Checklist and Tips for Running a Successful Facebook Photo Contest

facebook-contestsMarketers are always looking at finding new and effective ways to reach their target audience.  With Facebook being a major social network force where potential customers are spending significant time, maximizing the effectiveness of your company Facebook page is a critical consideration.

Facebook Contests offer great engagement potential!  Here’s the massive resource compilation on Facebook Contests!


  • Drive Traffic
  • Increase “Likes” of the fan page
  • Extend audience reach to friends of current fans
  • Boost engagement and activity on a fan page
  • Generate buzz and viral sharing

The bottom line, though, is does a contest impact sales?    

The answer:  YES!

How?  Research shows that persons who become a fan are more likely to purchase from that brand.


Contests Overview:

A contest is different than a sweepstakes or a deal offer where a users enters or gets the deal and is done.  Contests typically involve voting by the public or judging by a select group in order to determine the winner. While photo contests are the most common type routinely used, there are other types of contests such as video entry, essay or caption.

Note: All contests on Facebook must use third-party apps displayed on a Facebook Page tab. This is necessary to comply with  Facebook’s promotion policy. TabSite offers you all the needed features to comply with Facebook promotion policy. (see 5 Benefits of using a 3rd Party App for Facebook Contests)

Types of Facebook Contests:

Photo Voting Contests:

There are several types of contests — users might submit photosvideos, or essays, for example. Typically with a photo contest, there can be a like gate so visitors must “Like” the page to enter (optional).  Users then submit their image and the entry with the most votes by a certain end date could win, or a two-stage contest could incorporate a second round with however many finalists you choose.  Alternately, the winner could be determined by a panel of judges, but allowing fan voting increases traffic to your page and drives more interactions.

Instagram Contests:

This is a specific multi-social network contest hosted on a Facebook page but using Instagram.  Instagram mobile users load a picture to that service and in the description tag it with a specific #hashtag that the contest has set.  This pulls in the image from Instagram to the Facebook page tab where Facebook fans can vote on the image.



Contest Tips for Best Results:

Here’s a few Contest Tips to help yours be a success:

  • Relevant Prize:   The prize value should be in line with the time commitment the entrant will invest in order to develop the entry. (Simply offering a iPad does not help you attract relevant fans if you sell fashion jewelry!)
  • Keep the contest moving!    Do not run a month-long contest. The attention span of a Facebook user is not geared toward keeping track of an entry and voting once a day for 30 days. A better span is 5-7 days, or perhaps 10 days if it’s a two-stage contest (initial and final rounds).
  • Get Voters to Return again, set voting to once per day.    This encourages entrants to get voters to come back each day, a perfect situation for your Page!  You WANT voters to come back and interact with your contest and page.  This is valuable for gaining more affinity connection to your page so your posts appear more in their news feed.
  • Consider a 2 Stage Contest.  2 Stage contests include a main open round of entry and voting, followed by a second round of narrowed down “finalists” voting.    A Case Study on a 2 Stage Photo Contest showed that engagement could be increased, particularly by the fact that the initial round of entries generated voting interest and therefore voters were motivated to come back again in the second stage to see who the finalists were and vote again.  More stages with daily voting = more interaction and engagement.

Contest Promotion Tips

Simply having a contest or promotion live is not the end. You’ve got to capture attention and drive fans and their friends to the promotion.

Getting the attention of and making it easy for all fans (desktop and mobile) to access the promotion on Facebook can totally make or break your promotion getting traction!  It can mean the difference between 5 entries and 500 entries; between 5 Likes and Shares and 5000 Likes and Shares!

So, the circle of connection between a fan and a Facebook Page can grow with use of apps like a Facebook Contest.   In short, the more a Facebook Page can engage a user such as through a contest where there are the potential for multiple “Likes”, Comments, and Shares that connect the fan and the Page, the more the affinity of the user to the Page is boosted.  Contests can be a powerful tool for Facebook marketers as part of social strategy to growth their social community.


With the launch of hashtag tracking by Facebook, this becomes a new tool to use in your contests.  Encourage use of a hashtag in sharing by doing the following:

1. Include a #hashtag you have chosen in the posts you share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + (etc.).

2. Include your hashtag in the preset “Tweet”, “Facebook Share”, and other items that are part of the contest setup.

3. Include your hashtag in your contest text and instructions on the contest tab for further reinforcement.


  1. Announce UPCOMING Promotion via social networks:  Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, and company Email marketing lists
  2. Then announce the LAUNCH
  3. Repeat Launch Announcement “Reminder our contest is live!”
  4. Daily Reminder Posts at varying times best for your audience
  5. Update Status of Promotion – “4 days remain…”  “2 front runners with over 200 votes each!”
  6. Nearing End Reminder Posts – “Only 48 hours left to vote!”
  7. Announce Winners Posts – “We have a winner!  Click here to see the results!”


 Facebook Photo Contest Case Study >>


Be sure to use the Smart URL.



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Slides from the TabSite Webinar:

What questions do you have about Facebook Contests?


TabSite offers Facebook contest apps for Facebook starting at $19/month.  Learn more about TabSite contests and promotion tool options here:

POST669 contest button call out 6 Ways Facebook Contests Can Increase Engagement


About Mike Gingerich

Mike Gingerich, President of Digital Hill & TabSite is a business blogger Marketer and Consultant. Part geek, part marketer, part strategist, total fitness and running junkie. Mike is an author and speaker, having presented at Social Media Week Lima, Social Media Camp (Canada) and more. Mike is a marketing, social media, and business startup enthusiast with 10+ years experience building apps, consulting, and training businesses with winning integrated strategies. Mike loves deploying tactics to increase awareness, sales, and maximize ROI in both B2B and B2C markets via digital media.

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