5 points to remember when running Facebook Contests

 In Social Media Blog Archives

Bars and restaurants will occasionally fall into the trap of using their Facebook fan page as little more than a short-form newsletter. Day after day, they list specials, promotions and little else.

The problem, of course, is you’re forgetting the s-word in social media. If you’re not engaging your customers in a two-way conversation, you’re wasting your time. More importantly, you’re wasting the time of your social media followers.

Which is where tools like Facebook contests come in. Running a promotional contest can help you in several ways. It’s a good way to get your existing fans excited, and it should help bring in some new blood as your existing fans share their participation.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you put together your Facebook contest:

  • Make sure to use a third-party app. 
Facebook’s terms of use don’t allow you to run contests directly through your page. So unless your want Mark Z. crinkling his face in irritation, make sure to run the contest using an off-Facebook company. Shortstack is a great example and one that we use here at Buzztime.
  • Stick with it. 
You’ve made a good decision by putting together a contest; don’t mess it up by ignoring the endeavor. Make sure you’re sending occasional reminders to people that the contest is taking place, the easiest way being to periodically “countdown” the day until your promotion closes.
  • Promote elsewhere. It’s a Facebook contest, so obviously you should be telling your Facebook fans all about it. But don’t limit yourself. Advertise the contest in your bar with signage. If you have an email list (which you should), pass along the contest that way.
  • Protect with fan-gate. Since growing your Facebook following is the name of the game here, people should not be able to participate in your contest unless they are connected with your business. Make sure your contest requires they become a fan before entering. That’s what we did here.
  • Following up. We all know your contest will be an enormous success, bringing you untold riches and the envy of your peers. But don’t stop there. Make sure to make the best possible use of your new-found social media audience. The days and weeks following the conclusion of your contest is the time to put your best foot forward, content-wise. Pull out all the stops and keep those new fans around.


A little planning goes a long way. The old adage “Build it and they will come” no longer holds true. You have to plan it, brainstorm it, build it and then promote, promote, promote it! Good luck!

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