I ran my first Facebook contest way before Facebook imposed any rules on us. it was for my first business, an eco-friendly gift company. Back then users would have to Like your page before they could interact with your content. That seems crazy to me now. Why would you put a barrier in the way of interaction?
My Facebook contest offered a box of chocolates to the author of the best 5-word story about chocolate. There were some really creative entries and I got my friend Lisa to pick the winner. I gained some new Facebook fans and enjoyed chatting to the new people it attracted. Facebook has changed a lot since then but competitions can still be effective when done right.
If you are planning a Facebook contest this season and are you stuck for inspiration, if you want to gather leads with your Facebook competition, this guide is designed for you. I’ve collected together some of my most popular Facebook contest articles including stuff about planning, rules, examples and picking a winner.
1. Facebook Contest Guidelines
There is a lot of confusion about the Facebook competition guidelines and it’s not surprising really. Facebook haven’t made it easy for us. Like and share competitions are particularly troublesome, yes they are still banned!
Business owners see companies large and small breaking the rules and are tempted to do it themselves. It’s not worth it. I heard a story just last week of a small business page being taken down as a result of them persistently breaking the rules. Don’t risk all the effort you have put into growing your page. Make sure you know what you can and can’t do, read my quick guide to Facebook competition guidelines.
Since January of this year breaking the rules could result in a drop in your organic reach. Find out why here.
2. Plan Your Competition
It’s very easy to throw togehter a Facebook competition at the last minute but if you want to get better results, more intereaction, more entries it’s worth putting a plan in place.
Spending a bit of time planning before you launch will mean you are more likely to succeed and you will be able to measure what worked well and what didn’t for your next contest.
To this day the Westminster Abbey one remains my favourite. People sometimes eye me bemused when I tell them that but it’s the fact that they planned it well, chose a prize to appeal to their ideal target market and got people engaging with the business that made it stand out for me.
This was a large scale contest but it just shows you what you can achieve if you are a bit creative with your competition.
5. Write Your Rules
I’ve seen people get into all sorts of trouble when they haven’t had clear and defined rules for their Facebook competitions. Even if you do you will find that you need to refer disgruntled enterants to them if they have an issue or gripe.
Having a clear set of rules makes you look professional and reassures people that you are running your contest legitimately.
Have you ever launched a competition and sat their waiting for entries? Maybe you got a few at the start but then they tailed off? Maybe you clicked the boost button?
Facebook advertising can be a good way to spred the word but you can’t rely on it as your only tactic. You ned to build up excitement before you launch and maintain momentum for the length of the campaign. Find out how to promote you competition here. I’ve included lots of suggestions and examples and yes, that Westminster Abbey contest appears again.
7. Picking Winners
The more succesful your competition is the harder it can be to pick a winner. Particularly if you are running a sweepstakes contest. Even collating the entries can be a nightmare.
I tested three tools for picking competition winnners from Timeline style contests (ones run on Facebook and not with an app).
A lot of people have been asking me about Like & Share competitions on Facebook recently. Are they still against Facebook’s terms? How come we see so many businesses using them? What will happen if Facebook catch you at it?
It’s quite clear then that asking for a share as part of a contest is still banned.
So why do we still see so many in our newsfeeds?
A lot of people don’t know about the rule or assume there is no penalty for breaking it. However there are a few of key reasons you should avoid them.
1. They Don’t Get Much Organic Distribution
Facebook have always been notoriously bad at enforcing the promotional guidelines. They were enforcing but not enough to be prohibitive to those who wanted to take the risk. There were so many people breaking the rules that keeping up with warnings and page removals must have been a big task so they started using the newsfeed algorithm.
“Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context”
This means your Like & Share contests or any competition that relies on a simple action to enter probably won’t get much organic distribution. In fact, I’ve noticed that I rarely see a Like & Share post in my newsfeed as a result of a friend sharing. The only time I do see them is when they are ‘sponsored’. In other words, the page is paying for distribution of the post.
2. Negative Feeback
Advertising your competition posts has its own problems. Facebook users are becoming more discerning. When they see content they don’t like in their newsfeed they will hide it, or hide all content from the page that posted it.
Get enough of this sort of reaction (negative feedback) and Facebook will assume that your page is distributing poor quality content and limit the organic reach of all your future posts.
