Running a Competition on Facebook — What You Need to Know

9 November, 2021

16 mins read

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Running a competition on Facebook is a great way to increase your engagement rate and following.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the opportunity to win something?

However, running the competition can sometimes be a difficult task, especially if you’re not an expert on Facebook’s Promotion Policies or ACCC guidelines.

This is where we come in. We’re going to run you through the dos and don’ts of Facebook competitions.

What does Facebook consider a promotion?

Facebook will typically consider any type of competition on their platform a promotion. A promotion is anything with:

  • A required entry or registration form, even as simple as asking someone to comment an answer to a question.
  • An element of chance. Any post alluding to the idea of an individual having an opportunity to win something.
  • A prize or item to be given away to someone who participates.

Tips for Running a Facebook Competition

What can’t you do in a Facebook competition?

When running a Facebook competition, there are a few things you cannot do, including:

Using certain wording.

When running a Facebook competition, there are certain things you can and cannot say. To put it simply, you can not ask users to: 

  • Share your posts. 
  • Tag people in your posts. 

The best way to run competitions while keeping within these guidelines is to switch up the wording. If you want people to tag someone in your competition, simply ask your followers to ‘let you know’ in the comments below. Or better yet, steer away from this tactic and design a promotion which asks users to contribute something else rather than a tag. This could include asking users to comment their favourite product, suggest a name for a new product, tell you why their friend deserves the prize or anything else along these lines.  

Asking people to post or share the promotion to their personal timelines. 

Asking people to administer the promotion on their personal timeline means asking them to do anything which places the competition post on their personal timeline where it can be seen by other users. This includes asking them to:

  • Share the competition post to their timeline.
  • Change any form of their personal timeline to incorporate the competition, this includes changing profile photos and cover photos to include something relating to the competition.
  • Post the competition to other people’s timelines.

Holding lotteries and ticketed competition. 

Facebook guidelines do not allow individuals or businesses to run competitions on their platforms where purchasing a ticket is a requirement.

Incentivising people to like your page.

Facebook does not allow you to incentivise people to take actions on your page, including asking people to ‘like’ or ‘share’ your page to enter. It should also be noted this does apply to any social plugins you may use on your website. Meaning you cannot incentivise people to like your page, share content, or take other actions via your website.

An alternative to incentivising your audience may be to ask them to visit your page, although they will likely not do this, nor will you be able to track the success of this request.

What type of competitions can you run on Facebook?

Competitions where winners are chosen by chance. 

When running a competition on Facebook, you are allowed to run your promotion in any way which allows the winner to be chosen via complete chance. This can be achieved by using a random winner picker platform online, by the traditional pick a name out of the hat or simply picking someone at random.

As long as you are selecting your winner/s randomly and publicly announcing a winner, Facebook allows you to do so.

Competitions where winners are chosen by judges.  

You can also run competitions where the winners are chosen by judges. These types of competitions include things like ‘name our new product’ and ‘caption this’. 

With judged competitions, ensure you post the winner’s name in the comments to avoid landing yourself in any hot water.  

Ask people to complete an action outside of Facebook.

While Facebook does allow competitions where the user is required to leave the platform to enter, they typically don’t perform as well as those kept on the social site.

Actions you may wish the user to perform to enter your competition include:

  • Completing a form on your website.
  • Sharing or following you on Twitter/LinkedIn/Pinterest or other social media platforms.
  • Joining your email subscription list.

What you need to do when running a Facebook competition.

Include terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions (T&C) must be included in any Facebook competition you run, if not to meet Facebook regulation, but to protect your own brand. T&Cs help your business show they’re complying with the applicable rules which govern the running of any promotions in Australia.
Your terms and conditions need to include:

  • Who can enter.
  • How users can enter.
  • A description of the prizes.
  • Details of how the winners will be selected.
  • How the prizes will be distributed.
  • Key dates, such as when the competition will be drawn.

You may wish to include this in the comment of your post, or include a short link through to a page on your website with full T&C so as not to clog up your post.

Release all connections to Facebook.

While releasing all connections to Facebook should come under your terms and conditions, it is imperative we highlight the importance of this step. As outlined on Facebook’s Promotional Terms and Conditions, any party running a promotion must acknowledge the promotion is in no way associated with Facebook. This can be easily added in your terms and conditions.

Get permission when using user-generated content.

User-generated content is a great way to advertise your product, and it can be especially effective in promotions or competitions. However, before using user generated content, you need to ensure you’ve gained the permission of the content owners i.e the person who posted the image initially. In fact, in Facebook’s data collection policy it explicitly says you must “obtain user consent for your use of the content.” 

For example, say a pet shop runs a competition asking users to submit a photo of their dog wearing a collar from their store for a chance to win a prize. If you wish to use any of the submitted images to promote your promotion or in future competitions, you’ll need to gain permissions from the image owner.  

Facebook Competition Ideas

There really are endless opportunities when it comes to competitions you can run on Facebook. Before deciding on a competition type, have a look at your page insights and see what your followers engage with most. Do they like informational posts or do they prefer fun and lighthearted content? 

From here you can base your competition. Those whose followers are fans of informational and factual posts may be better off running a quiz or asking a factual question their audience can relate to. For those with an audience who like to engage in what would typically be considered more ‘fun’ posts, try a ‘caption this image’ competition.  

If you’re still stuck, here are a few ideas of Facebook competitions your business can easily run: 

  • Caption this image: Caption this image promotions work by encouraging users to caption images related to your business or industry. Users are encouraged to comment their caption suggestions in the comments section below the post, normally with the funniest caption selected as the winner.  
  • Show the love: These types of promotions are easily the most popular type of competitions run by businesses. They’re your standard ‘tag (or let us know, as we discussed earlier) someone who deserves to win this prize’ or ‘someone who this reminds you of’. ‘Show the love’ competitions are also great when done with banter. A popular example of this is often seen at Christmas time when users are asked to ‘tag’ the Grinch in their life. 
  • Name a new product: This one is rather self explanatory; post an image of a new product and ask your followers to pop name suggestions in the comments. The best comment or the one with the most likes will then be the winner of the competition. 
  • Comment a photo: Commenting on photo posts is a super easy way to get your customers involved and interacting with your page. Depending on your industry, the images you ask your customer to comment on will change. For example, a pet shop may ask people to comment with photos of their pets. From here, you’ll randomly select the winner. 
  • Finish this line: ‘Finish this line’ is another easy way to boost engagement. All you need to do is take a famous movie line or lyric and ask your followers to finish the line in the comments. 

The opportunities are endless when it comes to competitions you can run on your Facebook page. At the end of the day, no one knows your audience better than you. Experiment with what works for your business and Facebook Page, but keep in mind those tricky Facebook regulations.


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