How to Use Facebook Contests for Maximum Brand Engagement

How to Use Facebook Contests for Maximum Brand Engagement

(No Longer Will Making This One Big Mistake Land You in Facebook Jail!)

Did you know that Facebook has changed the rules when it comes to running contests on your page?

My guess is that unless you’re a social media professional, you might not have known that Facebook had rules when it came to running promotions on your page.  Specifically – you weren’t supposed to use Facebook at all to run a contest! 

Surprised to learn this?  How many times have you entered a contest by liking, commenting or sharing a status?  Most likely lots, right? 

It turns out that forcing people to run their contests through a third party program such as Wildfire or WooBox to name a couple of popular options, was a rule that Facebook couldn’t enforce. And with the number of people who have been running contests on Facebook over the years, I’m not totally surprised they relaxed this rule.

Why You Shouldn’t Just Jump Right In to Facebook Contests

Just because the restrictions are much looser doesn’t mean you should jump right in to your first Facebook contest. In fact – if you do, you could end up doing more harm than good, not to mention costing your brand more money than you need to.

Incidentally, for the record – there are still great reasons to use a third party app to run your contest on Facebook.  One of the biggest is that it gives you a mechanism to capture e-mail addresses in a simple and legal way so you can continue marketing to people who have entered your contest. It greatly increases the value of your contest to you the marketer – a win-win in my book. If you’re likely to have lots of entries, it can also help you count and validate entries on a large scale a lot more easily than without such an app.

If You Do These Two Things, You Could Still Get Your Page Shut Down

Even though Facebook loosened the restrictions, they didn’t get rid of them all together. And – they’ve likely made the remaining restrictions easier to enforce.  The big ones are this – you can’t ask people to tag themselves in content they’re not actually pictured in as a way of entering. Also, you can’t run a promotion on a personal Timeline, nor can you require people to like or post on their personal Timeline as a method of entering.  And if you think about it, that makes sense, since people may have their Timeline postings limited in terms of who sees them. You wouldn’t be able to validate entries made in this manner. So – any likes or comments must be on the Facebook Business Page of the brand administering the contest or via the app the brand is using to run the contest.

All together, these changes should let Facebook meet its stated goal with this change – to make it easier for businesses and brands of all sizes to leverage the power of Facebook contests as part of their marketing strategy.

QUESTION: Will you be more likely to use Facebook contests to market your brand?  Why or why not? Leave a comment below! 


  1. By the time I get ready to run my first FB contest, I'm sure the rules will have changed multiple times. Good info for those who run them. 

  2. Edmund, I am planning to run my first FB contest in October… any other tips for a newbie?

  3. Thanks for keeping us up on the latest Facebook changes, Edmund!

  4. Edmund – appreciate the info – I feel very "unintelliganet" in this area.  Love how you are able to keep us informed in these areas that are critical to our business!  Thanks!


  5. Great post! The rules are there to be followed which in turn benefit everyone.  How have these rules benefited your business so far?

  6. I'm planning my first FB contest; appreciate the tips.

  7. I think this is also good for facebook because folks will be mroe apt to use Facebook ads to promote their contests.

    I'm not sure I'll try one just yet though. 


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