3. Bad Value For Money
So Like & Share contests could be killing your organic Facebook reach. They are also bad value for money. To get a good reaction you will need to invest in a good prize and pay for a Facebook ad to reach enough people.
The best case scenario is that you will get a heap of new Likes to your page and a lot of interaction on your competition post. There is not guarantee that the new Likers have an interest in your business, there are many people who enter every competition they find regardless of the business or prize.
Instead of investing your money in a Like & Share contest I’d recommend running a lead capture contest, or a competition that really engages your existing fan base. You’ll find lots of examples here.
One of the most successful Facebook competitions I’ve worked on was ‘The Nose Of Tralee’ with Pet Sitters Ireland.
Pet Sitters Ireland customers really love their pets and we wanted to design a promotion that tapped in to this. We know pet owners love sharing pictures of their pets online so a contest that encouraged this would have to be a success. We named it humorously after the ‘Rose of Tralee’ and announced the winner at the same time the Rose of Tralee was announced.
Like the Rose of Tralee this wasn’t a beauty contest, Pet Sitters Ireland were looking for the pet that best represented Ireland. Each county had a representative.
The contest was run via a ShortStack app on Facebook (affliliate) but didn’t Like Gate it as we wanted to make it accessible for all. This wasn’t a contest aimed at getting Likes but about getting brand awareness amongst Pet Sitters ideal customers. To enter applicants had to submit a picture of their pet and describe why they deserved to win. The finalist from each county was given a sash and had to submit a second photo with their pet wearing it.
Here’s a snapshot of the results:
Web traffic doubled for duration of contest
2,000 new likes
650 subscribers to email list
15 newspaper features
7 radio interviews
1 TV appearance
Update: Stats from the 2015 Campaign
7211 new Facebook likes
750 new subscribers to email list
22 newspaper features
15 radio interviews
1 TV appearance
Kate from Pet Sitters Ireland did all the hard work, I spoke to her about the contest and how it worked.
Tell me about Pet Sitters Ireland. How long have you been in business, what services do you offer?
We had stopped travelling away as I hated putting them in kennels. Our dog Patch hated being left there and our Cat ‘Top Cat’ would always be really angry when we went to collect him. It always seemed so much hassle to take them and then collect them when we got back.
A friend of mine in the UK was doing some Cat Sitting for a friend and it occurred to us that this service could be really popular in Ireland. At the time of starting the business there were a few independent people offering this type of service, but no-one who was really operating it as a full time business 365 days a year.
Our Pet Sitting service allows your pets to stay home while you travel away. One of our Pet Sitters will call to you house as many times as you need each day to feed your pets and walk them if required. While they are there they also carry out a check of the house and can turn lights on and off, close/open curtains and blinds, and generally make the house looked lived in. We don’t come in branded vehicles or wearing Pet Sitters Ireland uniforms, so the service is very discreet.
Our daily dog walking service is extremely popular with busy professionals and is perfect for people who work or maybe are short on time. Not everyone has time to walk their dog as much as they would like, so we can fill those gaps for them.
Using the services of a Pet Sitter or Dog walker is becoming increasingly popular with people who work or like to travel. It takes the hassle away from dropping your pets at kennels or catteries, or asking friends to do you a favour and come in and feed your pets. When you hire one of our team we come in, follow your exact instructions and then send you a pet care journal via email to let you know your pets are safe and your home is secure. You even get pictures every day to show you how your pets are doing.
What was the Nose of Tralee?
The Nose of Tralee was a chance for pet owners across Ireland to enter their pet to become crowned the 2014 Nose of Tralee. Like the ‘Rose’ we asked people to share stories about their pets and tell us about their special talents. So whether your pet could sing a song, walk backwards or just had a cute smile we wanted to hear from them.
It was a 2 stage competition. Pet owners were asked to submit a picture of their pets along with details of why their pet would be a good Nose of Tralee. 3 Independent judges then selected the 32 finalists who then went on to a public vote.
The winner received a photo shoot with David Mcauley Photography and the runner up received a 250 euro hamper worth of pet products.
How many entries did you get?
We received 647 entries from the 32 counties. It was amazing the amount of effort that people went to with their entry. The pictures and written stories about people’s pets was amazing.
What different techniques did you use to get entries?
We have an active social media presence so we received a lot of entries via the promotion we did on our Facebook page. We posted pictures of the entries, asked people to share the competition details and we tweeted about it.
