How to run a Facebook competition

Do you run promotions on your Facebook page? This step-by-step guide shows you how to run a competition or prize draw on your timeline for free – and how to choose a winner fairly and in compliance with the UK CAP Code.

Unlike an app, a simple timeline promotion is a great way to get your fans interacting with you and with each other – and you only need to give away a small value prize to get people interested.

Here’s how I hosted my own week-long prize draw on the SuperLucky Facebook page. It reached 7,947 people, got 402 Likes, 398 Comments and 124 shares, and my page likes increased by 113 – not bad for the cost of a £15 prize. I also ended up with loads of useful ideas for future blog posts!

How to run a fun and fair competition on your Facebook page

Step 1. Write the instructions

Decide on the prize and use the word WIN! or GIVEAWAY! to draw attention to your post. It’s best to write a single post, then pin it to your Facebook page for the duration of the promotion (click the arrow top right of the post, then Pin to Top). If you want to promote it again, share the original post with text similar to ‘Don’t forget our prize draw is still running – click the photo to enter!’. Posting multiple updates asking for likes and comments can be confusing for entrants.

Take note of Facebook’s guidelines for promotions and terms of use:

You can ask people to

  • Like a post
  • Comment on a post (including photos and links)
  • Post on a page

You can’t ask people to:

There’s nothing wrong with suggesting people could like your page and share the post – but it mustn’t be a compulsory entry method. Read my post ‘Please, stop the shares!’ for further information about sharing posts.

Is it a prize draw or a competition?

In the UK, if you’re choosing a random comment or like as the winner, it’s a prize draw. If you’re choosing a winning comment or photo entry based on judging criteria (which you must specify!) it’s a competition. In the US, a random draw is a sweepstakes and judged is a contest.

Asking for a comment is preferable to asking for a like – it starts a conversation with fans, and you can reply to the comment or contact the winner directly by clicking message under their comment. Take the opportunity to get valuable feedback about your company – be creative with your questions! Ask a question with one correct answer, and people will simply copy the comment above theirs. Some pages run fun ‘spot the ball’ type puzzles – or ask people to comment with a photo.

Step 2. Create a graphic

A good photo of the prize will stand out on Facebook timelines and tickers – adding WIN! plus your logo and a closing date is ideal.

Step 3. Write Terms & Conditions

Include as many T&Cs in the post as you can (most people won’t click a link to read them!) It’s essential to include the closing date and time, otherwise people will continue to enter even after you’ve announced a winner.

Host a longer set of T&Cs by installing the free Notes app to a Facebook page by clicking Settings (top right) > Edit Page (left hand column) > Add a Tab (bottom of list). Posting a new Note will appear as a post on the page timeline. Include a link from the post to the T&Cs, and also from the T&Cs to the post (edit these links in soon after posting).

Tip: Use a master set of T&Cs as a template for all your Facebook promotions, and tweak to suit.

What you should include in your T&Cs…

  • What’s the prize?
  • When is the closing date, time – and time zone, if appropriate!
  • Are there entry restrictions? eg. age or location
  • How do people enter?
  • How is the winner chosen? eg. random or judged
  • When and how will the winner be informed? eg. a reply to their comment, a Facebook message
  • Who is the promoter?
  • Will entries be used or shared by the promoter?
  • Disclaimer text – required by Facebook: “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook”

The final Facebook post:

Amazoncomp

And the longer T&Cs saved as a Note:

Terms & Conditions for SuperLucky £15 Amazon Voucher Prize Draw

  • There is 1 prize of a £15 Amazon e-voucher.
  • Open to UK residents aged 16 and over, excluding employees and relatives of SuperLucky.
  • Closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 19th January 2016.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Entrants must leave a comment on the Facebook promotional post at http://bit.ly/LuckyAmazon with a topic they would like me to blog about in 2016 – one comment per person.
  • The winner will be chosen at random.
  • The winner will be informed by a reply to their comment plus a Facebook message within 28 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The winner’s name will be available on request and published in the SuperLucky newsletter and on social media accounts.
  • The voucher will be emailed within 7 days of the winner confirming their address.
  • The promoter is SuperLucky, Brighton.
  • By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook

Step 4. Share your Facebook promotion

Once people start sharing and commenting, you’ll get lots of entries – but there’s always the option to pay to Boost the post on Facebook too (although you will have to make sure your text content is minimal in the photo).

