hours on social media, you’ve more than likely stumbled across contests before.

Social media contests are appropriately done; they can be highly effective, offering businesses a meaningful boost in engagement and brand awareness. Here are some of the benefits that running a social media contest could have on your business.

Grow your audience

One of the most significant benefits of running a Facebook contest is that it is a superb way to extend your reach and boost your following.

If your target audience engages with your content, it should appear on their personal pages for their connections to see. With the extended reach comes the added benefit of increased followers, as a contest incentivises people to follow in an unintrusive way.

Increase brand awareness

If your goal is to build awareness around your brand, Facebook contests are a great social media marketing strategy.

Whether you promote your contest organically or via paid promotion, you’ll inevitably reach people you may have struggled to connect with otherwise. Most competitions also include a rule for participants to “share” the post – encouraging contestants to spread the word.

Boost engagement

Social media contests get more engagement than average posts when done correctly, making them a valuable form of interactive content for marketers.

Interactive content is the future of content, and according to a Demand Gen Report, interactive content gains two times more engagement than static content. Meanwhile, a separate survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute found that 77% of marketers believe that interactive content has “reusable” value, increasing engagement and multiple exposures.

Easy way to capture data

Data is an essential component of marketing, enabling marketers to understand their target market better and create more personalised, meaningful content.

A Facebook contest could help in that respect as it allows administrators to collect valuable data on their audience, no matter the form of the contest. For example, if your goal is to build your email list, a popular way of collecting data from sweepstakes is by requiring users to opt-in by providing their name and email address. 

Even just requesting a follow is a highly effective way to drive traffic to your site and build an active audience for your business.

Tips on how to run a compelling Facebook contest

So, we’ve outlined the benefits of Facebook contests for businesses, but how do you run a contest without wasting time and money?

Here are some essential tips that you could use to encourage your audience to participate in your Facebook contest and ensure the success of your overall campaign.

Know what you want to achieve and set goals

It can be tempting to run a Facebook contest for fun, but if you want your business to gain from it, it’s important to define your goals before you get started.

Ask yourself: What do I hope to achieve from my Facebook contest?

Once you know your objectives, you can construct your contest with clear goals in mind, a few of which may include:

  • building brand awareness
  • expanding an email list
  • crowdsourcing product development
  • collecting data
  • driving conversion
  • gather user-generated content
  • market research
  • promoting a new product

Knowing what you want to achieve will help you design a contest that is best suited to help you succeed and deliver on key performance indicators (KPIs). Include KPIs such as:

  • clickthrough rate
  • email sign-ups
  • impressions
  • likes
  • new followers gained
  • number of participants
  • shares
  • saves

Choose your contest type

Now that you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to decide the type of Facebook contest you want to run. The three most popular types of Facebook contests are:


A giveaway allows participants to win a prize when they enter a contest in exchange for a specific action such as liking, commenting or sharing a post.

It is a popular promotional tool as it builds brand awareness and improves the image of a business.

Photo Contests

Audiences love visual content, so photo contests provide an excellent opportunity for driving engagement and gathering user-generated content for your marketing efforts.

Photo contests also help develop brand affinity as a striking image associated with a brand will leave a lasting impression on users.

Referral Promotions

Referral promotions are a type of contest where you incentivise participants to share and refer friends, colleagues, and family to your product or service.

While it requires more work than the types of contests mentioned above, it is one of the most effective ways to generate leads for your business and is often the least expensive marketing tactic.

Lay down the contest rules

It’s essential to have clear and concise rules for your Facebook contest that govern how participants can enter.

Some important rules that you may want to consider include:

  • The actions participants must take to enter, e.g. like, share and follow
  • When the competition ends
  • Multiple entries or bonus entries
  • Whether the contest is open to all countries
  • What constitutes grounds for disqualification
  • If there are any age restrictions
  • What the prize/s are
  • When the winner/s will be announced

If you want to create a compelling contest, ensure that the rules you set align with your goals to increase the chances of success.

