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:
- Like a page (see Facebook Developers Policy)
- Share a post
- Tag a friend in a post or comment
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.
A common way to include T&Cs is to add them as the first comment on the Facebook post. 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:
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
- In the UK, list it for free at www.loquax.co.uk or www.theprizefinder.com – both sites appreciate a backlink from your website/blog, or a mention on your Facebook page.
- Tweet it to me at @superluckydi or share on my SuperLucky Facebook page.
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 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!
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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