How to run Facebook Competitions

  Running a competition on your Facebook page can be a great way to promote your business and gain new fans. But even the simplest competition can have you in hot water if you don't play by the rules.

Just last week we spotted a well know Kiwi brand running a Facebook Competition incorrectly. They had posted a question on their Facebook wall prompting fans to post positive comments about their products on the wall to go in the draw. This practice breaks all the rules.

I find Facebook's competition rules tough but I also understand how they help to protect against comment spam and maintain a cleaner wall thread for your fans.

Facebook's Competition Guidelines are here: Tweet This


The basic points for anyone to remember are:

You cannot: Condition entry in the promotion upon a user providing content on Facebook, such as posting on a Wall of a Page,  uploading a photo, or posting a status update.

You can: Use a third party application to condition entry to the promotion upon a user providing content to the application. For example, you may administer a photo contest whereby a user uploads a photo to a third-party application to enter the contest.

You cannot: Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by liking your Page, checking in to your Place or connecting to your Platform integration.

You can: Require entrants to like your Page, check in to your Place or connect to your Platform integration before they provide their full entry information, such as name and contact information.

You cannot: Notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.

You can: Collect an email or address through the third-party application for the promotion in order to contact the winner by email or standard mail.

You cannot: Instruct people (in the rules or elsewhere) to sign up for a Facebook account before they enter the promotion.

You can: Instruct users to visit the third-party application to enter the promotion (as described in Section Since users must have a Facebook account in order to access an application on the Facebook Platform, if you give this instruction, they will be prompted to sign up for a Facebook account if they do not already have one.


In terms of policing these rules I have no idea whether Facebook relies on user notification (dobbing in) or whether they monitor search alerts to track accounts breaching the rules. either way their Guidelines page clearly stats:

"In addition to our other remedies, we may remove any materials relating to the promotion or disable your Page, application or account if we determine in our sole discretion that you violate any of our policies."

If you have a Facebook page with a few 1000 fans, the risk of losing your page should be enough deterrent.

So check out for a great and commonly used Facebook application that takes all the hassle out of running Facebook Competitions. I used it last year to run a sweepstakes and within an hour had a Facebook Tab, Twitter page and Micro site to promote the competition and a database to keep track of the applicants.

In addition to using a 3rd party application here are a few ideas to get maximum benefit from your Facebook Competitions:

  • Coincide your competition with a new content program
  • Promote your schedule or calendar of planned activity
  • Make sure your new content is published at the right times
  • Try to engage and target competition entrants
  • Promote your competition offline through traditional media
  • Promote the competition in-store and through your customer service teams, contact center or helpdesk
  • Engage brand advocates to participate and promote through their on and offline networks
  • incentivize sharing
  • Encourage and promote in-store, 'in the moment' content creation
  • Report back - generate further publicity but writing a case-study for media and marketing professionals showcasing your successes and where you think the competition could have done better.
  • Make sure there is a clear competition button on your website


Check out ShortStack for a Facebook Competitions application that starts at $9 a month and encourages engagement too.



If you are planning a Facebook based competition I hope this information helps.

If you have further questions please post it as a comment or feel free to call me for professional advice and support.