Quick Guide to Running Facebook Contests

It seems like there’s some confusion out there when it comes to running contests on your Facebook page. Simply put, YES YOU CAN do it! Whether it’s to try to GROW your audience or to simply give back to your existing audience (or, if you’re like me…a little of both). Some people seem surprised when I tell them it’s allowed. The fact is, Facebook removed the requirement that promotions only be administered through apps in August of 2013.

Now, there ARE still some pretty important guidelines you need to follow. You can find the ‘official’ guidelines here under the “Promotions” section, but here’s the long and short of it:

There are two things you must do if you are going to administer a contest on your Facebook Page:

  1. Provide a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant. This simply means you must include verbiage on the contest post to the effect, “By entering this contest, you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any and all liability in connection with this contest.”
  2. Include acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. (You can simply include that very statement at the end of your post.)

Here’s what you CAN do when running a contest on the timeline of your Facebook Page:

  • Administer your contest directly on your Page or using a third-party app
  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page’s post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

Here’s what you CANNOT do when running a contest on the timeline of your Facebook Page:

  • Utilize Personal Timelines or friend connections to administer promotions. This means NO:
    • “share on your Timeline to enter” or
    • “share on your friends’ Timelines to get additional entries” or
    • “tag your friends in this post to enter”
  • Ask people to tag themselves in an image on your Page (perhaps of a new product, etc) in exchange for a chance to win

Yes, yes. I am aware that there are Pages all over Facebook that violate these guidelines, and do so blatantly. That doesn’t make it right and they’ll likely wind up in Facebook jail (or worse) if they get found out.

So now that I’ve reviewed the guidelines, I’d like to mention a few third-party apps I’ve used and liked when it comes to administering Facebook contests. If you want to use a widget-style app that will pick your winners for you, these all have a free version: 

  • Rafflecopter.com and GiveawayTools.com both allow you to export the names and email addresses of your entrants and offer 1-click Facebook installation. 
  • Gleam.io also provides 1-click Facebook installation but only provides access to contact details for winners on the free plan. If you want details for ALL entrants, you have to upgrade to a paid account (so not the best free tool if you’re trying to grow your list).

And finally, there’s AgoraPulse for timeline contests, in other words, there’s NO widget involved at all, it just tracks the likes and/or comments on a post you specify and then picks a random winner for you. No muss, no fuss. This is a great tool if you just want to run a super quick contest and you’re not worried about collecting email addresses to grow a list.

This content originally appeared as a Facebook Live broadcast and is now available here and on my YouTube channel for your replay enjoyment. Check out my Facebook page for more social media and web presence low-down. 


• If you’ve run contests on Facebook, what has been your experience overall?
• If you conducted contests to grow your mailing list, did it prove effective?
• What are some of YOUR favorite tools for running Facebook contests?


teach-to-fish-give-a-fish_blogAward-winning web professional Bonny Clayton, aka Your Web Chick, offers web design, support and maintenance for small business, with a specialty in WordPress.

A Tech Geek with a Creative Streak℠, she helps small business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere establish and maintain their online presence. She is committed to serving them according to their needs, whether that means “giving them a fish” or “teaching them to fish”.

2 pings

  1. […] NOTE: Most of the information here is now deprecated. Check out my updated post on Facebook Contests for the latest […]

  2. […] who loves cats would enjoy, I don’t need you to tell me to tag them, okay? LOL). Others are against Facebook’s terms as far as I know (one specific example they give in the article announcing the change is, […]

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