We did some Facebook ads targeting pet owners to encourage more entries. We wrote blog posts on why people should enter the competition and the type of pets that should enter. Probably the most unusual pet that was entered was a tortoise.
What was people’s reaction to the contest?
We had great support from people and they seemed very excited to enter their pets. People thought it was a fun idea and seemed to genuinely want their pet to win the title of Nose of Tralee.
Because of the link to the Rose of Tralee we received a lot of interest from the press. The title of the competition really caught people’s attention.
What challenges did you encounter during the process?
It was quite time consuming and I would probably have given myself more lead time to create the blogs, images etc we used in the promotion, as that all took a lot of time.
We sent sashes out to the finalists and I probably could have done with more time to get these out to people after the first round of judging.
It was also apparent that you need to be very clear about the process of selecting finalists and the different stages of the competition, so that there is no confusion about what people can expect.
You got a lot of press coverage for the competition, how did that come about?
We sent press releases out to newspapers and contacted the radio stations, so we got some press from that at the start of the competition. Once the finalists were selected we encouraged them to generate press for themselves using the following blog article.
We got a great response from the newspapers, radio stations and 2 of the finalists were on TV. As I mentioned the name of the competition really helped with the press. If it had been just another pet competition I don’t think we would have received the same media interest.
What results did you achieve?
During the competition we got an additional 2000 likes on our Facebook page. These were not just people who entered the competition, but also friends and family. We did promote the competition with a press release ourselves, but we encouraged the finalists to get in touch with local press themselves.
It was actually hard to keep track of all the press. With it being a nationwide competition we were relying on entrants letting us know they were featured. Of the press that we are aware of we had 15 Newspaper features, 7 Radio appearances and an appearance on the TV by 2 of the Finalists.
On the day the competition was launched we had 1000 visitors to the site – which was a fantastic start to getting the word out.
Each day then during the competition we had double the amount of website traffic we would normally get. We also had an additional 650 people sign up for our newsletter.
You need to think about promoting your contest long before you launch it. The first step is to choose a style that will work for your audience. If you don’t have a large interactive audience you need a contest that will take very little effort to enter. If your audience have participated in your contests before and are interactive you might think about running a UGC (user generated content) competition this time around.
Here’s five ideas for promoting your contest before you launch it:
1. Ask your audience to pick a style
If you are not sure what sort of contest will work for your business ask your audience. The level of engagement on your post will give you an idea of the sort of result you will get when you run it.
Facebook users are most likely to view your posts on a mobile device so make it easy for them to give an answer without typing too much:
What sort of competition would you like us to run next?
1. Caption contest?
2. Like to win?
3. Photo contest?
2. Tell people about the prize
Rather than just telling people you are going to run a competition tempt them with a prize. Take a photo of your prize from a strange angle or just share a picture of a gift box and ask people to guess what it is.
3. Get people to choose the prize
Similar to asking people what kind of competition they would like you to run ask them what prize they would like. Give them three options and ask them to comment with their favourite.
In this example from Aldi Ireland they use the results of a poll to determine the prize.
4. Tell people you will launch the competition once you get a certain number of actions
Celebrate your 1,000th like by running a contest or ask people to comment or like a post and launch the contest when you reach a pre defined number. Tell your audience and you will get them engaging in order to reach the goal.
Tell people all about the competition; what it is going to be, what the prize is and when it will be launched. Then count down the days either by posting a daily image or a status updates.
We used this tactic in the run up to the Blog Awards Ireland nominations. Each day we got different comments, likes and shares. When we launched people were primed and ready to enter.
Westminster Abbey teased their audience in the run up to their Advent competition ensuring that people would tune in when they launched.
These tactics should help you build up buzz around your contest before launch. They will also get people interacting with your posts more frequently ensuring that they will see more from you in the future.
Promoting your contest on Facebook
If you promoted your Facebook competition in advance you should have a keen group of people ready to enter.
It is important that you continue to promote for the duration of your competition. You will need to post about your contest regularly to ensure that all your followers know about it.
Since the beginning of January 2015 this has become more challenging. The latest update to the Facebook posting algorithm could effect the reach of your organic (not advertised) competition posts.
Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Although it’s hard to determine what they mean by ‘no real context’ we need to assume that we have to purchase ads to ensure our competition posts are seen. But before we advertise we have to create.