The rules you decide to implement in your contest will also help determine the kind of data you will collect and the type of contest you want to run. For example, you may want to opt for a funnel design, where participants will need to submit their email addresses or other personal information to enter.

Alternatively, use a Facebook messenger bot to direct users to an opt-in page to perform the required actions addressed in the rules.

Besides setting the rules for your contest, you must also choose a prize for the winning participants.

Pick a relevant prize

If you want people to enter your contest, it’s important to offer a relevant and worthy prize related to your target audience’s demographic, as this will help attract entrants who potentially know nothing about your product or services.

Features of a valuable prize include:

  • Personalisation – tailor your prize to suit your target audience’s interests.
  • Related to your product/service – if your prize is tied to your core business, this will help drive brand awareness and boost interest in your service or product.
  • Understands your customer’s pain points – Offer a prize that solves the frustrations and inconveniences customer’s face during the buyer journey.

A good prize that resonates with your goals and aligns with your audience’s interests is crucial to ensuring your contest generates higher engagement rates.

Make your contest easy to enter and visible

Facebook generates an average of 4 petabytes of data each day, equivalent to a million gigabytes of data! With so much content published on the social media platform, it would be easy for people to miss your Facebook contest. However, you could improve its visibility by optimising the design of your post.

Here are a few tips that you could follow to help you achieve that:

Write a powerful headline

The first line of text that users will see is the headline – make it stand out with powerful language to ensure it sells the value of the contest.

Include striking images

People tend to invest more of their time into content that has a strong visual impact as they are more likely to resonate with these images on an emotional level. 

Images also play a significant role in stopping users from scrolling!

Concise, detailed description

While it’s important to give potential entrants all the information they’ll need about the contest, keeping the content concise and easy to read is important.

Don’t include too much information on one slide or within the post description, as this will harm engagement. Instead, use bullet points to break up text and make it easier for users to read.

Include a killer Call-to-Action (CTA)

Include a call-to-action (CTA) that creates a sense of urgency and motivates readers to interact with your contest by taking the actions required to enter.

You could create urgency with a social media contest with a deadline and make this prominent by using a countdown timer.

Promote Your Contest

Your Facebook contest should include a promotion strategy, especially if the prime aim of your contest is to grow your audience and increase brand awareness.

Don’t limit yourself to Facebook; you should think about promoting your contest across all social media channels and even email – don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Promoting your Facebook contest via email will also help keep subscribers engaged with your brand and ensure the potential for maximum participation.

You could also promote your content through paid ads, which will boost audience reach and provide valuable insights into your target audience, allowing you to optimise your ad campaign based on your target market and their interests.

Select the winner and announce it on your Facebook page

Have you decided how you’re going to choose the winner or winners of your Facebook contest?

There are two ways you could choose your contest winner: random selection or selecting the entrant.

If you want to remain objective and avoid claims of bias, it’s better to use a tool like Random Name Picker or Picker Wheel, which will choose an entrant at random.

If you want to select someone based on a specific set of criteria, you could choose a winner from your list of participants. However, make sure you explain why you chose this entrant.

Once you’ve selected your winner, announce them on your Facebook business page and any other relevant social media channels, which will provide you with an excellent opportunity to build your business’s reputation and establish brand legitimacy.

Follow up with contest participants

The end game to growing your business is to devise a follow-up strategy, which is a great way to nurture a relationship with the people who entered your contests and convert them into loyal customers.

One of the most effective ways of following up with contest participants is to email them a discount on your products or services to thank them for their participation in your contest.

Facebook Contest: Most Frequently Asked Questions

What are Facebook contest rules?

If you use Facebook to run a contest, you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, so it’s best to check the requirements with your local authority.

You should make sure that you:

  • List the rules of your competition
  • Outline eligibility requirements
  • Inform entrants about how you will choose a winner
  • Ensure the rules and conditions are clearly displayed

Should I set myself goals for my Facebook contest?

You should always set goals for your Facebook contest and measure its success to see its effectiveness.

How can I reach a wider audience?

Promoting your Facebook contest is a crucial part of expanding its reach and maximising the potential for success. Utilise other social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to help boost audience engagement.

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