It’s easy to rush into launching a Facebook competition on your page but for the best results you should spend some time planning your contest. One key question you need to ask is what sort of contest you want to run.
In this post we will look at 20 Facebook Competition ideas that should help get your creative juices flowing.How to run Facebook contests without the Like and ShareClick To Tweet
Before you start:
Set a goal – I know you are probably tired of hearing this from marketers but the best starting point for any campaign is to set a goal. What is the intention of your competition? What results do you expect and how will you measure them?
How much your followers will do for you – What size is your Facebook audience and how much do they interact with you already? If you find it hard to get them to engage with your content you should start small. Make entering your contest as easy as possible.
If you have a more interactive audience you can be more creative and run a contest that requires user generated content. A photo or short story contest can work well here.
Choose your prize – You don’t always have to give away a huge prize. If you are asking a lot of your audience and if they are providing valuable information in return you may want to splash out on something impressive. In most cases you can give away a voucher or small prize that will appeal to your audience and still achieve good interaction.
Should you run an app based or Timeline contest?
These are contests run via posts on a Facebook business page. According to the Facebook promotional rules you can ask for a comment, a like or ask users to upload photos or videos as part of a contest. You cannot ask for a share or for someone to tag ta picture unless they are in it.
Timeline contests are quick and easy to set up, attract lots of entries and will increase your page interaction meaning that people will see more content from you in the future.
These are contests run via a third party app. They will appear as a separate tab on your Facebook page that you can link to. These applications require users to complete a form as part of the entry process. They are great for capturing leads, email addresses, phone numbers as well as additional information that can help qualify them as customers.
There are lots of apps you can use to set up contests including:
Shortstack (affiliate link)
Sweepstakes is generally an American term. Here in Ireland we tend to refer to this style of contest as a ‘draw’. People will enter some basic information to enter and a winner is picked at random.
You can include a simple question as part of a sweepstakes if you want to add a more competitive element.
When should you use them? – Barrier to entry is reasonably low so if you have a small following or a following that doesn’t tend to interact with your content very often this is the ideal type of competition to get things moving.
1. James Whelan Butchers
This is a simple but effective giveaway. Entrants just need to enter contact info to have a chance of winning a voucher. Vouchers are good prizes as you are attracting a new customer or tempting back loyal or existing customers.
Not every customer will shop with you again but once they have bought from you once they are more likely to return. In this case James Whelan Butchers is capture email addresses. He will be able to update all entrants with new products and offers encouraging repeat custom and brand awareness.
2. Huff Post Tech
This is the simplest competiton you can run via an app. Just fill in your details to enter. They run these promotions monthly and the prizes are always spot on for their tech audience. It’s a fantastic way to build an email list.
I love this idea from ShortStack. I guess they have to be clever as they make the software that helps you run apps. The prize is $500 to spend at Amazon. Instead of giving away vouchers part of the entry process requires you to link to the prize you want to win on the Amazon website.
Ask people to Like a post or comment on a post for entry. If you are asking for a comment make it simple to participate so that it doesn’t discourage entries.
It’s also a good idea to ask something that will either:
- Be memorable to those who enter. This means they are more likely to remember your business
- Be valuable to you. Ask a question that will tell you something about your customer and you can use this information to target customers later.
4. Loughrey’s Pharmacy
Fun and relevant. This competition from Loughrey’s pharmacy is giving away a hamper that any mother would love as a gift. Asking what our Mammy’s used to say to us will make us smile both when entering and when we read the entries. A perfect way to build positive sentiment around a business.
5. Westminster Abbey
This is one of my favourite Timeline contests. To be in with the chance of winning a family pass to the Abbey you have to answer one daily question correctly.
I like this because people have to think before they enter. Participants will either know the answer already or have to Google to find out. The advantage of this is two fold.
- Westminster Abbey knows that those who enter are really interested in what they do.
- People who enter are more likely to recall the brand and information about it that they can pass on. I can imagine people passing on those facts in conversations over Christmas dinner or in the pub.
When should you use them? – The barrier to entry for photo contests is higher. People need to think about taking a photo and enter it. This means you will get less entries.
The benefit is that you can share the entries you get both on social media and elsewhere (make sure you let people know that you intend to do this in your T&C’s to avoid any issues).
If you have a medium to large interactive community on your page this could work well for you.
Contests run via an app allow people to upload their photos and you can capture contact info here. This gives you the opportunity to stay in touch with those who enter after the contest is finished.
Running a ‘voting’ contest via an app allows the public to have their say. You can either allow them to determine the winner, the finalists or just give some weight to the judges decision.