Here’s the three kinds of post you can create to promote your contests. We will look at advertising later on:
If you are running your competition on your own website or via an app you can create a link post to advertise it.
If you use ShortStack (affiliate link) to manage your contest you will be provided with a ‘Smart Link’. When people click this link ShortStack will determine if it has been clicked from the web or a mobile device and will send the user to the correct version of the competition.
Create three or more images to help promote your competition. Keep the text on the image to under 20% so that you can promote it with a Facebook ad without any issue. Think about what will catch the eye of your target market. Is it the prize? A picture of your staff? Is the post part of your contest. Nutella are always very creative with their contests.
Here’s an example from The National Gallery London. They promoted their app based contest using an image. They have included the link to the contest in the photo description:
Video is getting great organic reach on Facebook. Use Vine or Instagram to create a short video introducing your contest.
This example from Target Jobs works really well. It’s a cute idea, an advent calender of questions and we’re introduced to the owner or staff member as part of the experience
By sharing a variety of post types and by sending them out at different times of the day and days of the week you will get maximum organic reach from your posts.
Advertise your Facebook competition posts
Because of the Facebook algorithm changes detailed above you will need to invest in Facebook ads to ensure your contest posts reach a wide audience. Set aside a small budget for each post and use Facebook ads to promote them. I recommend promoting posts via the Facebook ads manager rather than using the ‘Boost Post’ option as you will be able to target the post more accurately and get better value for money.
Promoting your contest via on other social media channels
Finding the link to your Facebook posts
You can share your Facebook posts on other social networks to maximise exposure. First you need to find the direct link to your Facebook competition post.
Click the timestamp on the post you want to share. This is the part of the post that displays the age of the post. It might say ‘an hour ago’, ‘Wednesday’ or a specific date.
Copy the entire link from the address bar of your browser.
This link is unique to your Facebook post. Paste this into your Tweet, your Google+ post or the source area of a Pinterest pin.
Via email marketing
If you have an email newsletter let the subscribers know about your competition. Include the link to either your Facebook competition app or the post in your email.
How have you promoted your Facebook competitions in the past?
Do you set rules for your Facebook competitions? Rules are a crucial part of your contest. Let me tell you a story.
Many years ago before Facebook had any competition guidelines in place a friend of mine ran a photo contest on his Facebook page. He got some amazing entries and the winner was picked by public vote.
There were some great prizes. An amazing phone, a yoga holiday somewhere warm and a few other bits and pieces.
When the votes were counted the winner was informed and took the phone as a prize. Second place chose the holiday and that’s where the problem arose. The competition rules stated that flights were not included in the prize. Unfortunately even though this clause was displayed prominently on the competition page the winner had not seen it. He was very upset but at least the page owner had the terms and conditions to refer to.
If you don’t want a disgruntled winner on your hands it’s important to make it clear what the rules are.
In this post we will look at:
The required Facebook disclaimer that needs to be included in your rules.
It is important to include terms and conditions for your Facebook competition. If you are running a timeline competition you should link to these from the posts you are using to promote it. If you are running a competition via an application you can include your rules within the app.
The Facebook Disclaimer
Facebook requires that you add a disclaimer to all competitions that you run. Here it is, fill in the blanks:
“This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to ________________ and not to Facebook. The information you provide will be used for ____________________”
And here’s an example of it with the blanks filled:
“This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Abuja, Nigeria and not to Facebook. The information you provide will be used for this competition only and will not be shared with any other party outside the U.S Mission and will not used for other purposes in future dealings with the Mission”
1. Chester Zoo: This is a good example of guidelines for competitions that require user generated content. Take a look at the clause that specifies how the photos will be used. I also like the clause that says they have no obligation to publish photos from entrants.
2. Camden Court Hotel: What I love about these is how simple they are to read and understand. Terms & Conditions are often a big turn off full of legalese and baffling language.
Where Should You Display Your Facebook Competition Rules?
If you are running an app based contest you will be able to add your terms and conditions to the app itself. This can look a bit clunky though and many businesses prefer to host their rules on their website and link to it from the app,
If you are running a Timeline style contest. The type that requires people to comment or like a post on your page you are still required to add a link to your rules to the posts. You have a few options:
Create a page on your website for your rules and link to it from the post
Create a note on your Facebook page and link to it from your post. To find notes click on ‘Settings’ at the top of your Facebook page and ‘Apps’ on the left hand side bar. (See below)
Include your rules as part of your competition post.
