7 steps to run successful Facebook contests [+ examples]

Perhaps you don’t know, but if you still haven’t held a contest on Facebook, you are wasting a unique opportunity to increase the sales in your online shop. But this isn’t the only benefit you can get from it. A contest also allows you to create more engagement and to attract more traffic to your e-commerce.
Do you want to learn how to do it? And furthermore, how to do it for free?
Today at Doofinder we will tell you how.

What you should have clear before organizing a contest on Facebook

Combining your Facebook reach with a contest is almost always guaranteed success. We all love these types of quizzes.
Who doesn’t like the chance to win a prize? However, this doesn’t mean that just any promotion you run will be work.
Having one just to have one without defining a strategy or your goals may get you some sporadic followers, but that doesn’t translate into real improvement in terms of your e-commerce numbers.
Every dimension of web analytics has certain metrics that are considered “vanity metrics” since what they contribute doesn’t have any real importance to the core of your business. And one of those metrics is the number of followers and post reach.
Later we’ll take a look at how to define contest goals to help you avoid hollow metrics like those.
First, it’s important for you to learn and take into account the norms that Facebook itself establishes. If you don’t comply with them, you run the risk of your page being deleted.

Facebook rules for organizing contests on its platform

These are the main guidelines of what you should include when running a contest on Facebook to avoid being banned:

  • Eligibility requirements and participation restrictions: the conditions that the winner must meet. For example, living in a specific region, being a certain age, or any other demographic characteristic.
  • Legal aspects: it’s necessary to comply with official regulations in terms of data protection or anything else that legally corresponds to the contest. If you are going to collect information from the participants, you have to inform them and have them accept that their data be used for commercial purposes.
  • Specifically exempt Facebook: from any type of responsibility or liability related to the contest or giveaway you are running.
  • Mention that Facebook does not sponsor the contest: similar to the previous point, but with a special mention making it clear that Facebook isn’t running the contest. There could be people that think Facebook itself is in charge of the contest since it’s held on their platform.
  • Limitations to your message: there are some formulas that aren’t allowed. For example, you can’t include sharing the post as a requirement for participation, it’s not permitted to ask people to tag other friends to participate (Instagram still allows this), and automatically tagging photos is not allowed.

In short, Facebook needs you to make it clear that they aren’t involved, that it’s legal, and that you aren’t a spammer. With these three affirmations out of the way, the big F will let you run your contest without any problems.
And yes, now it’s time to look at how to set one up and organize it.

How to run contests on Facebook, step by step

We’ll explain the whole process in 7 steps.

1. Objectives

It’s important for you to integrate your contest into the broader level goals you’re trying to reach.Are you trying to generate more traffic to your online shop right now? Make sure the contest also helps you out in that sense.
These are a few examples of possible objectives to achieve:

  • Gain followers: this is one of the most common and contests are great for achieving it. It’s true that they have lost some value with the various changes to the algorithm, but a page with a nice handful of followers always looks better. That can be quite useful at the beginning, but remember that the number of followers is a vanity metric.
  • Direct traffic to your shop: quite useful when you have just started up your business and you have few visitors. Generating traffic makes Google start to take a better look at your site.
  • Foster loyalty amongst your audience: a good prize is always a good way to make sure your customers are thinking of you and not your competition. It’s tough to measure the value of this in particular, but you can always consider it to be another form of marketing.
  • Increase your sales: in addition to awards with discounts, contests encourage people to explain what your products are like and what their benefits are, which increases your sales.
  • On the other hand, be aware of the difficulty of obtaining direct sales from cold traffic, which is to say that they didn’t know you beforehand.
  • Gain more leads : we bulk up our database. Later, thanks to email marketing , that leads can be converted into a customer.

We want to be clear that you shouldn’t expect to blow up with sales because of a contest, but that it can be a seed that sprouts into conversions in the future.