6. Sports Direct
In this example from Sports Direct entrants were asked to post a selfie wearing an England shirt. To win you had to get the most votes on your photograph. It’s bang on brand and by asking the public to vote it’s spreading brand awareness way beyond the people who enter.
The Facebook competition guideline changes last year mean that you are now allowed to ask your audience to upload their photos to your page to enter. If you want to allow voting you can ask people to click ‘Like’ under the photo that they want to win.
7. Blenheim Palace
Your contests don’t have to be exclusive to Facebook, you can promote contests and allow people to enter on multiple platforms. By using a hashtag you can find entries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
What’s nice about this is that you are widening your audience to those who may not want to share on Facebook but enjoy other networks.
Take a look at this contest form Blenheim Palace asking people to share their Blenheim Palace moments using the tag #BPMagicMoments on either Facebook or Instagram.
When should you use them? – This style of contest would fall somewhere in between Sweepstakes and photo contest. The barrier to entry is reasonably low but people do need to be creative.
This style of competition could be a really good way to increase interaction on your page if run via the Timeline.
You can run this contest like a sweepstakes via an app. Make sure you share some of the entries you get in order to encourage others to participate.
8. Chicago Bears
Fans can enter a caption to accompany the photo displayed at the top of this page. Sports fans will love this and there are some interesting entries. The public can get involved voting for their favourites too but this is ‘just for fun’ the winner will be picked by the sponsor.
9. Dublin Zoo
It’s not always necessary to give away a prize for this sort of contest. Some people like to take part for fun.
Look at this example from Dublin Zoo
Instead of a prize consider rewarding people by choosing your favourite captions and adding them to the image.
Do you want to get to know more about your followers? Maybe you want to get more responses for a survey you are running. It’s easy to set up a survey on Survey Monkey or Google Drive and offer a prize as an incentive to enter.
This isn’t technically a Facebook contest as you are running it off site but you can make it exclusive to Facebook users to get a better insight into what makes them tick.
When should you use them? – It is sometimes quite challenging to get people to leave Facebook. Links also get seen by a smaller portion of your audience than other types of update. If you really want to know more about your Facebook community this is a good approach but be prepared to promote the hell out of it.
10. Hazelbrook Farm
In this example there’s an eye-catching image that tells you what you need to do accompanied by a link. HB is a big brand so smaller businesses may find it harder to collect entries this way. Here’s a couple of things you could do to improve it:
- Share the competition as a link rather than a photograph. Facebook have recently changed their algorithm and should be showing more links posted as links to those people who like to click them. By sharing a link the traditional way, rather than attaching a photo you will ensure that wherever someone clicks on the post they will arrive on your survey page.
- Ensure that your image covers no more than 20% of the space with text. To reach more people you may want to advertise your contest. Using more than 20% text means that your ad will not be approved.
Asking questions as part of a Timeline contest can also be good customer research. You could find out more about your page likers and tailer content for them in the future based on this or you can use it as an opportunity to find out what they want from your business.
11. Blind Pig Speakeasy
This is a perfect example of quick market research. By asking for favourite cocktails they will know what to stock their bar with as well as get lots of entries. You don’t always have to offer a prize when you ask these sorts of questions, customers are often quite willing to tell you what they think.
Asking people to share story is a good way to gather testimonials and user generated content about your business. You can ask them to share their experiences with your product or service and how they have helped you.
When should you use them? – The barrier to entry is quite high but if you have an enthusiastic audience who like sharing their experiences and leave good reviews this could work really well. Remember to let people know that you will be res-haring their entries for marketing purposes in your terms and conditions.
Long text comments are not the ideal way to collect entries in a story contest. The best way to run a story contest is via an app. Typing large amounts of text into a Facebook status is hard work. Using an app gives people longer to ponder their entries.
12. Renault Ireland
This competition asked entrants to share their back to school blues for the chance to win an iPad. Although not directly related to their brand it is a good way to engage a large segment of their target market. Parents.
The advantage of running a story contest via the Timeline is that people can enter without having to leave the Facebook newsfeed. You will get more entries but it will be harder to manage and the quality of submissions may not be as high.
13. The Cliffs Of Moher
One of Ireland’s top tourist destinations the Cliffs of Moher celebrated their millionth visitor by asking people to share their Cliffs stories. This is great for re-igniting customers and getting them to re live their experiences. The prize or a pass to the attraction means that entries will be limited to those who are likely to visit.
A video contest has the highest barrier to entry. You could collect some really cool content this way though.
When should you use them? – As the barrier to entry is high you need to have an existing interactive audience. Ideally they will have participated in contests on your page before or have uploaded photos and other content without you asking in the past.