Do you include rules in your Facebook contests? Have you had any issues with entrants in the past? Have you won a competition only to find out that the prize wasn’t what was expected. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’m seeing a lot more contests popping up on Twitter but to be honest most of them seem to be pretty uninspired. Yes a ReTweet contest will get your brand in front of more eyes. It will get your more entries but what else? Are you nurturing leads for the future or are you just focussing on short term goals?
It’s free to set up a basic Twitter contest with Binkd. In this video I show you how.
To customise your contest you will need to create a couple of graphics. I used Canva, here’s the ideal sizes:
Header image: 810 pixels x (whatever size you require)
Prize image: 790 pixels x (whatever size you require)
To use the email addresses you collect in the future you will need to add a custom opt in field to your competition. I didn’t’ show you how to do this in the video. You will find the option under the ‘Advanced tab’. See below:
Another cool feature is the ability to connect your Mailchimp account (and soon Aweber too) so that entries will be added directly to your mailing list. This is a massive time saver.
I like this app. It’s a quick solution for setting up more effective contests on Twitter. The free option is quite extensive too and well worth trying out.
I’d happily pay for an app like this and some of the premium options look interesting. For me the downside is the confusing pricing. There is a set up fee and a daily fee. You also need to commit at least $40 to your contest.
I’m OK with the cost. It’s good value particularly if you are collecting leads but I would prefer an all in monthly fee rather than the three tier model.
This is a small criticism however and I would highly recommend giving this app a try the next time you run a Twitter contest. If you do use it let me know. I’d love to hear about your results.
Creating this sort of quiz can help your business in a couple of ways:
1. It will increase brand awareness. As long as you brand your content so that when it’s shared people know where it’s coming from and as long as it’s relevant to your target market this can be a great way for getting your business in front of people.
2. You can collect email addresses from participants and add them to your email marketing list. This gives you the opportunity to sell to them in the future without relying on Facebook.
A personality quiz won’t suit every business. They are fun and light hearted so make sure that this tone fits your brand personality before you create one.
You will need to sign up for their free 15 day trial to use this tool, this allows you to collect 20 entries. If you sign up to one of their paid plans you can extend this. Get your quiz right and spending the minimum €29 for a month will be well worth it for the leads you collect.
Here’s a quick walkthrough:
In this video I didn’t customise any of the images. This is a must if you are running a quiz. You also need to think hard about the questions you ask and the personality types you create. Be careful to amuse and not insult your audience.
Do you love or loath personality tests? Would you set one up for your business?
If you have, or if you do after reading this post leave me a comment and let me know how you got on.
It’s easy to rush into launching a Facebook competition on your page but for the best results you should spend some time planning your contest. One key question you need to ask is what sort of contest you want to run.
In this post we will look at 20 Facebook Competition ideas that should help get your creative juices flowing.
Set a goal – I know you are probably tired of hearing this from marketers but the best starting point for any campaign is to set a goal. What is the intention of your competition? What results do you expect and how will you measure them?
How much your followers will do for you – What size is your Facebook audience and how much do they interact with you already? If you find it hard to get them to engage with your content you should start small. Make entering your contest as easy as possible.
If you have a more interactive audience you can be more creative and run a contest that requires user generated content. A photo or short story contest can work well here.
Choose your prize – You don’t always have to give away a huge prize. If you are asking a lot of your audience and if they are providing valuable information in return you may want to splash out on something impressive. In most cases you can give away a voucher or small prize that will appeal to your audience and still achieve good interaction.
Should you run an app based or Timeline contest?
These are contests run via posts on a Facebook business page. According to the Facebook promotional rules you can ask for a comment, a like or ask users to upload photos or videos as part of a contest. You cannot ask for a share or for someone to tag ta picture unless they are in it.
Timeline contests are quick and easy to set up, attract lots of entries and will increase your page interaction meaning that people will see more content from you in the future.
These are contests run via a third party app. They will appear as a separate tab on your Facebook page that you can link to. These applications require users to complete a form as part of the entry process. They are great for capturing leads, email addresses, phone numbers as well as additional information that can help qualify them as customers.
There are lots of apps you can use to set up contests including:
Sweepstakes is generally an American term. Here in Ireland we tend to refer to this style of contest as a ‘draw’. People will enter some basic information to enter and a winner is picked at random.