You can also embed your Facebook post into a blog or website – click on the photo then hover over it until the menu appears at the bottom. Click options then embed post and copy the code; people will be able to Like a post without even leaving your website!

Tip: Create a unique link at bitly.com to share on social media, eg. http://bit.ly/LuckyAmazon – this is neater than a Facebook link and you can track clicks on the bitly website.

For more tips, see my post How to promote your competition.

Step 5. Choose and contact the winner

There are a couple of FREE ways you can fairly choose a random winner for a prize draw. Scrolling down the list of Likes or Comments and stopping on a nice photo or funny comment is not a fair way to do it!

Fanpage Karma Good Luck Fairy

For quick results, choose a winner using the tool at www.fanpagekarma.com/facebook-promotion – simply paste in a link to your Facebook competition post. You’ll be shown a random winner from everyone who LIKED, everyone who COMMENTED, everyone who did both, or the post with the most Likes. Click a link under the results to download an Excel spreadsheet of every participant.

GLF

Woobox

If you want to capture more data, including the comments, you can register for a free Woobox account and follow these instructions to download a CSV file which you can then import into a spreadsheet (I use Google Drive).

ContestCaptureExample

For a prize draw, use the random.org website to select a winning line on the spreadsheet, or for a competition, judge the entries according to the criteria stated in your T&Cs (I add a column for judges to assign a score alongside the entries). If the entrant had to Like AND Comment, check the spreadsheet to see that both of these were done.

Screenshot your results and save your spreadsheet in case someone queries how you chose your winner!

If you’ve chosen a commenter as a winner,  go back to the post and find their comment. If you used Woobox, the line number in the spreadsheet should give you a rough idea of where their comment is. Double check the entry is valid – did they answer the question, leave a photo/link or do what was required? Click Message underneath the comment to send them a winning message directly from your page (this is better than using a personal account) – plus it’s a good idea to leave a reply under their comment asking them to check their inbox.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.07.41

Do not ask the winner to email you or message the page – believe it or not some people have set up email addresses and cloned Facebook accounts in order to claim big prizes! The only safe way to get in touch is for YOU to message the winner, and wait for their response.

It’s sensible to state in your message the time your winner has to respond – CAP recommend 28 days. Decent promoters should attempt contact more than once – CAP guidance says ‘announcing the winner once is unlikely to be sufficient.’ An update on the page, for example ‘We’ve still not heard from our winner Steve Smith, who has 7 days to get in touch and claim his prize!’ is an option. If there has been no response after 28 days, you can select another winner.

Step 6. Tell people who won!

When your winner has accepted the prize, it’s nice to share a congratulations post on your Facebook page so everyone knows about it! You don’t have to do this, but if someone privately requests it, the CAP Code states you must tell them the winner’s full name and county. In my experience, announcing the winner keeps everybody happy because they can see the prize was awarded and that you’re not out to scam people!

winner.png

Finally, get your prize to the winner as soon as you can, but certainly within 28 days – use a tracked delivery service if possible.

Did you find this post useful? Join my promoters mailing list for the latest tips and advice on running fun, fair and successful promotions. 

You can also buy ‘Blog Giveaways: How to run successful competitions, contests & prize draws on your blog for £1.99 

Author: Di

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  • Faridah Brooker

    Great post Di but how do you get promoters to actually follow these rules? Practically every one says like and share – I’ve stopped public sharing as people were defriending me on FB so now I say I’m sharing with ‘x’ and tag a comping friend.

  • Unfortunately you can’t get anyone to follow the rules – the problem is, most people have no idea there actually *are* any rules – which is why I’ve written this post. Mind you, I’ve seen several pages lately who have had to end their promotions early because Facebook contacted them telling them not to run a ‘Like & Share’ so perhaps things might be changing?

