How To Run A Contest On Facebook

Dmytro Polishchuk
Dmytro Polishchuk
Content writer and blog editor at PromoRepublic
≈ 9 min read
Upd. on: 2 Aug 2021


  1. Introduction
  2. Facebook Contest Rules 2017
  3. Sweepstakes, Giveaway
  4. Picking A Winner Can Be Tricky
  5. Quiz
  6. Photo Contest
  7. Ideas For Gifts
  8. Promote and Share Your Contest
  9. How To Run A Quiz (Example)

Facebook timeline contests are becoming a very popular social media strategy. Being a social media marketer myself,  I understand that sometimes it’s really difficult to reach your social media goals by posting even quality and diversified content.

Different contests reach different goals. We will discuss each in detail. Before you start, ask yourself a question: “What social media goals do I actually have?”

So, before you start launching a Facebook contest, you should understand your social media business goals and have a full, realistic picture of your page. By this I mean your number of fans, your target audience and that page’s engagement level. Sometimes you may need to have several “beginner” timeline contests to get ready for the “advanced” video contests.

Below I offer 4 popular types of contests you can run directly from your timeline, and pick your winners with ease. First we will discuss each type of contest in detail and then I will show you how to create a Facebook Sweepstakes from scratch.

Facebook Contest Rules 2017

Let’s take a look at the new Facebook contest rules. You can learn the whole list of Dos and Don’ts here but I made it a bit easier for you.

What you can ask your fans to do:

  • Like a Post
  • Like Your Page
  • Comment on a Post
  • Post to your Facebook Page
  • Check-in to your business

What you cannot ask your fans to do:

  • Share a Post on their own personal timeline
  • Share a Post or page to their friends
  • Tag friends in posts

Sweepstakes and Giveaway

Sweepstakes and giveaway are the easiest to enter and the key to driving lots of entries is to pick the right prize to offer.

Good For:

  • if you have <1000 fans
  • If you want to get new Facebook fans or shares of your post

Contest Ideas:

  • Like to win: “Are you ready for giveaway? Like this post for your chance to win a (prize). (A number) winners will be drawn (time).
  • Fill-in the blank: “Fill in the blank! The next country I’m planning to visit is_____.” The winner will be chosen randomly at (time). We wish you good luck!
  • Share your thoughts: “Tell us what word you associate with winter. We will randomly pick the winner among those who commented on the post.
  • Tell us why you should win: “It’s giveaway time! Like this post for a chance to win (a prize) and tell us why we should pick you as the winner!”

See a great example of this idea performed by Sleepy People.

facebook contest, competition post

You can run one – three condition contest –  like PromoRepublic did for our Christmas sweepstakes.

facebook contest post

In it, we asked users to like us, like the post, and write a comment. We’ve got almost 200 post likes, 1,000+ page likes,  and 170+ comments.

TIP: While you can ask for three actions, like we did, don’t make the call to action complicated. The easier the conditions are, the higher your chances are to get more people to participate.

Picking a Winner Can be Tricky

The major downside to using your timeline for sweepstakes and giveaways instead of an app to run this type of contest is that selecting a winner can be difficult. After posting your status update, you’ll need to choose a winner once the deadline to enter the contest has passed. As we’ve already discussed, likes (page and post) and comments work best as the mission of these contests is to increase any or all of them.

So, how do you fairly pick a winner when the contest post gets thousands of likes and comments? When timeline contests start getting popular, app providers have tools to manage contests and make it easier to select a winner. I’ve done a research and chose 2 apps, both do a great job addressing the challenges of running timeline contests.


Quizzes are great to interact with your followers. It’s especially good to offer your customers a chance to interact with your page in a more meaningful way than likes and random comments. For this type of contest, you need to ask questions related to your industry, products, and services. Use this contest type to showcase your least known features, services and to educate your customers.

Good for:

  • Brand awareness
  • Engaging in conversation with users who know your product and use it
  • Educate users about lesser-known features, services or products

Contest Ideas:

  • How well do you know our industry?

Coffee shops may ask about some unique sorts of coffee, REALTORS® may consider questions about antique buildings in town, automotive business clients will like quizzes about Formula 1 winners and other racing events.

  • How well do you know our company?

This is a great way to boost your brand awareness and spread the word about it. Ask questions about the year your company was founded, the origin of your company name, the specific countries your staff is from, and the crazy style of your office Christmas party. I have a hard time reigning in my imagination! So, you shouldn’t stop yours!

Quizzes like this will help you connect better to your clients, and that’s the whole point of social media marketing.

  • What service/product/feature we will launch next

This type of quiz will let you not just promote your updates to a bigger audience, but also helps you understand what your customers expect from your business. You can learn a lot about what potential updates are most important to your users by analyzing the responses you get.

We at PromoRepublic asked participants to guess what feature we will launch next. I’ll show you how to create this quiz from scratch at point #8 How To Run A Quiz (Example).

facebook quiz post

TIP: The quiz contest can filters a keyword or a set of keywords. It’s always better to propose a defined set of possible answers to make sure the spelling of your keyword or phrase will match. So, when you create this type of content, you could say “What update will we bring you next? Will it be more integrations, updated filtering options, or more analytics? By giving them options, you can filter by keyword, and if they post a response that isn’t in the defined set of answers, you know that update is important to them. Win-win.

