Using Facebook Contests to Engage Customers & Grow your Business

Are you scratching your head over ways to liven up a seemingly-lifeless Facebook fanbase? Would you like to add some excitement to your content mix? Is “grow awareness of my business” on your business strategy bucket list?

If any of these questions seem to fit you, then perhaps adding a Facebook sweepstakes or 3 into your social media strategy is exactly what you have been looking for.

Using Facebook Contests to Grow Business

Benefits of Using Facebook Contests

Facebook contests, as they are commonly called, are one of many marketing options available to businesses who have a Facebook Business Page. Run on your Page’s timeline (meaning, you publish the contest post on your Facebook Page), Facebook contests typically:

  • generate a high Reach
  • have a natural virality
  • typically garner several new Page Likes
  • get people excited about your business and what you have to offer
  • increase awareness of your brand and product or service offerings

As time goes by, Facebook contest rules have and will continue to change. Previously, you could not hold a contest on your Facebook page without use of a 3rd party app. Eventually, Facebook discontinued that requirement and began allowing contests on Page timelines. There are still some restrictions to follow, though. For the current set of Promotion rules, please visit this link and visit Section 3, E:

Most notably, you…

  • CAN ask for Post Likes and Comments, but NOT Shares
  • CAN ask for Page Likes, but that cannot be the only method of entry into the contest (Meaning, you need to ask people to do something else, like leave a comment, in addition to asking them to like your Page. Simply being a Like-r of the Page does not mean you have opted into the contest.)
  • Need to include language that releases Facebook of any liability as well as any official rules and terms for the contest
  • CANNOT require any activity that requires an entrant to post on their personal profiles (e.g. Shares or Check-ins)

Note: Technically and legally, your Facebook contest is likely a “sweepstakes” since the winner is chosen at random.  

Facebook Contest Examples

There is no way to generate an all-inclusive list of contest ideas because businesses and industries vary so much, as do budgets for prizes. What is typically seen is some sort of giveaway. It could be a giveaway for a chance to win a free product or service, or a chance to win some type of experience.

For example…

  • Do you own a toy store? You could give away a Star Wars toy bundle.
  • Do you own a hardwood floor refinishing business? Give away the sanding & refinishing of wood floors in 1 room of the winner’s home.
  • Does your business sell monthly classes or passes? Give away a free month of class.

If your business only deals in high dollar value items (think: home builder), you could give away something related to your business and clientele, such as a free grill, a free patio furniture set, Home Depot or Lowes gift cards, or a free session with an interior designer. (The free session with an interior designer is also an example of a cross-promotional marketing opportunity!)

If you are in a business like real estate where agents provide a service and aren’t paid until a client buys or sells a home, you can also follow the suggestions above and give away something relevant to your business and clientele. For example, a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, a free house cleaning, a decorative wreath for a front door, and Lowes and Home Depot gift cards all work well.

If you can afford to give away multiple prizes, you can also run 1 Facebook contest and randomly select more than 1 winner.

A Few More Notes on Facebook Contests

Once you have your Facebook contest idea pinned down, there are a few more things to know. First, you need to decide what people need to do in order to enter your contest. Truthfully, something as simple as leaving a comment is all you need to do and makes it easy on those entering. You could ask them to upload a photo to your contest post, but keep in mind that the more effort it takes to enter a contest, the fewer people who will do so.

Related to this…having people leave a comment to enter your Facebook contest gives you a way of directly notifying them if they win (via comment reply or comment messaging capabilities).

Along with the Facebook promotion guidelines above, you’ll need a way to randomly select your winner(s). Using is an excellent free tool.

Include language in your official contest rules and terms that gives the winner a set time period in which to claim their prize. That way if you can’t get in touch with them within a few days of the contest ending, you can choose a new winner.

Advertising your Facebook contest will definitely give you the greatest impact, but other non-paid promotion options do exist, such as sending out an email to your customer list with a link to your Facebook contest or posting signs in-store.

Everyone likes a chance to win something of value to them. And most businesses can come up at least a few giveaway options that have a low hard cost to them.



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