  • fraugretel

    I have experienced problems regarding this first hand! I entered a competition with the company “Getting Personal ” and hurrah .. I won it !! They posted the winning message on their post without tagging me – just asking Sarah Forrester to email them and quoted the address to send to the email. As they had not tagged me it took a day or two for me to see that I had won it – I commented on the post and then emailed them. They replied to me asking what address I wanted the prize sent to as they had received two different requests – the email was sent to both my email address and an email that had been created using my name – I was MORTIFIED that my actual email address had been sent to this fraudster and also that someone could be so dishonest that they would create an email address to claim a prize that was only worth £20 ! They now had my email address !! I asked Getting Personal if they could give me the persons address so I could go to the police but they said that they could not do so as it would violate their privacy !!!!!!! I was so angry !! It was not the monetary value of the prize – it was the principal – they had effectively stolen my identity – if they could do that for a £20 prize what else were they prepared to do ?? I did contact the police but they said there was nothing they could do as Getting Personal had not actually sent them the prize ! I was incredulous – they could create a fake email to obtain goods by deception but no-one was going to do anything about it !! So…. the moral of the story is .. to promoters always message the winner directly !

  • This has been so so helpful. A bit of a mine field as I can see.

    Thanks

  • samanthacoles

    I’ve tried contacting people running the competitions but just get rude replies – saying they’ll do it as long as they can and that people share posts all the time so why not ask people to. There’s no way to report it either on the report post buttons

  • Great info – you see so many promoters using the ‘like & share’ method and I’ve been banging on about it for years when I run Social Media training sessions. You CAN run a good comp perfectly in lines with FB’s T&Cs.

    I’ve just used your fab info as a guide & sanity check to setting one up on my Facebook AloeToday page – thanks for a great post 🙂

  • Mark Lightfoot

    Amazing post – thank you so much for sharing all this valuable experience & info. Will be putting it into practice in the run up to Christmas! Lots of sanity, and no nonsense.

  • Emma Lyskava

    Hi Di, I would argue that companies can ask people to Like their Facebook page as a method of entry, as the Facebook article that you’ve linked to only relates to Facebook apps like Woobox or Offerpop – not general posts on a page.

  • This is a point that people often make, and I agree that Facebook haven’t really made it clear enough. But they do say “You must not incentivize people to like a page…. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, Facebook wants its users to like your page because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives.” – which seems to apply not only to apps, but generally too. Liking a post though, is fine!

  • Gem Gem Newton

    This is a great post! I have a couple of question, if you can help.

    Is this up to date with FB’s T&Cs?

    Also, I want to run a competition to generate more page like and page traffic. Would it be ok to set out like this?

    “”To enter you must like this post.

    (T&C’s here)

    don’t forget to like our page & share with your friends.””

    Thank you 🙂

  • Facebook T&Cs regarding promotions haven’t changed for a few years now, so this information is still correct!

    Your wording still implies that the entrant must Like & Share – I think if you add a bit to the end, for example “don’t forget to like our page & share with your friends to help spread the word!” then it’s less of a command!

  • Gem Gem Newton

    Fantastic, thank you. This page is really helpful for setting up competitions that don’t break the rules! Thank you again.

  • Pingback: How to Create a Facebook Contest that Actually Works | Easy blog networks()

  • Melodi Kucuk

    Hi, it is the Facebook policy that you must not tell contestants to share on their Facebook timelines or their friends. You also can’t tag friends below the post. this is really important as it breaches Facebook rules.

  • Thanks for this, I’ve just used it to create my first Prize Draw, so hopefully it will work well.

  • Steve Lamb

    Ive been trying to do a promotion but cant find the Notes? have the moved or been removed?

  • Le Coin de Mel

    Best post I’ve read all week! I’ve just set up my first Facebook competition and thanks to your advice / T&C template, I’ve saved a few hours. xxxxx

  • Le Coin de Mel

    Couldn’t find them either!

  • Whoops! I meant to edit this last month and forgot. To find them, it’s Settings (top right) > Edit Page (left hand column) > Add a Tab (bottom of list) then choose NOTES!