Thinking of running a facebook sweepstakes or contest for your brand in 2020? The differences between a facebook promotion and your standard promotion  can be quite stark. Before running a facebook sweepstakes or contest, you should know the advantages & disadvantages. See if a facebook promotion is right for you, and if so, follow our 5 step guide below on running a facebook sweepstakes or contest in 2020.

[P.S. Click here if you want to learn more on the differences between a Contest and a Sweepstakes] 

Advantages of a Facebook sweepstakes or contest

  1. Cost Effective

  2. Social Media Reach

  3. Run promotion directly on your timeline or with a 3rd party app

Disadvantages of a Facebook sweepstakes or contest

  1. Lower barrier for entry means more “sweepers” entering

  2. Typically get less consumer information (although some 3rd party apps eliminate this issue, more on that later).


Step 1: Choose what goal you want to achieve

Like with all marketing campaigns, you should have set goals to aim for with each sweepstakes or contest so that you know what to track and how well the campaign did. 

The main uses for a facebook sweepstakes or contests are:

  1. Increase brand awareness on social media

  2. Increase social media engagement

  3. Promote products or services

  4. Gather user content or feedback for future marketing

Some might think that a facebook sweepstakes would be a good way to increase their Facebook following. While that may have been true a decade or so ago, Facebook has since updated their rules so entries cannot include shares or tags (we will go into Facebook's promotion rules further below- stay tuned). This can seem like your promotion wont get as many impressions since people can't share or tag to enter, but Facebook’s entry rules are not as bad as they may sound. If your sole target is to increase your followers, you will see a lot of entries from people who actively search for sweeps and have no actual value to your brand, or “sweepers” as some call them. So Facebook's rules are things you should already be following.

A better approach would be to create a facebook sweepstakes or contest that will attract people who will be interested in your brand. Your following will come naturally, and your followers will be more valuable to you. Do this by creating a prize specific to your brand (such as a coupon or product/service), or by increasing the amount of effort to enter.


Step 2: Finalize sweepstakes or contest concept

So now you have an idea of what goal you want to achieve with your facebook contest or sweepstakes, next are the details. To have a successful promotion and to make sure your contest or sweepstakes align with your goals, you should figure out the following:

Promotion type

The two most common types of facebook promotions are contests and sweepstakes. Both of which have their own unique benefits. A contest requires more effort from participants, but also means that users entering will have more value to your brand since they are willing to put in the effort. Meanwhile a sweepstakes can be a good way to increase brand awareness and engagement on social media because of its shareability and low effort entry methods.

Entry Method

There are multiple different entry methods you can use in a Facebook contest or sweepstakes. You can have users enter directly on a post, page, group, or more. You can also use 3rd party apps on facebook and create a landing page on your Facebook business profile for users to enter.

There are a few rules Facebook has regarding entry methods to look out for. The biggest being you cannot require users to post something on their personal timeline or a friends timeline to enter (AKA shares or tags). See Facebook's rules  regarding promotions below:

“Promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted).”

Some examples of what’s allowed are:

  1. “Comment on this post for a chance to win an exclusive coupon”

  2. “Like our photo to be entered into our sweepstakes!”

  3. “Post a photo to our business page to enter our contest”

If you want to gather more information from users for a sweepstakes, a 3rd party app can be a good option. Most 3rd party apps can host a landing page on your facebook business profile. It would show up as a separate button on your page, similar to the about tab. A landing page can be a great tool for gathering information like emails, addresses, and more for you to use in future marketing campaigns.

Promotion length

Next, you should decide on how long your promotion will run for. For contests, you will want to give users enough time to enter depending on the entry method. For example, if you are running a photo contest, you should give facebook users around 1 week or more to enter. On the other hand, if you are running a caption contest, a week would be the longest you would want to run it for, since entries for caption contests are usually done right when users see your contest post.

One way to keep users engaged for long periods of time, is to have different contests/sweepstakes each day or multiple days. This would typically mean an entry period of 12-24 hours for each contest or sweepstakes, and a different prize for each day.


