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.
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.
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!
Here’s my step-by-step guide to how I created it.
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.
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:
- Share a post
- Tag a friend in a post or comment
- Like a page (although this is debated! See Facebook Developers Policy)
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. It’s essential to include the closing date and time, otherwise people will continue to enter even after you’ve announced a winner. A common way to include full T&Cs is to add them as the first comment on the Facebook post.
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:
And the longer T&Cs saved as a Note:
Unfortunately, Facebook discontinued Notes for pages in 2020 so unfortunately it’s no longer possible to link to a Note from your post – just do what you can to get the essential T&Cs into your main post, and add any extras as a comment!
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
- In the UK, list it for free at www.loquax.co.uk or www.competitiondatabase.co.uk
- Tweet it to me at @superluckydi and I’ll share!
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.
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).
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.
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 you must give winner details to the ASA if it’s queried. 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!
Finally, get your prize to the winner as soon as you can, but certainly within 28 days – use a tracked delivery service if possible.
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This is a great post! Thanks so much for sharing!
I am thinking of running my first giveaway and you page has provided me with all the information I was looking for. Thank you very much for sharing.
Love this! Thank you for sharing!
I want to do a script competition on facebook for, among other things, a £20 prize – is this a bad idea/better to go with a voucher? What would be the best way to do it?
Thank you so much for your post its a fantasric resource!
Great post and good information. I have been looking around to see if this idea I have is allowed by FB. So I understand that my site ranking is scored by google depending on how many people visit and read the content and go to multiple. So I was wondering if FB allow a Competition were you have some questions and people have to read through various pages looking for the answer. This should give my site a better ranking for organic searching. But then how would people enter as the answers could not be posted. Is it reasonable to ask them to email their answer. What’s your thoughts on that. Thanks Andy
That’s definitely possible Andy – although it’s a bit of a ’round the houses’ way of doing it! Could you have a hidden graphic on your website that people need to look for, then when people click on it it opens up an email to you, or takes people to a Google form to leave their answer? Then in the FB post you can simply say ‘Find the hidden gnome on our website, then click on it to enter the competition!’ – you could even give a few clues. Or if you want people to comment on Facebook, ask them to comment with their favourite product/destination/review/recipe on your website – usually people will visit the website rather than just copying whet the person above has put, but it depends what your website is about!
How do you make a lottery page on my Facebook, or a lucky dip with numbers from 1 to 500 example .
Hello. Is this post taking into consideration the new GDPR guidelines? I’m concerned that using a third party such as Fanpagekarma will be against the guidelines. Do I just need to include in my terms and conditions that this website will be used to draw the winner?
I’m a social media intern currently planning my first ever giveaway campaign for Facebook. Had I not found your article, I would have accidentally broken Facebook’s rules, thank you so much. This article answered almost all of my questions!
Can I ask, how would I go about creating a landing page and linking it to my posts with my full terms and conditions?
I’m a social media marketing intern running my first ever Giveaway Campaign and this article has saved me so much trouble. Helped me with everything I needed to know and had I not read it I would have accidentally broken Facebook’s rules! Thank you so much.
Can I ask, how would I go about creating a landing page and uploading it to FB with my full terms and conditions?
Hi, I am slightly new to social media and I posted a competition organically on Facebook and also created an ad on Facebook. Organically we had a great response however no likes or comments by posting it through the Facebook ad. Not sure what happened as the ad seemed to reach and engage with over 12,000 people. Any advice would be great. Thanks
I don’t have much experience with Facebook ads – but the couple of times I’ve trialled them for competitions (ayurveda training & a local massage prize), the responses haven’t been great – but I did think that was due to the niche audience I was trying to reach! What was the prize you were giving away?
We were giving away a Family Ticket and a cafe voucher for £40. I targeted the type of people that would visit us and in the area but no comments or likes to enter. Thank Suzanne
Thanks for a useful post Di – also glad to see you have updated it. This is the first time I’m going to run a competition, the prize is a meal for two people. I want them to like the post and also comment who they will treat/share the prize with. Is this against the rules, because although I’ll welcome ‘My hubby’, ‘my mum’ or ‘my bbf’ others might link people who are also on Facebook, even though I haven’t said tag they have to tag anyone!
That’s absolutely fine, and a great way to do it (I’ve actually done something similar in a Twitter prize draw this week ‘ reply and tell me which film you’ll see and with who’ – I never mention the word ‘tag’, as not everyone uses social media. But at least 50% of people WILL tag a friend so it still works. You can apply the same on Facebook – people will still tag, but there’s nothing wrong with that!
