WinningEveryone wants to win!  That’s why running a Facebook contest is a great idea.  People love a good contest.  But Facebook has a lot of rules around contests that most people aren’t aware of.  Running a contest that doesn’t comply with Facebook’s terms could get you banned.  We don’t want that.

{UPDATE:  The Facebook Contest Rules have changed – you can now run a contest by asking people to Like or Comment on a post.  See the full details in my newest post:  New Facebook Contest Rules}

The biggest rule is that you need to administer the contest through an Application.  That means you need to run your contest on a tab on your Page rather than by having them respond to a Wall post or uploading a picture to your wall or similar-type no-nos.  Luckily there are several companies who are dedicated to administering Facebook contests while following all the rules.

Here are some of the applications that administer Facebook contests:

  • North Social – also easy to set up they charge per month and based on how many  fans your page has – good rates.
  • Votigo – they currently focus on larger scale campaigns and can be very customized to your needs. (Update:  now they have self-service options)
  • Fanappz – I have not personally tried them but Bob Saget uses their quiz application.
Update:  I had to add these other fantastic Contest apps!
  • Strutta – Great for photo, video or essay contests with a professional look and great features.  The pricing starts at $299 but it’s gorgeous.
  • ShortStack – This is a great app for creating all kinds of custom tabs and they have a sweepstakes entry widget that you can add.  The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create your entry form.
  • Woobox – Another low-cost sweepstakes application that is easy to set up yourself.
  • Offerpop – This sweepstakes application is free for Pages with 100 Likes or less.
  • Tabsite – Lots of options with different contests you can run and affordable!
  • EasyPromos – Your first contest is free
  • Contest Domination – Has Aweber and Infusionsoft integration
  • Antavo – easy to set up and run
There are lots of  different Facebook contest applications out there – find what works best for you!

Now to some of the rules and what you can and can’t do.  You can request that people Like your page to enter but you can’t automatically enter everyone who Likes you.  You can also have people upload photos and videos but only through the application, not to your wall.  To see all the ins and outs of the rules, take a look at the Promotions Guidelines on Facebook’s site.

I get into some of nitty-gritty of how to set up your contest with the Wildfire Application here:

Now you know how to set it up correctly and within Facebook’s terms, but what makes a successful contest?  I like to think of in terms of 3 P’s.  Planning, a good Prize and Promotion.


Don’t just stick your contest up on your Page and hope people enter.  Make a plan for the goals of your contest.  How many entries do you want, how many Likers, how many new subscribers?  How will you promote the contest?  Will you have a banner on your site, a blog tour (this takes planning to set up!) or press releases?  Make sure you have a promotion schedule in place so that you are reaching new people every day.


Give away something good!  You may want to poll your audience to find out what would be valuable to them.  You can give away a spot in your 12-week coaching system to draw attention to that product.  It doesn’t have to be extremely expensive to be valuable to your audience.


This is the most important part.  Get the word out every day about your contest.  Tweet it, enlist friends to help spread the word, put links to the contest on your Facebook Page every day, have a link on your website, do a blog tour, write press releases, e-mail everyone and ask them to send it to anyone who is interested.

One nice aspect of Wildfire is they have a place to browse current contests.  This may get you some additional exposure as well as be a good place to research ideas.

Whatever you do have fun, learn from your contest and run another one.  They are great vehicles for connecting to new people and giving your brand some buzz!  And if you run a beauty contest, be sure and vote for Grandma LOL!

Want MORE information about Facebook Contests?  Sign up for my free on-demand webinar about how to run a successful Facebook contests!  Get instant access here: