running a competition on facebookI rarely enter a competition on Facebook, as nine out of ten times I see competitions being promoted by businesses they are breaking the rules and therefore I choose not to participate. However, I was recently pleasantly surprised to see a competition being run by CazNStyle that ticked all the boxes (and was giving away a gorgeous pair of Dani K Shoes), so I chose to enter.

1. Adhere to the terms of Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines

What people often don’t realise is that anytime you are running a competition on Facebook where you wish to select a winner, you must adhere to the terms of Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines as part of the Facebook Pages Terms and any other applicable laws in the area where the competition is available. Facebook has put together a Promotions Guidelines Training video that is well worth the watch to reinforce the points outlined in this post.

2. Use a 3rd party app

To administer a competition you must use either a 3rd party app on a Facebook Tab or have the competition hosted external to Facebook. That is what CazNStyle did. They used a relatively simple to use free competition app called Ezypromos. By far, it is not the best option on the market, but it did the job adequately. What I did like about it was that it had social sharing buttons embedded within it, so I could share the fact that I entered the competition on my Timeline and invite my friends to enter as well for the opportunity to gain a second entry into the competition, which I am pretty sure I did.
Hosting a competition via a 3rd party app is necessary as you are not permitted to collect entries, conduct the draw, judge entries and/or notify winners using any of Facebook’s features or functionality. For example, the registration mechanism for a competition cannot be “Like post to enter”. Instead, you need to create your own voting mechanism through an app. How many businesses have you seen get this wrong? Loads I bet.
You should also include competition rules and guidelines within the app you are using. These should include:

  • A complete release of Facebook;
  • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way administered, sponsored or endorsed by or associated with Facebook; and
  • Disclosure that participant is not providing information to Facebook.

3. Restrict entry to achieve objectives

You can still restrict entry or registration to people who have Liked the Page, Checked-in to your business via Facebook or and/or added an app. This is all possible via a well built 3rd party competition app. These requirements should be included as appropriate to meet with the objectives of your competition. For example, if you are running a competition in an attempt to get more people to Like your Page, then make Liking your Page a requirement for entry rather than just hoping that people will do so (as most won’t). But do try not too put too many barriers in the way of entry, such as requiring a lot of personal details, as this will result in a lower conversion to entrants.

4. Make the type of competition and prize relevant to your objective

Your objective for the competition should also influence the type of competition that you run. For example, if you are looking to develop ideas for a promotional video, then getting your entrants to develop a 30sec video featuring one of your products that your fans then vote on may be the best option for determining what resonates best with your audience. In addition to this, you may make part of the competition terms that you have the right to use all submitted videos for your own promotional purposes. You may even strike gold and have something submitted that is of high enough quality that you don’t even end up having to develop something yourself! Types of competitions you may consider include: a competition draw or sweepstakes, essay, photo, video, quiz or trivia. Just keen it simple and relevant to your business, products and/or services. The simpler the competition, to enter, the more entrants you will receive.
Dan K Shoes, Ms Pritty White Bow Tie, Facebook Prize, You are likely to get loads of entrants if you offer up the latest iPad as your prize, but if your main product is women’s shoes, then it is more than likely that a large majority of those that you are attracting to enter the competition will fall outside your target demographic. This could harm your level of engagement (and Talking About This metric) in the long term, which you don’t want. The key is to make sure whatever you offer is of (significant – if possible) value to your target audience. Also, if you run competitions regularly, make sure that you change the type of competition you conduct and the prize on offer on a regular basis to keep it fresh and attract different people to enter.

