5 Sure-Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas

    By The Wishpond Blog | Small Business

    5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas image tumblr inline mpnahwcmWC1qz4rgp5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas

    Running Contests on your Facebook Page is an easy way to get new likes, email subscribers and sales leads for your business.

    But sometime it can be difficult to come up with an idea for a Facebook contest that will captivate your audience and get you new leads that are actually interested in your products. The worst thing you can do when running a Facebook contest is to think that you can just give away an iPad and expect a slew of great new leads for your business. You need to have an idea that not only captivates your audience in a way that gets them thinking about your products/services, but is also simple enough for the majority of people to participate in.

    In this article I’ll show you 5 great Facebook contest idea formulas that you can use to create highly engaging and targeted contests on your Facebook Page.

    Facebook Contest Ideas Formula #1: Tell Us How You Would Use [Product] to Win it!

    This Facebook contest idea formula is very simple: Take a product you sell and ask people how they would use it if they owned it. Push people to think about something fun, interesting or unusual they would use it for. You can then give the winner the product and have them send in a picture of them using it in the way they described: Giving you some bonus user-generated content.

    It’s my personal favorite. It forces entrants to get highly engaged with your product by thinking of interesting ways to use it. This is great for two reasons:

    1. It gets entrants thinking about reasons to use (and thereby purchase) the product – making them more likely to purchase the product if they don’t win it.

    2. It creates tons of social recommendations (testimonials) for your products.

    If you use a 3rd party app, like Wishpond’s Essay Contest App, to run this type of contest, you can utilize built-in voting on entries to determine the winner. Entrants will be propelled to share as much as possible with their friends to get the highest vote count. This will get each of their friends to read their recommendation of your product and pique their interest in checking out your products and business.

    A recent Forrester Research report found that 70% of US online adults trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family and 46% trust consumer-written online reviews, while just 10% trust ads on websites and 9% trust text messages from companies or brands. This makes each entry in this type of contest a promotion for your company that is 10X as effective as any advertisement you can run.

    Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea Formula #1

    1. In the contest description/details provide some icebreaker examples to get people

    2. In the posts you make on your Facebook Page to promote the contest include user entries (and your own favorites) of how to use the product – photos of the use cases are a bonus

    3. Choose a product that’s easy to think of interesting uses for. The product should be fairly mainstream that most people would have a use for, so everyone can easily think of something. The more niche the product, the less people will know how to use it, and therefore enter.

    Facebook Contest Ideas Formula #2: Take a Photo of Yourself Using [Product Name] OR At [Location] OR Doing [Activity]

    This contest idea formula entices your customers to take photos of themselves interacting with your products/services or while they’re at one of your brick-and-mortar locations. It’s similar to #1, in that it creates a personal recommendation/testimonial for your business, but has both a major advantage and disadvantage:

    Advantage: A photo provides convincing proof that you recommend a company and its products, as you either need to have purchased a product/service from the company or have visited one of its locations.

    Disadvantage: An entrant must have already purchased your product/service or visited one of your locations, which is a high barrier to entry.

    For this type of contest to be successful you need to already have a lot of customers and fans on your Facebook Page. Why? Only a moderate percentage of your customers will see or enter your contest. And to enter they need to take the time to take a photo of themselves doing something very specific. This again will decrease the number of willing entrants in your contest.

    To get a successful return on your investment (number of leads) from this contest, I would only recommend using this contest idea formula if you have at least 5,000 Likes on your Facebook Page. This will provide you with enough entries to make the contest engaging and entice people to share with their friends to get more votes than any other entry to win.

    If you have less that 5,000 Likes don’t fret! I would recommend using contest idea formula #1: It will get you a ton of entries and product recommendations by making it much easier for people to enter.

    You can run this type of contest using a 3rd party app like Wishpond’s Photo Contest App. Just like with contest #1, you can utilize built-in voting on entries to determine the winner. Entrants will be propelled to share as much as possible with their friends to get the highest vote count.

    Check out an example below using Wishpond’s Photo Contest App:

    5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas image 5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas


    Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea Formula #2

    1. Choose a product that a lot of people own, or a highly popular store location, to maximize entries

    2. Do your best to choose products that are not prone to having inappropriate pictures taken with them to avoid unwanted photos

    3. Provide images built into the contest design of people using the products or at your store location to give them ideas on how they can do it themselves.

    Facebook Contest Ideas Formula #3: Name our new [Product]

    I’ve found that people truly enjoy this type of contest: They get to have fun thinking creatively about the product and get the chance to actually make a decision in a company. This second one is especially important for generating good will for your company, as people will see you as caring about and listening to your customers.

    Letting your customers name your product also gives you great insight into what they think about it, what they value about it and . The name they choose will reflect their first impression of what they think it does and what they think is its strength.

