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How many times have you scrolled through your Facebook feed and seen a contest or giveaway someone was promoting? Company after company featuring contests on their pages for giveaways, like concert tickets, t-shirts, sports jerseys, and even trips to Mexico. It’s enough to make you wonder, “How do Facebook contests work?”

If you’re looking to interact with your community or just gain more followers on Facebook, hosting a contest is a great way to get started. Being one of the most popular social networks and a channel that’s popular with a wide range of demographics, it’s easy for any company to gain traction through a Facebook contest—and, it’s pretty simple tactic, too.

How do you get started? Good question. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to increasing your business’ brand awareness, gaining followers, and starting discussions with customers, both current and potential. Let’s get started.
Note: Facebook contest rules change over time. This article was written in late December 2019 and covers rules for running contests on Facebook up to that date.

1Set goals

While running a Facebook contest may seem pretty easy overall, running a successful Facebook contest does require a bit more work. When evaluating if you want to run a Facebook contest or not, first think about the goal behind your campaign.

Some examples of goals include:
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Adding Facebook likes and/or interactions 
  • Collecting email addresses 
  • Crowdsourcing for ideas and/or publicity for new production or service 
  • Increasing traffic to the website
No matter what goal you have in mind, make sure to take the time to set one so you can apply a deeper focus to your contest ideas later.

2Choose a prize

While you may see outrageous prizes like trips to Mexico or a new car, your prize doesn’t need to be expensive. It just has to be something relevant and desired by the type of customer you are trying to reach. Whether that be a 50% off coupon for a laundry service, free delivery for a year, or a pair of basketball game tickets, think about who is entering your contest and what may entice them to participate.

3Decide on the type of contest/campaign you want to run

When deciding on a contest, there are two main types of promotions that work extremely well on Facebook. They include:


If this is your first rodeo, you’ll want to start with a giveaway. This technique is a sure-fire way to increase engagement and collect user-generated content (depending on how you format your contest). First, you’ll want to determine how you want the user to engage in the contest, some easy entry ideas include:
  • Liking or commenting on the post about your promotion
  • Use a hashtag on your picture

Photo/caption contests

When looking to spice up your marketing or ideas for your newest campaign, a photo or caption contest is sure to get you some motivated responses and free user-generated content. Components of this type of contest include:
  • Commenting on the promotion with a picture and/or a comment
  • Uploading a picture involving the company, product, location, or prize in action
  • Getting the most likes on a submitted photo
  • Choosing a winner’s photo at random
  • Writing the best caption for the photo provided

4Determine logistics and rules

Promotions on Facebook can be tricky at times. We’ve broken down below what you can—and cannot—ask users to do to enter your contest.

✔️ You can ask users to:

  • Like or comment on a post
  • Like other comments on the post
  • Post to your page’s timeline
  • Message the page

❌ You cannot ask users to:

  • Share one or more of your posts
  • Post the page on a friend’s timeline
  • Tag people in posts
  • Change their cover photo
  • Like your Facebook page
Be sure to read up on Facebook’s latest promotion rules to understand what types of contests are allowed (and which contests will be deleted from the site). Things as simple as how you word what you ask users to do may risk Facebook shutting down your promotion.

You will also need to define the logistics of your promotion. Include these details as part of your social media post about the promotion:
  • Who is eligible to enter
  • How users can enter the promotion
  • A description of the prize
  • How a winner will be selected
  • How prizes will be distributed
  • A timeline of key dates of when (1) entries open and close, (2) when a winner will be chosen, and (3) when prizes will be distributed.
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5Develop and post!

Start writing your post, and make it stand out. With hundreds of contests and post in our feeds each day, be sure to include an attention-grabbing phrase. Make sure your call to action is direct and points users to enter where—and how—you want them to.

Once you have posted the contest doesn’t end there. Be sure to promote your Facebook contest and notify the winner and everyone who has entered once your contest has come to a close.

There you have it. You’re now on your way to creating an engaging, exciting, and effective Facebook contest for your business.

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