2. Define the target audience

We’ve spoken about this in many articles: in terms of audience, less is usually more.
It’s preferable to reach fewer people so long as they fit the profile of your ideal client.
A massive contest with the largest reach possible that doesn’t take into account the peculiarities of the audience may lead to a large surge in likes or followers, but it won’t convert them into sales.
An example
Imagine an e-commerce for replacement car parts that organizes a giveaway on their fan page. If it tries to reach the greatest number of people possible and includes liking the page as a requirement to participate, it will see a huge spike in followers.
People are generally passionate about free things. Many of them will participate even if they don’t have a car, which means that this type of contest would attract people who will never spend a dime in the shop.
On the contrary, a strategy geared toward an audience specialized in motors may not gain so many followers, but the possibility of conversion would be much greater.

3. The prize

The key to success with a Facebook contest lies with offering a prize that is actually valuable. In accordance with your goals, hone in on the target audiences you really want to direct yourself to. When that’s well defined, you just need to think of a prize that really does seem attractive to your buyer persona.
The norm is to give away one of your products or services, but that’s not the only option.
You could also look for collaborations with third parties to add more value. It shouldn’t be something too expensive since you are offering it in exchange for a few clicks.
Always keep the goal of the contest in mind and choose a prize that fits with what you’ve established.

4. Ideas for quizzes

The more steps or actions that you require, the less participation you’ll get, but you do make sure that those who enter are really interested.
It may seem crazy, but there are WhatsApp and Facebook groups dedicated to participating in all of the contests they come across, no matter what the prize is.
Those types of professional participants shouldn’t interest you since it would be a total coincidence for them to fit the profile you’re looking for.
In case your creativity is a bit lacking at the moment, we’ll give you a few possible contest ideas here:

  • “Like” it: raffle off a prize amongst all the people that leave their name and “like” your page or product. It’s one of the most basic filters that will result in a lot of participation—perhaps too much, in fact.
  • Leave a comment: just like the previous one, but with a different goal. In this case, you are focusing on interaction and generating more engagement. To avoid useless comments, you can pose a question like “why do you want to win this prize?” If you don’t want to use this formula, let your creativity run wild. We have some examples below.
  • “Like” + comment: a combination of the previous two examples. Facebook’s algorithm rewards posts with this type of interaction, which then adds extra visibility.
  • Respond to a question: the question should be related to one of your products or services so that it helps it become more well known. It’s a good way of mitigating the professional participants.
  • Photography contest: ask your audience to upload original photos using your products or visiting your store if you have one. If you sell digital products, ask for screenshots.
  • Continue the sentence: start a sentence in which your brand or one of your products appears and have your audience continue the sentence. The most original answers win.
  • Using a hashtag: just like with other social networks, Facebook allows the use of hashtags to follow different topics and conversations.
  • Location tagging: very useful for physical businesses; the raffle is held among people who demonstrate that they visited the business.
  • Visiting your website and leaving their email: this requires several steps, so it ensures that they are committed participants. It consists of requiring that they visit a page. To verify that they have visited it, you add a form where they should leave their name and email address.

You can fine tune it and complicate the interaction all you want, but aside from lowering the participation, it will also increase the amount of work for you.
Don’t skip over the example that we’ll see at the end.

5. Define the rules clearly

This step is very important in order to avoid problems. The first thing you must keep in mind is that you must respect the Facebook rules. 
It is also compulsory for you to include an exemption of responsibility for Facebook in the contest. 
In the rules you should include the following items:

  • Duration: state when the contest deadline is.
  • Who can participate: state when the contest deadline is.
  • The exact action that must be done: clearly specify all the different aspects.
  • How the drawing will be done.
  • Cómo se va a realizar el sorteo: the time, place, and, if it’s important, how you are going to verify the legitimacy of the giveaway, e.g., “before a public notary”.

Prevention is better than cure…

6. Promoting the contest

Carry out the promotions on social networks, in your blog or through advertising. Make sure everybody knows about your contest and that the highest number of people possible participate, since that is your overall goal.

