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It’s very tempting to run Facebook and Instagram competitions, especially at this time of year. Why not everyone else is doing one? They are a great way to get your brand noticed, but beware Facebook is onto them. One false move could result in your Facebook page being closed. Here’s what you need to know to stop this from happening…

How to run competitions on Facebook and Instagram successfully

With Christmas just around the corner many companies plan to run a social media competitions. It’s a great excuse to showcase your products and services and increase the awareness of your brand.

But beware, there are LOTS of rules for Facebook competitions and just as many rules for Instagram competitions.  Stands to reason really, as Facebook owns Instagram! And the social media giant doesn’t take kindly to anyone breaching their terms and conditions. Anyone breaking Facebook competition rules will be punished; this could limiting the reach of the competition post, your likes being frozen or even worse, the closing of your Facebook Business Page with no warning.

Why do some Facebook competitions and Instagram competitions not work?

The social media giants believe that competitions that aren’t run well are spam. They hate spam! They want their platforms to be spam free and rid of poor quality content.

Getting people (through their own personal Facebook accounts) to unwittingly be a part of a business’ marketing strategy to gain likes and followers is something they don’t take kindly to.

I quite understand how so many business owners don’t even think that there are rules for running a Facebook giveaway or Facebook business contest, as they see so many on their own newsfeed. You’d be forgiven to think that ‘like, tag & share’ competitions are allowed – what you don’t see is the closing of accounts a few weeks later! Eeek.

Facebook have copious amounts of rules and they will know if they have been broken. And please don’t think that you can cheat the system somehow, this will make things worse for you. If they discover that you have indeed tried to cheat the platform, they will know that this act was intentional, and their punishment could severely damage your brand. It’s just not worth it.

When creating competitions on facebook and Instagram you have to think carefully about the content. Always have in the back of your mind that Facebook and Instagram consider this method of marketing spam!

How NOT to run Facebook competitions

It’s really important that you know what NOT to do. And like I said before DON’T attempt to bend the rules.

  • DON’T ask people to ‘share this post to win’. This kind of content is a red flag to the social media platform! You’re asking people to share your content onto their personal profiles and this behaviour goes completely against Facebook’s rules. It’s SPAM!
  • DON’T ask people to like your business page. It’s Ok to ask them to like the post, but never your page! Don’t use the emoji thumbs up rather than the word “like” either to try and get around this, Facebook knows every trick in the book!
  • DON’T ask people to tag their friends in the comments, or tag them in the image. Asking people to “TAG” as part of the entry is not allowed.
  • DON’T put content as suggested in the above points as text in an image. Facebook scans all content, including that in images.

In a nutshell, don’t  type in the words, ‘share this post to win’, ‘tag three friends to win’, ‘tag, like and share’ and don’t try to do this in a covert way either,  Facebook has seen companies trying to bend the rules millions of times! It’s cleverer than all of us and has eyes and ears everywhere.

How to run competitions for Facebook business page

A young cartoon girl with long brown hair and a blue top. She is giving a thumbs up to show that there is a solution, and it’s possible to stop making mistakes with your social media.

It is possible to run a successful competition – they are not banned completely. But you do have to be careful and abide by Facebook’s terms and conditions. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Think about why you are running the competition – what is your end goal? (See the final section of this blog titled, ‘Here’s how I’ve structured my Facebook giveaway 2020’ to see a good example of this.)
    • If you’re running a competition for the sake of it, and because ‘everyone else seems to be doing it’, it’s not going to work. This is because you’ll end up with a bunch of followers who are just after a freebie and will never have any intention of actually being a customer of yours. This is a huge risk to take as your legitimate customers may not get to see any of your future posts (remember, Facebook only shares your posts to about 2-8% of your followers in the first instance, you want your content to go to your potential customers not random followers).
  • Ask a question or request feedback to be in with a chance to win something – maybe it’s to introduce a launch of a new product or service. Competitions are a great way to raise awareness.

The structure of the post: Facebook competitions that work

  • Within the post you are allowed to ask people to like the post – but, as I said before, don’t ask them to like your page.
  • As part of the content, ask people to comment on something or give an answer to a question.
  • You could consider asking them to post something to your business page’s timeline to enter.
  • Or, you can ask for the answer to be sent to you via messenger or any direct message
  • You must state your terms and conditions. You can put these on your website, but bear in mind a link on your post may limit your reach. Alternatively list the basics on your post such as the closing date, how the winner will be notified, whether there are any restrictions (age or location for example) and if the winner has to provide any details such as a postal address.
  • Finally, you MUST state this at the end of the post, “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.” It’s part of their T&Cs.

Here’s how I’ve structured my Facebook giveaway 2020

This is the best practice for Competitions. Here is what I have published on my Facebook feed. Please feel free to use this as a template when creating your competition. Don't forget to show me and I will help you!


  • To entice people to stop scrolling and take note of my post I start with a teaser question.
  • I then state what it is I’m giving away and how it will benefit you and your followers.
  • Details of how to enter are clear.
  • I ask that a comment is left. The comment is an answer to a question. The question can only be answered if they have watched my livestream of Monday 23 November. This is the aim of the competition – to raise awareness of my YouTube channel and to raise my profile as a social media expert.
  • My terms and conditions follow.
  • Finally, I acknowledge that Facebook are not affiliated with me or my giveaway.

Here’s a link to the post,  now you know the answer! 

I look forward to seeing your well-structured competitions and see you increase your engagement and awareness!

If you’d like to make your Facebook page  a hub of activity, where customers engage with your page and share your content far and wide then I’ll teach you how in simple bite sized video tutorials. Click here for more info. 

Bye for now,


Becs Bate, Social Media Executive

P.S. If you are interested  in growing your business on Instagram, why not check out some of my top tips in this blog ‘Hashtags in Instagram to Boost your business’

Becs Bate
Social Media Consultant, Social Media Executive


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