    This is a great way to build buzz around a new product: People will be reading about its functionality and benefits far more intently than if you showed them an ad. And they’ll be sharing about it with all of their friends to get votes for their entry. This is even a great way for new companies to generate initial buzz for themselves when they’re just starting out.

    Check out an example of a “Name our new [Product]” contest from Cotton Carrier:

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    Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea Formula #3

    1. Similar to #2, try your best to choose products that don’t lend themselves to inappropriate names to avoid unwanted entries

    2. Provide details on the specification and uses of the product so people will have a good understanding of how it works and what to call it

    3. Make sure you actually use the name that wins the contest. To ensure the name is one you like, choose the top ten names with the most user votes and then have an internal panel of judges (or just yourself) decide on the final winner

    Facebook Contest Ideas Formula #4: Caption This to Win [Prize]!

    The rise of memes on websites like Reddit have made photo caption contests a popular way to engage fans. The basic premise is that you post a picture of something funny or outrageous and then ask people to write a caption (title) for it.

    A great way to utilize this to create buzz for your products is to include one of your products in the photo. Two great ways to create “photo caption contest” worthy photos with your products are to show an animal using it or to show a baby using it. These types of photos immediately make people chuckle and put them inside the mind of the pictured animal or baby to think about what they think the product is/does.

    For example, this photo that Walmart recently posted on its Facebook Page just puts me in the mind of the cat thinking “I do not find this amusing human!”:

    5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas image lPBVI2hE476b6GJ5pQuPKuHrgydg9R3XVQDkjpXSSYn5ti NvjoXy9VGblTnloQarZgJqgL4Eq W2kHcdF5Cgaw7L1UYixeJBcW3KgUtjvXgNJ0BNlGJ4sNG5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas

    Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea Formula #4

    1. Use a very simple image that people don’t have to think about or decipher

    2. Do not use religious or political figures or symbols – this can lead to much controversy

    3. Use animals or babies in your photos – these are statistically the most engaging photos on Facebook

    Facebook Contest Ideas Formula #5: Vote on which [Product/Service] We Should Put on Sale

    This is the best type of contest to drive new sales. To run this contest you simply choose 2 – 8 products, display them on a page and allow people to vote on each one (Wishpond’s Vote Contest App provides a complete out-of-the-box solution for this type of contest). Include a title that reads “Whichever product gets the most votes will be 50% off next week”. When the contest ends post on your Facebook Page, and send an email to every person who participated, saying which product won and how customers can redeem the discount on it.

    This will get people sharing with friends to help their choice win and even start comment discussions about which product should win, and why. This will create new recommendations/testimonials for your products as everyone clamors to prove that their chosen product is the best one to vote for.

    A twist on this type of contest is to ask people to vote on which [Product/Service] you should add to your seasonal line-up

    Mountain Dew does this successfully with its annual Dewmocracy Challenge in which people vote for which new flavor Mountain Dew should release that year. Check it out below:

    5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas image IYe3ZqbYzLj2LfqJ7YUSFf0DJPL00dUxzcNOzvczrrff44xpr9uGn0jvsIepojpgDc61anYbxjZCLGoDaBvGNBrKnclXkYDLR St3itm doixEFfG68U6sCY5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas


    Stitch Collective has built a niche for its business by completely crowdsourcing it’s product design through the use of voting competitions. It asks their customers to vote on which bag designs they should turn into real products to sell. Check out our case study of how they have used Wishpond’s Vote Contest App to do this.


    Here are a few best practices to follow when running this type of Facebook contest:

    1. Provide an equal discount for all item. If the discount is higher on some items than on others, it will skew the results to those with the highest discount. This will minimize any discussion or engagement about which product is best, as people will focus purely on the price points.

    2. Provide different categories of products to cater to your entire customer base (don’t put six different types of dishwashers up, it will not be very interesting to anyone who doesn’t want to buy a dishwasher right now)

    3. Entice people to add comments about which product is better by telling them in the contest details/description


    Facebook contests are a great way to drive new, targeted leads for your business in short bursts over a long period of time. The main thing to keep in mind when coming up with your next contest is to make sure your business is at its center point. A simple enter-to-win sweepstakes giving away an IPad will get you a ton of entries, but almost none of them will be interested in your products or business. They will only be interested in the IPad.

    Over the long-term these types of contests will create a loyal customer base that cares about your business for more than just your products or specials. After engaging on a regular basis in a fun way with their friends, they’ll see your company and a trusted, friendly source. And this is what leads to long-term customers.

    Written by Nick Steeves

    5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas image tumblr inline mpnaaiV6Cc1qz4rgp5 Sure Fire Facebook Contest Idea Formulas

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