You can include a simple question as part of a sweepstakes if you want to add a more competitive element.
When should you use them? – Barrier to entry is reasonably low so if you have a small following or a following that doesn’t tend to interact with your content very often this is the ideal type of competition to get things moving.
1. James Whelan Butchers
This is a simple but effective giveaway. Entrants just need to enter contact info to have a chance of winning a voucher. Vouchers are good prizes as you are attracting a new customer or tempting back loyal or existing customers.
Not every customer will shop with you again but once they have bought from you once they are more likely to return. In this case James Whelan Butchers is capture email addresses. He will be able to update all entrants with new products and offers encouraging repeat custom and brand awareness.
2. Huff Post Tech
This is the simplest competiton you can run via an app. Just fill in your details to enter. They run these promotions monthly and the prizes are always spot on for their tech audience. It’s a fantastic way to build an email list.
I love this idea from ShortStack. I guess they have to be clever as they make the software that helps you run apps. The prize is $500 to spend at Amazon. Instead of giving away vouchers part of the entry process requires you to link to the prize you want to win on the Amazon website.
Ask people to Like a post or comment on a post for entry. If you are asking for a comment make it simple to participate so that it doesn’t discourage entries.
It’s also a good idea to ask something that will either:
Be memorable to those who enter. This means they are more likely to remember your business
Be valuable to you. Ask a question that will tell you something about your customer and you can use this information to target customers later.
4. Loughrey’s Pharmacy
Fun and relevant. This competition from Loughrey’s pharmacy is giving away a hamper that any mother would love as a gift. Asking what our Mammy’s used to say to us will make us smile both when entering and when we read the entries. A perfect way to build positive sentiment around a business.
5. Westminster Abbey
This is one of my favourite Timeline contests. To be in with the chance of winning a family pass to the Abbey you have to answer one daily question correctly.
I like this because people have to think before they enter. Participants will either know the answer already or have to Google to find out. The advantage of this is two fold.
Westminster Abbey knows that those who enter are really interested in what they do.
People who enter are more likely to recall the brand and information about it that they can pass on. I can imagine people passing on those facts in conversations over Christmas dinner or in the pub.
When should you use them? – The barrier to entry for photo contests is higher. People need to think about taking a photo and enter it. This means you will get less entries.
The benefit is that you can share the entries you get both on social media and elsewhere (make sure you let people know that you intend to do this in your T&C’s to avoid any issues).
If you have a medium to large interactive community on your page this could work well for you.
Contests run via an app allow people to upload their photos and you can capture contact info here. This gives you the opportunity to stay in touch with those who enter after the contest is finished.
Running a ‘voting’ contest via an app allows the public to have their say. You can either allow them to determine the winner, the finalists or just give some weight to the judges decision.
6. Sports Direct
In this example from Sports Direct entrants were asked to post a selfie wearing an England shirt. To win you had to get the most votes on your photograph. It’s bang on brand and by asking the public to vote it’s spreading brand awareness way beyond the people who enter.
The Facebook competition guideline changes last year mean that you are now allowed to ask your audience to upload their photos to your page to enter. If you want to allow voting you can ask people to click ‘Like’ under the photo that they want to win.
7. Blenheim Palace
Your contests don’t have to be exclusive to Facebook, you can promote contests and allow people to enter on multiple platforms. By using a hashtag you can find entries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
What’s nice about this is that you are widening your audience to those who may not want to share on Facebook but enjoy other networks.
Take a look at this contest form Blenheim Palace asking people to share their Blenheim Palace moments using the tag #BPMagicMoments on either Facebook or Instagram.
When should you use them? – This style of contest would fall somewhere in between Sweepstakes and photo contest. The barrier to entry is reasonably low but people do need to be creative.
This style of competition could be a really good way to increase interaction on your page if run via the Timeline.
You can run this contest like a sweepstakes via an app. Make sure you share some of the entries you get in order to encourage others to participate.
8. Chicago Bears
Fans can enter a caption to accompany the photo displayed at the top of this page. Sports fans will love this and there are some interesting entries. The public can get involved voting for their favourites too but this is ‘just for fun’ the winner will be picked by the sponsor.
9. Dublin Zoo
It’s not always necessary to give away a prize for this sort of contest. Some people like to take part for fun.
Look at this example from Dublin Zoo
Instead of a prize consider rewarding people by choosing your favourite captions and adding them to the image.