Thanks Di – this is SUPER helpful. I’ve not done a facebook giveaway in ages so wasn’t sure what the current rules were. I really appreciated this post walking me through it.
I’m pleased it was helpful! Don’t forget to let me know when your giveaway is live!
I always suspected that this might be the case with shares.
Great post. I’ll be sharing this with my competition friends.
Your site them an article most informative and useful for us.
This post is not entirely correct now. The guidance in the Facebook Developers section forbidding the forcing of page likes relates to the construction of third party apps, not to promotions run on a Facebook page. There is nothing in the Facebook page terms saying you cannot tell people to like your page. What it forbids is the forced us of a friend connection or another person’s timeline.
It’s important for people to know the difference between rules of managing the page and its content and the rules related to third party apps.
“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page” from the developer rules could apply to non-app content too though – even if it’s not officially in Facebook Page T&Cs. I agree that it might be a grey area, but it makes sense that Facebook don’t want pages to ask for a Like in return for something – it should be a natural/organic action. Facebook are constantly asking pages to promote relevant, engaging content rather than engagement bait (which is what most ‘Like to win’ comps are). People should want to like a Facebook page because of the content posted, not because they want to win a pencil sharpener. Yes, most pages aren’t bothered about Facebook terms/rules/policies when they run a giveaway – but it would be good to see them taking a bit more responsibility for their comps and thinking before they post!
Hello Steve, yes I have looked at this in greater detail as I noticed so many promotional giveaways asking for Page Likes as a condition of entry but there is no mention of this being forbidden in the ‘Facebook Pages Terms’. You cannot ask people to share the post on their timeline, their friends’ timeline or to tag their friends but ‘Liking the Page’ appears to be acceptable.
Di – agreed with your statement that Pages ought to be more responsible with comps but asking for ‘Likes’ is the only way to get the numbers up at the moment. Even great content is seeing very poor organic reach right now.
Thanks for this post
Do you have any tips on how to contact competition winners without using your personal FB account. From what I can see from Business Manager you can only message them if they have commented on the competition post. Otherwise there is no way of notifying without posting a message to the page. I have read about using apps that collect email addresses, but would be reluctant to introduce an additional stage.
You’re right – the only way to contact them as a page is to click ‘message’ under a comment, which is why it’s always a good idea to ask for a comment as an entry method! Those messages from a personal account often go into filtered messages and are never seen by the recipient.
Brilliant article! Thank you. This has really helped to kickstart the launch of my website and my business Facebook page. One question, is there a simple way to message all of the other participants who didn’t win (I only collected comments) to say ‘I’m sorry you didn’t win this time, but as a thank you for participating here is a discount code/gift voucher…etc.’?
I need the same solution. Did you find an answer? Would be extremely grateful if you could share your solution.
No, there’s no way to message entrants – but you could post a final comment on the competition post with that discount code – eg “Congratulations to our winner Dave Davis – for all the other entrants please enjoy a 15% discount code SPECIAL15 that can be used on our website at http://www.happydiscounts.com . Everyone who commented with a competition entry will get a notification about the new comment (unless they turned notifcations off).
Hey there Di!
Super informative. I was just wondering, is it safe to run these comps on FB? As in, is there a risk of having a page shut down?
Facebook has changed the rules slightly regarding clickbait and incentivised Likes/Comments – but if you’re asking people to leave a relevant/useful comment rather than a spammy ‘I’d love to win’ then you should be ok!
An excellent resource thank you!
Brilliant post. I’ve just set up a similar Like & Comment competition and it looks good. One hitch though – I saved the full T&Cs to a FB note as you suggested and directed people to the URL for actual competition post. But still people are commenting on the note itself instead!!! I didn’t want FB to tell everyone about the note but there seems no way around that. I also can’t see there’s any way to tun off commenting. Any suggestions?!
A fantastic, well written post, that has managed to answer every question I had. Thank you so much.
Thanks Jez – glad it was helpful!
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
Ive been trying to do a promotion but cant find the Notes? have the moved or been removed?
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!
Thanks for this, I’ve just used it to create my first Prize Draw, so hopefully it will work well.
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.
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!
Fantastic, thank you. This page is really helpful for setting up competitions that don’t break the rules! Thank you again.
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.
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!
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.
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 🙂
This has been so so helpful. A bit of a mine field as I can see.
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 !
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?
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