How to: Run a Competition on Facebook

business socialmedia howto facebook

Fancy running a competition on your Facebook page? It helps that you no longer need to build an app to do it. Find out how it’s done in our step-by-step guide.

So you’ve set up a Facebook Page for your business, you’ve been posting regularly, and now you want to build your fan-base. We’re pretty sure we don’t need to tell you this, but, the more fans your page has, the more you can raise your brand awareness and take advantage of the word-of-mouth opportunities that social media offers. And running a competition directly on your Facebook Page is a fantastic way to entice new fans, encourage engagement, and reward your existing fans.

So how’s it done? Well, Facebook made a fairly big change to its rules regarding competitions earlier this year, in August. In essence, you no longer need to create or install an app to run a competition on Facebook – great news for the less tech-savvy among you who would have found the idea of doing that a little daunting. And really, who has time for that kind of thing?

You can now run a competition on your page, by simply asking fans to like or comment on an update or photo to enter the competition. Facebook does however stipulate that “Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions” which basically means you can’t ask entrants to share on their timeline to enter, or to share on their friends’ timeline to get additional entries.

You can of course still create an app if you want to run your competition and entry method in a way that isn’t possible directly on your page. And have the time/know-how/wonga to do it.

It’s always worth checking the official guidelines on Facebook’s website before going ahead with your competition, just in case they change again – stranger things have happened…


Before you start:

  • You’ll need to have a Facebook page for your business/website
  • Consider what kind of competition you want to run, what prizes you’ll offer, and what you’ll ask people to do to enter
  • Research how other competitions have been run successfully on Facebook
  • Think about your competition messaging and content


Now let’s get started:

Step 1: Decide on your competition concept. How will you entice people to enter? Keep it simple, with a great prize that’s relevant to your business and target audience. If you’re a pizza restaurant, for example, you could offer a free meal for two.


Step 2: Decide how you want people to enter the competition – the easiest way would be to tell fans to simply ‘like’ an update or photo. But you could also ask for comments or photos to garner a more interesting and engaging response. For example, (sticking with the pizza restaurant theme) you could ask fans to come up with their dream pizza topping, awarding the prize to the most original and tasty-sounding suggestion.


Step 3: Write a set of T&Cs for the competition to protect yourself and your entrants. A good tip here is to base yours on those of a big brand running a similar Facebook competition in the same country as you (as local laws apply), and tweak them as appropriate for your campaign.

Step 4: Remember to check the latest official guidelines on Facebook’s website and include any relevant ones in your T&Cs. Essentially, you need to make it clear that Facebook will not be held responsible for the competition, that you are not acting on behalf of Facebook and that there is no endorsement from Facebook of your competition. And include an acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Step 5: Now you need to publish your competition. Once it’s live, make sure you promote it. There’s no point creating a competition to attract people to your Page, if you’re not going to tell anyone it exists. Your competition is a brilliant excuse to tell everyone about your Facebook page via email, other social media channels, on your website and in your physical location. Other people and competition websites may even feature your prize if it’s enticing enough. Make the closing date clear.


Step 6: Keep a buzz around your competition by posting about it throughout the entry period. Highlight the prizes available and remind people to enter. You might want to set aside a small budget to test some Facebook adverts, allowing you to target a specific audience with your competition.

Step 7: When the closing date arrives you’ll need to announce that it’s closed and pick a winner. All competitions and promotions on Facebook can run for a limited time only, so make sure you display the competition timings clearly on your Page. Once you’ve chosen your winner you can now contact them directly via Facebook to let them know the good news – another thing that wasn’t previously allowed.


Step 8: Make the most of your new fans by engaging them with relevant and interesting content (see our guide on what and when to post on Facebook for tips) – it would be pointless to run a competition to attract new fans, only to do nothing with them!

Now go forth and let us know how your competitions work out by commenting below.

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Vicki Shiel
Editor at Moonfruit. Likes food and smoothies.

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