Photo Contest

Photo Contests are an easy way to entice users to upload a photo and have the community vote on their favorite to win (ask them to Like the comments) With the popularity of camera phones these days, taking a photo is a very easy thing for most users to do. Studies show that user-generated content will be big in 2017, so this is a great time to run a photo contest.

Good For:

  • If you have >1000 followers
  • Brands that sell their own products
  • Getting visuals of people in your store and free publicity

Contest Ideas:

  • Share a photo of our product travelling around the world

This idea of photo contest will work for clothes brands, accessories etc. Any product or even service that people will take with themselves all the time. Think of the Travelocity garden gnome.

  • Share a photo of yourself at our location

This works for stores, cafes, restaurants, and hotels.

TIP: Create your contest hashtag. This can be a very efficient way to spread the word about your business, contest, and location for free.

  • Share a photo of yourself with our product

With this photo contest you will gain more participants since they won’t have to be physically present in the store to enter. They can participate right from the comfort of their own home.

Here’s how Sarah Brightman encouraged fans to see what merchandise might have with her name or face on it.

facebook photo contest

Ideas For Gifts

Try to have your contests on special days and holidays. This will allow you to offer thematic gifts. If you don’t want to miss important dates, subscribe to PromoRepublic and get access to daily updated content calendar with layers. There you can manage your industry choices and see only relevant special days, holidays, and trends for your business.

ideas for gifts

If we are talking about quizzes as your company promotion, it’s ok to offer your participants coupons, promo codes, vouchers, subscriptions or any other things connected to your industry.

TIP: Gift cards are always a good idea. Think of Amazon gift cards and Netflix subscriptions.

Promote and Share Your Contest

Once you learnt how to run a sweepstakes, giveaway, quiz, and photo contest, it’s time to promote it. There will be organic growth from entrants sharing with friends, but you will need a few promotional boosts in the beginning to create the initial seed.

Here are 3 methods to promote your contest:

  • Email your customer

They will be the most likely to enter and share with friends to help jump-start your contest if the news is delivered right to their inbox.

  • Promote your contest on other media

Share on Twitter, Instagram and anywhere else you have a social presence. This is a great way to introduce users from other networks to your Facebook page and get them hooked more into your brand.

  • Boost your post

This is a great way to reach new customers outside of your current community. I do recommend that you boost every contest on Facebook. In the example below you will see a step by step guide how to boost your contest.

How To Run A Quiz (Example)

I hope I explained all the benefits of the contests above and you can choose one that will fit your social business goals. Now I want to show you how to run a quiz: from creating a visual to boosting it on Facebook.

So, the steps are:

  1. Choose The Contest Type – in this example we’ll use a quiz
  2. Create The Text Post Where Mentions:
  • Prize
  • Question
  • Day the winner will be announced on

Let’s create a quiz for company promotion and have PromoRepublic as an example. We will ask participants to guess what feature we will launch next.

facebook quiz example

  1. Make It Visual

I always use PromoRepublic to create any type of post. With its graphics editor it takes me less than 5 minutes to create a beautiful visual post.

create visual for facebook quiz

TIP: Facebook now allows you boost pictures with 20%+ text in them, but it also does cut the number of people who could see them. Try to use just a call to action on your contest picture, and post the text above the image in the text box.

  1. Promote On Facebook
  • Click the boost post button

how to boost facebook post

  • Edit your audience for more tailored view

how to choose audience for post boost on Facebook

Choose last two options if you have <1000 fans of your page. If less – edit “people you choose through targeting”

  • Define gender, age, location, and interests.

All these points are different for every business.

location, gender and age targeting on Facebook

2 Interests will be enough. The more you funnel the interests the smallest audience will be targeted.

  • Set your budget and campaign duration

setting a budget for facebook campaign

Below you will see the number of estimated people reached. Try to set a $10 campaign for two days.

  • Submit a promotion and select a payment method. Now your ad is in review. It’ll take up to 20 minutes to start boosting.

submitting a facebook post boost

You can pay with credit card, PayPal or online banking.

  • It’s all set!

facebook budget left

You can monitor the success of your post with PromoRepubic’s Statistics. Where you will see the organic and advertising views, clicks, visits and other indicators.

PromoRepublic post statistics

As you can see, it’s easy to run a contest on Facebook, as long as you come up with a prize that people want and the right combination of text and visuals to get your point across. Facebook users are engaged, active and they like to interact with brands. Make your brand more interesting by posting contests and watch your engagement soar!


Related articles

May 21, 2020

Facebook Supporting Businesses: New Features You Can Leverage

Launching Shops both on Facebook and Instagram Introducing Businesses Nearby section Adding #SupportSmallBusiness stickers and hashtags Facebook is showing strong...

Apr 30, 2020

3 Major Social Media Platform Updates Your Business Should Utilize During Lockdown

The Instagram tray now offers “Gift Card” or “Food Orders” Stories stickers Messenger Rooms and Lives for online events by...

Aug 28, 2019

How to Elevate a Social Media Marketing Strategy From Zero to Hero

Creating a social media marketing strategy from the ground up can be brutal. Even though social media seems transparent at...

Choose what describes your business best:
What do I choose?

Enterprise: for multi-location and direct selling brands. Manage thousands of social media pages of your local distributors, partners, or franchisees.

Agency: for marketing agencies. Manage all your clients’ social media pages on one platform.