How to organize Facebook contests, games and sweepstakes?

Most of us have, at some point, been a part of a contest, game or sweepstake on Facebook. Properly organizing games can bring a whole lot of fans to your page, without having to give a single dollar for advertising. However, there are some things you should know before attempting to popularize your Facebook page through such promotional techniques.

The Rules:

There are strict guidelines to follow when making contest. The “Like our page to win!” status updates are no longer legal on Facebook. facaswewIf you do not follow the promotional guidelines strictly, you risk getting your page suspended or even worse – permanently deleted.

–       Do not ask people to tag themselves on a picture

–       Do no ask people to Like, Comment or Share

–       Same goes for liking a picture

–       Do not ask your fans to post messages on their or your wall


Think of what you want to achieve and create an application:

Do you want to get more fans, engagement or get email contacts to send marketing messages? There are different types of contests you can come up with and they all require an app.

To make it legal you have to create an app for your contest. If you are not a great developer we advise you to use a third party web-based platform to quickly create your Facebook contest application. There are many services offered and some of them are even free for up to certain number of fans or with some features limited.

The most famous one is undoubtedly – Wildfire app. It was recently purchased by Google and offers many features, but is seriously overpriced. Some of the Wildfire alternatives are Heyo, Pagemodo, Blazon, Offerpop and Shortstack. We at Mochahost use Shortstack for our Facebook applications which is easy to use, offers lots of features and is priced adequately compared to the Google alternative.


Fan gating:


Make sure you include “Fan gating” when creating your application. This way, the tab will reveal only after the person is a fan of your Facebook page. As visible on the picture below, when fan gating is enabled the person gets a teaser image and is not allowed to proceed with the game until the “Like” button in the upper-right corner is clicked.


Types of promotions: 

There are few major types of promotions using applications.


The Sweepstake:

Pretty simple, you ask for the person’s name and email address when submitting their entry in the sweepstake. You may require the person to agree to your terms and conditions where you notify them that marketing messages may be sent to them. You can add an option for increasing their chances of winning if the participants refer more people in the game through sharing. At the end of the sweepstake you can pick a random winner.


The Photo contest:


You ask the fans to submit a photo in the application and vote for the best one. It could be a photo of your products or a photo of them for example. People will have the incentive to share your application in order to get more votes for their entry. The one that receives the most votes wins a prize.

You should also enable fan gating for that contest.

e.g. Let’s say your company color is purple. Ask users to submit pictures of interesting purple things, whether objects, people in purple clothes or anything of that matter.


Word contest:

You can ask the fans to write a caption for a photo you choose and then pick a winner.

You can also create an essay contest when you ask people to write a short paragraph about a certain topic, connected with the business you are running.

The Facebook contests can be a real booster if you know your audience well. Make sure you pick up a nice prize and promote your contest. Share it, write an email to your clients and even write a blog post about it.

Do you have any experience with contests you would like to share? You can write it down in the comment section below.

Have a very social month.

Alek Chase

Leave a Reply

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.