How to Run a Damn Good Facebook Competition

Hey there, you content makers, movers and shakers. In this blog, I’m going to teach you A) why Facebook competitions are good for you, and B) How to do them quickly, easily and brilliantly. Sound good?


Why are they good?

Easy. People like to win stuff and they will give you all kinds of engagement to do so. Keep reading!


Step one: Choose a Prize

I don’t know what you sell or do, but I am sure it’s pretty cool and people like it. So, think of something you normally sell online or offer to your customers at a low cost to yourself. I often run competitions for events, so giving away free tickets is a go-to giveaway. One important thing to remember is that if you can make it something for two people to win, this is better, because the best competitions involved tagging friends in comments. For example, if you run a fitness class, make your prize a ‘a free lesson for you and a friend’… or if you own a Flower shop you could giveaway ‘a beautiful bouquet of roses to someone you love’. Got it? Great.


Step two: Set a time frame

Now, one thing lots of people do wrong when running Facebook competitions, is that they run them for TOO LONG. I can see why they do it, they think that the longer they run it, the more people that will take part. This is of course correct, but the dangerous truth is, that when people are waiting to win something… they WONT BUY ANYTHING FROM YOU. Sounds obvious when someone else says it right? In my (very professional) experience the absolute perfect run time for a Facebook competition is 16 hours. And not a minute longer.  So, make sure to start your competition nice and early at about 6.00am and then finish it up at around 10.00pm.


Step three: Set the challenge

Right, this is where those clear and concise copy writing skills come in handy. In about 50 words you need to get across the following:

  1. The prize
  2. The time-frame
  3. The action needed
  4. Something funny to grab their attention


For example, try something like this on for size…


“Have you got a friend who you really flipping love? Tag your best friend in the comments below and at the end of the day, we’ll pick two lovely friends who’ll win a dinner for two at our award-winning restaurant! The winners will be announced around 9pm, so good luck and getting tagging!”


Step four: Make a funny picture

Okay, here’s the fun bit! Now you get to make a silly meme or something to go with our competition. When one of your Facebook fans tags their friend, it has to feel like it something they have sent them… and not something that has come from you. Think of some best friends/lovers/co-workers type stuff like, Joey and Chandler, Ant and Dec or Harry and Sally (…from ‘When Harry met Sally’…duh). If you’re a dab hand at MS Paint, get a hashtag or call to action in the image. Here’s a few ideas.

Step five: Give it a little boost (but just a little one)

Okay, now I really feel like I’m giving away all my secrets! But here it goes. The magic of competitions where people are tagging friends, is that once it get started, it grows like mad. This is because for every person who interacts with your content, they pass it on to one more, and if you’re lucky they will also pass it on to one more. AND Facebook is getting pretty good at telling other people when your friends are being tagged in things, so there is good chance your competition will start appearing in quite few people’s feeds. But you do need to get things started. The best way to do this is put a £4 or £5 boosted post budget on the competition post, just targeting existing fans (and their friends) of your page for a day. This will give your competition the leg up it needs to make a good reach in the first few hours, then after then the tagging will look after itself.


Step six: Wait

To be honest I just tend to sit back and wait. If the prize is good and the picture is entertaining enough… people just tend to keep tagging until you tell them to stop! From engagement point of view, it is good idea to pop in every hour or so and just like the comments and post a few witty replies, but that’s about it.


Step seven: Announce your winner

About an hour before you wrap up, scroll down the comments and pick a winning comment. You can either do this at random by wiggling your finger around the screen, or you can take a bit of time to look around their profiles and see who might be a good ‘influencer’. For example; you might spot that one of the profiles is a blogger you’d like to butter up or someone like that… making this a good opportunity to get their attention. Your Facebook page should allow you to message them right there and then from the comments view, so send them a message saying how happy you are that they’ve won and tell them how to claim their prize.


Step eight: Everyone is a winner (sort of)

You need to tell everyone the competition is over and that the winners have been messaged with their prizes. So, edit your post with a big update at the top sharing the good news. But what you can also do is reward engagement by putting a smaller gift in there for everyone. A discount code to use on your online store or link to claim a smaller free gift is great way to do it. When I run these competitions for events, I just place a unique 10% discount code in the post. This is good because then I can also track engagement and conversion on the code.


Step nine: Make the most of the moment

It is quite possible that you reached over 200 new people today. So, make the most of it while you can. If you can spare some time to go through their profiles, invite them to like your page, send them some exclusive content or special offers… do it. Make the most of the moment and give them the best your brand has to offer while you’re fresh in their mind.


That’s it. Your recipe to running a quick, easy, cheap and damn good Facebook competition. You can of course apply some of the same rules to Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more, where ever your audience are, just make sure you get the content types and tone of voice right for the people and platform.

Author: Toby Moore

Date: September 1, 2018