5. Make your competition accessible from a mobile device

With more than 50% of people regularly accessing Facebook via a mobile device these days, whatever app you choose to use, you must make sure that it is optimised for mobile. Fortunately more and more 3rd party app developers are taking mobile into consideration in their development of apps these days and in some cases are providing an alternative as part of the app. If not, then your other options is to build an alternative entry mechanism external to Facebook that still enables mobile users to enter. However, the drawback of this (as well as the extra work) is that you would then need to share that link with a message such as “click on this link if on a mobile device” along with the link to the Facebook app whenever you are promoting the competition via Facebook, which can create some confusion. Whilst this is messy, if you don’t do this then people on mobile devices that click on the link to the app will receive an error message (which doesn’t reflect well on your business) and then get frustrated that they are unable to enter to win that great prize you have on offer.

6. Promote, promote, promote!

After hearing all these rules, many people jump to the conclusion that you cannot promote your competition on Facebook.  This is not the case and you should promote your competition like crazy! You should encourage people to enter via your Business and Personal Timeline, any relevant Groups you are a member of and via Facebook ads if you have budget for that. Include social sharing features in your app to encourage your entrants to promote your competition on your behalf and don’t forget to promote your competition via other social media platforms, your website, email marketing and off-line also.

7. Get permission prior to announcing winners publicly

Another thing that is often done incorrectly is the method of notifying and announcing winners. This needs to be done via e-mail or phone or some other means external to Facebook.  Therefore you should collect an alternative method of contacting entrants as part of your entry mechanism to enable this. You can still announce the winner on the Page once (and provided) you have their consent to do so. This is to respect the privacy of your competition entrants. For instance, perhaps Bob doesn’t want his wife to know that he has won a pair of Ms Pritty Metallic Pink Dani K pumps, particularly if he intend to keep them for himself to wear when she is not around!
Once you gain the winner’s permission to announce the result, I would encourage you to do so as it demonstrates transparency that a draw actually took place and it also provides an opportunity for more engagement with those people that entered the competition. I usually do this by filming the draw live, ringing or emailing the winner and then sharing the video of the draw on my Page. You can see an example of a live draw here.

8. Convert competition entrants to customers and/or raving fans!

One of the things that is often overlooked is competition follow up. Those people that have entered your competition to win a pair of shoes are obviously interested in your shoes. Assuming you collected their email address as part of the process, you now have the perfect opportunity to send them a direct marketing campaign, perhaps offering them 20% off the purchase of that same product or a product of their choice in store. Give them a unique promotional code and you can then track the amount of sales that have been generated as a result of the competition.
Dani K Shoes, competition prizes, comp rules on Facebook, FB regulations around giveaways, And don’t forget the winner! I was fortunate enough to win the competition I entered and am now the very excited owner of the Ms Pritty Metallic Pink Dani K pumps (not Bob)! What am I doing about it? I am wearing those shoes with pride, telling my friends and writing a blog post! This is something I felt compelled to do as a way of saying thank you for what I have received. This is no doubt beyond the level of publicity that CazNStyle and Dani K Shoes would’ve expected when setting up the competition in the first place, but no doubt an added bonus that they will be happy with (they have no idea I am writing this).
I suppose the lesson to be learnt from this is to encourage your competition winner to share their story by whatever means they have available, whether that be posting a message of thanks on your Page’s Timeline, tweeting some pictures of themselves in their new shoes or writing a blog post. All this exposure creates a greater reach for your business and hopefully a higher return on investment for the competition.
For those of you keen to learn more about CazNStyle and Dani K Shoes, here’s some info I found about them online:

CazNStyle and Dani K Shoes have joined forces to excite your fashion choices and get your fashion juices flowing! Use your wardrobe staples as a base, and look on trend with a pair of Dani K on trend colours and a gorgeous collection of styles in timeless colours and designs that you can wear season after season. There is no reason to update your wardrobe every season! By using Dani K Shoes “hot” “in” colours you will look like an expert when it comes to fashion.

Dani K Shoes is a proudly owned and operated Australian Business based in Melbourne Victoria. Dani K Shoes can be found in selected fashion boutiques and shoe stores across Australia and also exclusively online or send Caz an email at to find the right heel for your style.

Have you run a successful competition on Facebook? If so I would love to hear any further tips you have in the comments section below.