Speaking of prizes, they are the cornerstone of a promotion's success. Depending on your goals, success might look different to each promotion. If your goal is to increase your facebook engagement and brand awareness, a highly in-demand prize like an ipad might be what you are after. Beware though, since prizes like an ipad can attract a lot of those dreaded sweepers. To discourage sweepers, you can increase the amount of effort needed for entries. A photo contest will get a lot less sweepers than a facebook sweepstakes with likes as entries, for example.

One of the best prizes you can award with your sweepstakes or contest, is a product or service from your business, or an exclusive offer. This is a great way to keep your valuable followers engaged, and also promote your products or services. Only people interested in your business will want to enter, meaning each user will have more value to your brand. If you are going for an easy entry method, like facebook sweepstakes, a prize like this is your jam!

Promotion name

If you haven’t been enjoying creating your facebook contest or sweepstakes thus far, first off, why? Second, you are sure to now! Naming your promotion is where you can let your creativity show. Promotions are meant to be fun, and the fun doesn't have to stop with just consumers.

While you have a blast naming your promotion, there are a couple things you should be thinking about. Make sure that your title lets people know what you are doing. Typically this means adding the words “contest”, “sweepstakes”, or “giveaway” somewhere in the title. You can also include things like how long the promotion will be or the prize. If your promotion is in combination with a holiday or event, it can be a good idea to include that in your title!


Step 3: Rules and Legal

Now that we’ve had a little bit of fun with the promotion concept, we gotta bring it down a little and make sure the promotion you’re running is legal. The legal aspect of contests and sweepstakes is what overwhelms most people. It can seem like a lot, and if you are unsure this would be where you would definitely want to hire outside help to make sure everything is correct to protect yourself and your brand.

In general, for your promotion you will need official rules (the long wordy rules), and abbreviated rules (short rules to include in facebook posts, etc.). There are multiple aspects to a legal promotion, including Eligibility, Entry Period, How to Enter, Drawing & Odds of Winning, Prizes, Governing Law & Jurisdiction, and more. Each promotion will have different rules, so while all rules may seem similar, there is not a one size fits all solution.

Also, rules vary by country (and even from state to state in the US), so if you are running your promotion in the US & CA for example, be sure that you are running a legal promotion in both countries (and all states). 

Facebook also has a few specific rules for running a promotion on their site. See below:

“Communicating a Promotion

If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:

  1. The official rules;

  2. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and

  3. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).

Required Content

Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

  1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant; and

  2. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.”


Step 4: Promote and Post

Once you have your strategy and legal put together, you’re almost ready to start your facebook contest or sweepstakes. Advertising your promotion can be very important for program participation. Now, you don't have to spend money to advertise your promotion. But posting about your contest or sweepstakes to generate interest before it launches is always a good idea. Make sure to include what fans can win in your posts, since that is the largest driving force of program participation.

If you did set aside an advertising budget, luckily for you Facebook already has an easy and effective advertising center. What better way to promote your Facebook sweepstakes or contest than through Facebook itself.

Once you have generated enough buzz, it’s time to post!


Step 5: Analyze results

Your job doesn't end there. While your program is running, it's so important to track how well it's doing and look for areas to improve. Some things you may be able to work on during the promotion, and others you can learn from for the next contest or sweepstakes. Not enough people seeing your contest? Maybe reassess your advertising strategy. A lot of people are seeing your contest, but not a lot are entering? Maybe the prize or the entry method aren’t working. Now you will know for the next promotion to make the prize more exciting or have an easier means of entry.

The best thing about promotions, they are easy to repeat and improve. With each contest or sweepstakes you run, you will know better and better what your clients enjoy and will likely see improvement with each promotion.



A facebook sweepstakes or contest can be a cost effective and obtainable way for brands to run a promotion. Both small and big brands alike can benefit from a Facebook contest or sweepstakes. We hope this guide was helpful and remember to have fun when creating your promotion.

Want more hands on guidance on running a promotion? Contact our experts.