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Create a contest on Facebook in 10 easy steps

No longer do you have to use the services of a third-party app in order to run a contest or promo on your Facebook business page. That’s ancient history, according to Facebook’s freshly updated terms and conditions of use.

Mikal E. Belicove

September 3, 2013

4 Min Read
Create a contest on Facebook in 10 easy steps

In a move that changes the way businesses and brands engage with consumers, Facebook, the world’s largest online social networking platform, announced a change in its terms governing Pages that now enables businesses to create and administer their own contests and promotions.

No longer do you have to use the services of a third-party app in order to run a contest or promo on your Facebook business page. That’s ancient history, according to Facebook’s freshly updated terms and conditions of use.

From now on, Facebook says, contests and promotions can be administered in Page Timelines by you—the Page admin—and in apps. For example, let’s say you manage a natural products-related brand page on Facebook. As of now, you can:

  • Offer up a giveaway via a contest that's outcome is determined by the number of legitimate comments a post receives.

  • Collect entries for a contest or promotion by having those who Like your Page send a message to your business using Facebook’s messaging product.

  • Determine the outcome of a contest by counting up the number of Likes a post receives.

Here’s an example of a contest your natural products business can now run on its Facebook Page that was prohibited in the past. I like to call this the “Show Us Your X” contest (with the X being whatever you’d like to collect in the form of, say, a photo):

  1. Determine what your X is going to be. For the purpose of this article, X will be a photograph of a Thanksgiving table setting featuring at least one item purchased from your natural products company or store.

  2. Set up a contest-specific email address related to your businesses or brand’s online presence (i.e., contests@[yourdomainname].com).

  3. Determine your contest’s rules and conditions (i.e., must be 18 years or older, resident of the U.S., registered with your website, not a store employee, images of an obscene or inappropriately graphic nature will not be accepted, yada, yada, yada).

  4. Assign one employee—someone who is Facebook savvy and works in your building 40 hours a week, to administer the contest.

  5. Through email marketing, Facebook Status Updates, Tweets, a video posted to your YouTube channel, etc., promote your contest. For the purpose of this contest, our key messages include: [Insert business or brand name here] wants to see what your Thanksgiving table looks like with us on it! Send us a photo of your feast for a chance to win.

  6. Manage submissions by email (don’t allow entrants to post submissions to your Facebook Page). Why email? Because this way, you can emblazon each photo you accept with your store or brand’s logo in the bottom right hand corner before uploading it yourself to the photo album on Facebook. In addition, collecting and posting entrants contest images yourself allows you to verify that the submission meets your rule requirements. It’s also helpful to those who have a difficult time using Facebook’s upload feature themselves.

  7. Two or three times per day, bulk upload entries into the contest-specific photo album on Facebook (which you’ll have previously set up).

  8. Encourage entrants to “Share” and “Like” their own photo on Facebook, and to tell their Facebook friends to do the same.

  9. The photo with the most Likes by the time the contest ends wins (other variations include: The photo with the most Shares wins; The photo with the most comments wins; etc.).

So what do you gain here? In very short order and all on your own, you’ve managed to collect dozens, if not hundreds of photos, all featuring your brand mark and distributed freely across Facebook by hundreds of people. And since you chose to accept submissions by email—where you can keep an eye on them—you can be proud of everything that’s being circulated with your brand name attached to it.

In order to maintain some sense of order, Facebook does require that accurate tags apply to all promotions. For example, while it’s OK to ask those who like your Page to submit proposed names of a new product in exchange for an opportunity to win a prize, it’s not OK—or cool—to ask or require members to tag themselves in photos in exchange for the same chance (to win a prize).


About the Author(s)

Mikal E. Belicove

Mikal E. Belicove is a magazine columnist, book author and blogger who writes about entrepreneurship, marketing, business planning and corporate communications, emerging technologies, legal issues and more. The third edition of his latest co-authored book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, was published in the fall of 2012.

Mikal writes the “Ask a Geek” column for Entrepreneur magazine and The Business End blog for Forbes Magazine. His writing has been featured in and cited by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC.com, American Express OPEN, U.S. World & News Report, TheStreet.com, The Globe and Mail, PC World and Yahoo! Finance.

In addition to his writing, Mikal works at the intersection of high-tech and integrated marketing communications, where he develops and manages handcrafted strategic plans and marketing communications campaigns while guiding businesses in their efforts to leverage new and earned media in support of their goals and objectives. In this role, he provides boards, CEOs, high-profile personalities, business and others with counsel and content that enables them to define, leverage and manage their brands in ways that increase engagement and qualified inquires, develop trust and lift sales.

Previously, Mikal launched, managed and sold a Boulder, Colo.-based Internet start-up; worked in Acquisitions for John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JW.A) and Pearson plc (NYSE: PSO); and worked in a variety of staff and executive team roles for start-ups and not-for-profit organizations, including the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

A 1986 graduate of Keystone College and a member of Keystone College’s Board of Trustees, when he’s not working, Mikal can be found dreaming about training for half-marathons while trail running and enjoying life with family and friends in Las Vegas.

For more information, please visit www.MikalBelicove.com.

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