Do you want to get to know more about your followers? Maybe you want to get more responses for a survey you are running. It’s easy to set up a survey on Survey Monkey or Google Drive and offer a prize as an incentive to enter.
This isn’t technically a Facebook contest as you are running it off site but you can make it exclusive to Facebook users to get a better insight into what makes them tick.
When should you use them? – It is sometimes quite challenging to get people to leave Facebook. Links also get seen by a smaller portion of your audience than other types of update. If you really want to know more about your Facebook community this is a good approach but be prepared to promote the hell out of it.
10. Hazelbrook Farm
In this example there’s an eye-catching image that tells you what you need to do accompanied by a link. HB is a big brand so smaller businesses may find it harder to collect entries this way. Here’s a couple of things you could do to improve it:
Share the competition as a link rather than a photograph. Facebook have recently changed their algorithm and should be showing more links posted as links to those people who like to click them. By sharing a link the traditional way, rather than attaching a photo you will ensure that wherever someone clicks on the post they will arrive on your survey page.
Ensure that your image covers no more than 20% of the space with text. To reach more people you may want to advertise your contest. Using more than 20% text means that your ad will not be approved.
Asking questions as part of a Timeline contest can also be good customer research. You could find out more about your page likers and tailer content for them in the future based on this or you can use it as an opportunity to find out what they want from your business.
11. Blind Pig Speakeasy
This is a perfect example of quick market research. By asking for favourite cocktails they will know what to stock their bar with as well as get lots of entries. You don’t always have to offer a prize when you ask these sorts of questions, customers are often quite willing to tell you what they think.
Asking people to share story is a good way to gather testimonials and user generated content about your business. You can ask them to share their experiences with your product or service and how they have helped you.
When should you use them? – The barrier to entry is quite high but if you have an enthusiastic audience who like sharing their experiences and leave good reviews this could work really well. Remember to let people know that you will be res-haring their entries for marketing purposes in your terms and conditions.
Long text comments are not the ideal way to collect entries in a story contest. The best way to run a story contest is via an app. Typing large amounts of text into a Facebook status is hard work. Using an app gives people longer to ponder their entries.
12. Renault Ireland
This competition asked entrants to share their back to school blues for the chance to win an iPad. Although not directly related to their brand it is a good way to engage a large segment of their target market. Parents.
The advantage of running a story contest via the Timeline is that people can enter without having to leave the Facebook newsfeed. You will get more entries but it will be harder to manage and the quality of submissions may not be as high.
13. The Cliffs Of Moher
One of Ireland’s top tourist destinations the Cliffs of Moher celebrated their millionth visitor by asking people to share their Cliffs stories. This is great for re-igniting customers and getting them to re live their experiences. The prize or a pass to the attraction means that entries will be limited to those who are likely to visit.
A video contest has the highest barrier to entry. You could collect some really cool content this way though.
When should you use them? – As the barrier to entry is high you need to have an existing interactive audience. Ideally they will have participated in contests on your page before or have uploaded photos and other content without you asking in the past.
If you want to run this sort of competition give people very specific guidelines for what you want them to do. For example if you were an interior designer it could be to shoot a short video of a room in your house you’d like to do up. Like the other user generated content contest types it’s important to let entrants know how you intend to use the content they submit in your terms and conditions.
You can collect more info about the video and let people leave a description when they enter via an app. You can also request more contact information and permission to add them to an email list.
In this example from Lego they are asking you to upload your video and encourage your friends to vote for your entry. Parents are a good audience for video contests, it gives them a project to work on with their children that is fun and could result in a trip to Legoland.
Running this type of contest via the Timeline is easy, people are able to upload their videos the same way they upload their photos. It makes the process easier so you should get more entries.
15. Coca Cola
Coca Cola ran a series of video contests on their Facebook page to tie in with their sponsorship of the Winter Olympics. Each challenge was related to an event within the games.
Here they challenged Likers to film themselves sliding a coke up the bar and called it ‘Coke Curling’. You will also notice that they are linking to the contest rules as part of the post which is a requirement of the Facebook promotional guidelines.
Bringing offline online
If you hare a bricks and mortar business you can use contests to combine online with offline.
16. A&A Pharmacy
This is a clever way to promote an in store contest. Participants don’t have to do anything on Facebook. Instead they bring a photo of their mum or gran into store for a special Mother’s day window display. It’s a lovely idea but I think it could be made better if people were able to submit their photos via Facebook.