If you want to run this sort of competition give people very specific guidelines for what you want them to do. For example if you were an interior designer it could be to shoot a short video of a room in your house you’d like to do up. Like the other user generated content contest types it’s important to let entrants know how you intend to use the content they submit in your terms and conditions.
You can collect more info about the video and let people leave a description when they enter via an app. You can also request more contact information and permission to add them to an email list.
In this example from Lego they are asking you to upload your video and encourage your friends to vote for your entry. Parents are a good audience for video contests, it gives them a project to work on with their children that is fun and could result in a trip to Legoland.
Running this type of contest via the Timeline is easy, people are able to upload their videos the same way they upload their photos. It makes the process easier so you should get more entries.
15. Coca Cola
Coca Cola ran a series of video contests on their Facebook page to tie in with their sponsorship of the Winter Olympics. Each challenge was related to an event within the games.
Here they challenged Likers to film themselves sliding a coke up the bar and called it ‘Coke Curling’. You will also notice that they are linking to the contest rules as part of the post which is a requirement of the Facebook promotional guidelines.
Bringing offline online
If you hare a bricks and mortar business you can use contests to combine online with offline.
16. A&A Pharmacy
This is a clever way to promote an in store contest. Participants don’t have to do anything on Facebook. Instead they bring a photo of their mum or gran into store for a special Mother’s day window display. It’s a lovely idea but I think it could be made better if people were able to submit their photos via Facebook.
Most of us don’t print our photos anymore so uploading would be easier and they would get more entries. Participants would still be sure to visit the store once the window is revealed to find out if their photo made the cut.
Other clever ideas
Not all the competitions I looked at fit neatly into categories. The following examples are either fun or clever and do a good job of engaging their audiences.
I love the Nutella page, it’s always full of interesting and entertaining content. They have an extremely engaged audience who already seem to enjoy sharing content. If you scroll through their posts you will find fan photos in almost every comment thread.
They keep this engagement going with frequent contests. Although some of them are a bit random they always include a brand mention. I love the example below, although it’s an easy puzzle to crack it does entertain me for the 10 seconds or so it takes to find the answer.
18. Studio 93
I like this contest because it’s a bit quirky, I’m not sure it has anything to do with their brand unless they are just showing off their creativity. It’s a twist on the ‘How many sweets in the jar’ style contest. In this case you have to guess how many sweets land in the jar. There’s a video to accompany it.
This one from a radio station asks a question that many of their audience will be able to answer immediately. I love the simplicity of this.
I admire this competition for it’s quirkyness. To make it interesting they have asked people to comment and the first comment that has no Likes on it at the end of the week wins. I can see it getting quite heated as the deadline approaches.
Although this is a clever idea I’m not convinced that Pigsback are gaining anything from this contest. They will get a lot of comments but you’d have to be a pretty hardcore competition fan to get involved. These people often aren’t the right audience for your brand and are less likely to be interested in you in future.
There are lots of types of contest you can run on Facebook and each time adds different value to your business. It’s always worth putting some time into planning a contest that will entertain your target market and will make them remember you.
Have you seen any creative contests on Facebook recently? Do you get tired of seeing ‘Like & share’ competitions in your newsfeed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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Amanda, this is brilliant! The ultimate guide to running FB competitions.
Lorna Sixsmith says
Have to admit I love keeping things simple and I think the caption competitions are great fun, they don’t even have to have a prize – the photo just has to be good.
Dee Sewell says
Wow some really good ideas there! I’ll be bookmarking this post for sure as it’s very likely Green & Vibrant will be running competitions and it’s very handy to have everything in the one place. Lorna’s given me something to think about there too as captions and vegetables can go hand in hand lol!
Amanda Webb says
Great idea, particularly those odd shaped veg 😉
Amanda Webb says
Yes I love the caption contests too. They are a lot of fun and if that’s part of your business persona they work really well.
Amanda Webb says
Thanks Marie 🙂
Kevin Partner says
You mention Google Drive for surveys – the specific tool is Google Forms. It’s absolutely excellent (and free) and can be used for all sorts of surveys and quizzes. You get more design choices than SurveyMonkey (essentially, you can design it however you like) and I think the end results are better. You also get all the responses inserted in real time into a Google Sheets spreadsheet. I have no vested interest in Forms, it’s just that I think it’s a little cracker.
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Brian Mcneil says
Another tool that supports these types of campaigns is Easypromos – some things to consider are the Multilingual capabilities in the same campaign and for voting campaign the voting fraud index that arms admins against vote buyers and fake votes. http://www.easypromosapp.com/blog/en/2016/07/everything-you-need-to-organize-a-successful-voting-contest-in-facebook/