Almost 3 years ago I started looking at how to run a contest on Facebook. Back then Facebook was much more lenient. We could use likes as a voting mechanism and contact winners over Facebook. We were largely unrestricted and the ways we could bolster likes on Facebook pages were many.
Then, in came the Facebook lawyers, giving out a whole list of requirements for promotions run on Facebook, largely locking down many of the things we had been doing. Over the last 2 years the rules have largely remained the same but they still aren’t well known to many businesses, even large businesses still run contests against Facebook’s terms.
Based on the years of experience with contests I wanted help those new to the game by laying down the basic foundations of running a Facebook contest.
1. Why You Run A Contest
A contest can accomplish many things but its primary purpose is lead generation. It is for an email list, more followers, a larger audience to speak to. It can incidentally create sales as I have seen in the past but this isn’t always the case. You then need to communicate, provide value and engage with your new audience to increase sales.
Remember, a contest can give you a larger audience, it is then up to you to decide how to communicate with them.
2. You Need An App
Why? Because Facebook demands it and if you want to keep your Facebook page you have to abide by their rules.
3. Where Do I Get An App?
At Binkd, that is what we do. However if Binkd doesn’t suit your needs just Google “Facebook Contest App” to get many results and see what best suits your needs. I will mention that you are unlikely to find a free contest app and if you do, it will unlikely remain free for long.
4. Where Does The App Go?
Taking Binkd as an example, once you sign up for an account and create a contest, you need to install an app on your Facebook page. You are given a link and it will install on your Facebook page and provide you with a new tab.
5. People Must Enter Through The App
As one of the main requirements of Facebook’s terms, the only way people can enter a contest on Facebook is via entering their information on a page within the app. They can’t enter just by liking the page, commenting or doing any other Facebook action. In addition to this, you must get them to enter in information that allows you to contact them outside of Facebook. The reason for this will become apparent further on in the article.
However, you can require them to like your page before they enter the contest. This is called fan gating and Facebook does allow this.
6. Promote Your Contest
Now that you have your contest active you need to promote it. It doesn’t do it itself. Have a look at How To Promote A Contest for many ways you can promote your contest.
7. Pick The Winner, Award The Prize, Contact The Winner
Once the contest is over, the application will pick the winner(s). Normally this involves going into the app and looking at a page that shows the names and email addresses and which ones were picked. This is under Contests > Winners in the Binkd app.
Now you must contact the winner(s) over email or any other method except Facebook. This is a strict rule on Facebook. You can not message, post or comment the winners of the contest. The best you can do is contact the winners individually, then create a blog post announcing the winners and share a link to that article on your Facebook page.
It is always good to familiarize yourself with Facebook’s Page Guidelines. Pay particular attention to III part E.