Most of us don’t print our photos anymore so uploading would be easier and they would get more entries. Participants would still be sure to visit the store once the window is revealed to find out if their photo made the cut.
Other clever ideas
Not all the competitions I looked at fit neatly into categories. The following examples are either fun or clever and do a good job of engaging their audiences.
I love the Nutella page, it’s always full of interesting and entertaining content. They have an extremely engaged audience who already seem to enjoy sharing content. If you scroll through their posts you will find fan photos in almost every comment thread.
They keep this engagement going with frequent contests. Although some of them are a bit random they always include a brand mention. I love the example below, although it’s an easy puzzle to crack it does entertain me for the 10 seconds or so it takes to find the answer.
18. Studio 93
I like this contest because it’s a bit quirky, I’m not sure it has anything to do with their brand unless they are just showing off their creativity. It’s a twist on the ‘How many sweets in the jar’ style contest. In this case you have to guess how many sweets land in the jar. There’s a video to accompany it.
This one from a radio station asks a question that many of their audience will be able to answer immediately. I love the simplicity of this.
I admire this competition for it’s quirkyness. To make it interesting they have asked people to comment and the first comment that has no Likes on it at the end of the week wins. I can see it getting quite heated as the deadline approaches.
Although this is a clever idea I’m not convinced that Pigsback are gaining anything from this contest. They will get a lot of comments but you’d have to be a pretty hardcore competition fan to get involved. These people often aren’t the right audience for your brand and are less likely to be interested in you in future.
There are lots of types of contest you can run on Facebook and each time adds different value to your business. It’s always worth putting some time into planning a contest that will entertain your target market and will make them remember you.
People can enter multiple times. You can add lots of entry conditions giving people extra points each time they enter. This promotes more sharing from users.
It’s not just for Facebook. Rafflecopter contests can be embedded in your blog or added to a Facebook page. If these options don’t work for you Rafflecopter will create a page on it’s site for your contest that you can direct people to.
It helps you pick a winner. Rafflecopter has an inbuilt random winner selector. If you prefer you can view all entries and pick a winner manually.
It takes minutes to set up. Many of the full featured contest apps I use take a big chunk of time to set up. As you can see in the video above you can have your contest ready to go within three minutes.
What I don’t like about Rafflecopter:
The sharing options are what really makes this app but I have some reservations. Are we gaining valuable social media followers or are we just attracting people who like doing contests? When we ask people to share a tweet or pin an image are we encouraging people to share quality content or are we encouraging people to spam their friends?
Rafflecopter is a neat little app for setting up social media contests. I prefer the email subscriber and social follow options than the sharing options. This way I’m gaining leads but avoiding encouraging spam.
What do you think? Are social sharing contests spam? Would you use this app?
If you run Facebook competitions on your business page it can be hard to select a winner. Since the rule changes last year Facebook has allowed us to choose a winner from people who leave a comment on a post or Like a post. The problem arises when a competition is successful. If we get hundreds of comments how can we ensure that we are fair when we select a Facebook contest winner?
This is the easiest app to use. You just need to paste a link to your post into the app and it will select a winner for you. It selects four winners from people who have Liked or commented on your post:
This is an app that allows you to create custom apps and competitions for Facebook and it comes with a free Facebook competition winner picker. You will need to set up an account but it’s free and only takes a couple of minutes. The app will import all your recent posts and allow you to pick a winner from those who have interacted with them.
This works slightly differently to the other apps. Instead of picking a winner for you it allows you to download a CSV file (that you can open in excel) containing information about the people who have interacted with your post.
The type of interaction: Like or Comment
The user ID of the Facebook user who interacted
The link to the profile of the user who interacted
The name of the Facebook user who interacted
The date and time that the comment was left
You will need to pick a winner manually from this data.
See how these tools work in the video below:
*Bonus* Comment Picker
Thanks to the comments on this post I’ve found another cool tool. Comment picker lets you choose a winner from people who comment on your posts. Watch below to see how it works.
Picking Facebook Competition Winners Manually
If you don’t want to use an app you can choose a winner manually. The traditional way is to put names in a hat and picking a winner. For photo / video or contests you might get them judged by a third party.
To add validity to your selection process you can film the draw being made.
How do you pick winners for your Facebook competitions?