Running a competition on your Facebook page is a great way to create buzz and spark engagement, but it’s also important to stay on the right side of Facebook’s terms and conditions.

I know, I know, that sounds totally boring but trust me on this one…

Whilst some people are genuinely not aware of the rules, there does seem to be a general feeling of “everyone’s doing it, so it must be ok.” The fact is, if you ignore Facebook’s page terms then you run the risk of having your page shut down entirely.

It’s really not worth the risk!

You’ve worked hard to build your page and there are effective ways to run competitions that, not only comply with Facebook’s T&Cs but can potentially offer far greater benefits to your business.

I would urge you to read through the Facebook Page Terms which can be found >>here<< and check the terms before you launch any new promotion as they are updated from time to time.

Here I am sharing my do’s and don’ts to help you stay on the right side of the rules and get the best possible results from your Facebook competition.  This guide is up to date as of June 2018 but Facebook’s promotion guidelines and Page terms are updated from time to time so always check Facebook’s policy before hitting publish on your competition.

This is also to say nothing of regulatory controls and legalities relating to competitions and promotions, which vary from country to country.

What not to do when running a Facebook competition

You are permitted to run a competition on Pages, Groups, Events or within apps on Facebook.

You cannot, however, use Personal Timelines and/or friend connections to administer promotions.  That means that you cannot run a competition on your personal Facebook account. You also cannot ask people to enter by doing any of the following:

  • Share a post on their timeline
  • Share on a friend’s timeline
  • Tag a friend in the comments of your post

Having people share your post and tag their friends is a great way to extend the reach of your competition but, if it’s a great competition, you will often find that this happens organically anyway. What you can’t do is ask them to take these actions in order to be entered into the competition.

You can, however, encourage people to spread the word (providing it is not a condition of entry) by asking them to tell you who they’d share the prize with, for example, but this is different to explicitly asking them to tag a friend.

Another common way that people accept competition entries is to ask people to like a page and/or a post.  Although this is allowed by Facebook, there are a few things you need to bear in mind;

  • If you’re asking people to like a post to enter the competition, then it’s a good idea to use an app to select the winner at random (I recommend WooBox).
  • If you ask people to like your Page to enter, it is going to be very difficult (if not impossible) to tell who has liked the Page in order to enter the competition and who has liked your page for some other reason.

I would also challenge you to think about what value these extra ‘likes’ really add to your business. Are they from people who have a genuine interest in following your Page and engaging with future posts, or are they simply in it to win it?

Having one post alone that has lots of likes is going to do little to improve the reach and engagement of your other posts, and having lots of people like your Page who are only interested in entering competitions is likely to make it more difficult for you to reach those who are genuinely interested in the rest of your business offering.

Facebook Competition Essentials

Facebook has a number of requirements which you must ensure are part of your competition.  This includes:

  • Official terms & conditions – you could pop these into the comments on your competition post.
  • Terms & conditions must include age and residency restrictions, along with any other wording legally required.
  • In your T&C’s you must include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant; and
  • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.

Top tips for running a Facebook competition

The thing you need to do is give careful consideration to what you’re going to offer up as a prize.


For example, an iPad is a prize I see being offered time and time again. Of course, it attracts tons of entries – who doesn’t want a free iPad? But, for most businesses, an iPad isn’t relevant to the product or service they sell, which means it is likely to attract the wrong people. Generic prizes like this tend to attract “compers” who either have little to no interest in what you actually have to offer or if they do, they are only interested in getting something for nothing.

Competition is not just about attracting lots of entries; it’s an opportunity to showcase your product or service.  Choose a prize that’s relevant to your business so that you can create a buzz around your own offering, rather than someone else’s product.

This will also help to attract the right people.  You may even find that some of those who didn’t win decide to buy from you anyway because they’re now excited about what you have to offer.

Finally, I want to go back to my question: what value do extra likes actually add to your business?

The real challenge is not how you get people to like your Facebook Page, but what you do with them once they’re there.

Instead of asking people to like your page or a particular post, one alternative is to ask them to input their email address in a landing page form (with informed consent to contact them in future) to enter the competition.

Here are two ways you could do this, although there are lots of options:

  1. Use a Facebook page app – you can run all sorts of different contests and competitions using something like WooBox, which will add a new tab to your Facebook Page.
  2. Create a landing page on your website with an email capture form and drive people there to enter your competition.

An added benefit of running a Facebook competition in this way is that you now have the power to follow up each competition entry.

For example, it may be that you email everyone who didn’t win and offer them a discount on the product that was being given away.  If you have piqued their interest with the competition then they’re much more likely to take you up on the offer!

Facebook competitions are fantastic for creating a buzz and getting your crowd to engage.  Follow the simple steps in this blog post and you’ll stand the best chance of success!

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