  • Marketing campaign: sticking a few euros into Facebook Ads to gain some visibility is a great idea—with studied segmentation, of course!
  • Third-party collaborations: dig into your contacts, favors, or even pay for other pages to share your contest. Think about influencers in your sector that could give it a boost.
  • Share it with your community: if you have a newsletter or a blog, notify the audience that already knows you. You want to capture new clients, but without excluding your current ones.
  • Other social networks: although the raffle is held on Facebook, you can use your other profiles to spread word. There will be people who follow you on Instagram or Twitter that wouldn’t find out otherwise.

Use all the available methods you have to catapult your contest and increase participation, but without spamming. Don’t go publishing group by group or tagging people that don’t want to be tagged.
If you start doing things like that, Facebook will end up penalizing your visibility.

7. Measure the results

Measure, measure, and measure again. The results analysis is what will tell you what works and what doesn’t, and if your contest was worth running or if it was a waste of time.
Since you defined the goals and metrics to follow at the beginning, now it’s time to evaluate.
You can monitor the traffic to your website resulting from the contest by using UTM parameters. That consists of adding tags to URLs in order to find out the source of traffic and then tracking them separately.

  • Normal URL: www.yourshop.com/contest
  • URL with parameters: www.yourshop.com/contest/?utm_source=FacebookContest

Create your URLs with parameters with this tool and create your personalized reports in Google Analytics.

Examples of Facebook contests

We’re going to take a look at three options, from least the most complicated in terms of the action required.


  • Goal: to gain followers and visibility.
  • Action required: “Like” a post and a page.
  • Participation difficulty: very low.
  • Prize: one of your own products.

The simplest of the contests, participants only need to like one of the contest’s posts and follow the fan page.
The logical thing is that participation will be quite high, but you run the risk of people entering who have no interest in your shop from a commercial standpoint.

2. Likes + comments

  • Goal: to gain followers, visibility, and engagement.
  • Action required: Like” a post, a page, and leave a comment.
  • Participation difficulty: medium.
  • Prize: one of your own products + a third-party product.

The comment should involve a bit of work. Just saying, “leave a comment” isn’t enough, so we should propose some sort question for participants to answer:

  • Why do you like this brand?
  • What would you do with the prize?
  • Who would you share it with?
  • Propose a tagline for the product.
  • Finish this sentence with your own words.

We don’t want it to be overly complicated. Rather, it should encourage natural comments.

3. Page visit + SEO

This is the most complicated option, but it can work really, really well.

  • Goal: website traffic + SEO positioning.
  • Action required: search for the website in Google, visit it, and leave email address.
  • Participation difficulty: high.
  • Prize: a high quality product of yours.

The first requirement is to search for the brand in Google. This way, we get the bonus of receiving branding searches. To make it easier, you can put the Google search URL in your post using the following format:


The second step is to click on the result and visit your page.
When they get to your page, you’ll have inserted the form to capture their name and email address. You could even complicate it a bit more with other questions or participation requirements.
Those who have gone through all those steps are clearly interested in your brand and your product.

3 applications for creating a Facebook contest

Though Facebook already allows for creating contests without having to use other applications, the truth is they can really make your life easier. We will present the 3 most interesting ones, and those that you can start using for free 🙂

1. Easypromoapp

Easypromoapp has a huge range of options. It allows you to hold a drawing and announce the winners according to the regulations . Another interesting option is that it allows you to export the list of participants. The first drawing is free.

2. Bloonder

Bloonder offers you many resources. It has different templates for the legal disclaimers and for the design. It also allows you to capture the participants’ email addresses and to select a winner. The first competition is free.

3. Trisocial

Trisocial has a wide variety of applications to carry out distinct quizzes. It allows you to personalize the design, create forms, and verify the drawing. You can hold a basic contest for free.

Have you already got a contest?

Don’t miss out on all the possibilities that Facebook contests offer you. Furthermore, with the applications that we have shown you it couldn’t be any easier.
Let’s raffle!

We recommend that you read the following article on social commerce for more info 😉