How to Host a Facebook Contest Without Like-Gating

While there are a lot of reasons and ways that businesses and Pages host contests on Facebook, one fact remains consistent: there is a lot you can gain by doing so, especially when you’ve got the right tools in place.

For a long time Facebook contests were used predominantly to get likes on a Page, but that’s been forced to change since Facebook put a ban on like-gating.

One thing a lot of Page owners don’t realize is that while likes are great, you can get a lot more out of a Facebook contest than just followers on your Page. You can actually get real contact information for new leads, boosts in engagement, and more.

Despite what some users have said, Facebook contests aren’t out just because like-gating is; you just have to know how to host them.

Ban On Like-Gating and What It Means for Contests

Like-gating is the practice of offering users incentives to like a Page, and this includes hosting a contest where users have to “like” the Page in order to have a chance at winning the grand prize.

Facebook banned like-gating last year, and while it is overall a very good thing, it has proven to inconvenience a lot of marketers when they’re trying to increase the likes on their Pages quickly.

When you’re hosting a contest, you can no longer ask users just to like your Page to qualify, meaning that gaining likes is no longer the main reason to host a Facebook contest. While this seems like a hinderence, it’s really not all that big of a deal—everything else you can gain from a Facebook contest is actually a lot more valuable than likes, especially since likes can still happen even when you aren’t focusing on them.

What You Can Gain Other than Likes

Likes are great, but at the end of the day, getting engagement, shares, and even real contact information of interested users can be a much bigger gain than likes would have been. And even though like-gating is out, Facebook contests can still bring you all of these things. Here’s how:

Engagement: Any contest can increase the engagement on your Page, whether engagement is the sole goal or not.

how to host a Facebook contest

Whenever you host a contest, no matter how you host it (we talk more about this in the next section), you should always promote it by posting about it on your newsfeed. This can create massive boosts in engagement while people react to it and talk about it. And engagement is always good.

Shares: People love to share good news! This is particularly true when they have to share your posts to have a chance at winning a prize. Shares are social media gold, just like engagement—the more people who see your Page, the better off you are.

Contact information: Things like likes and engagement are great for your Facebook marketing and overall marketing, but you have the information to get users’ actual contact information, wouldn’t you take it?

how to host a Facebook contest

Having the ability to get even a user’s e-mail address to add to your weekly newsletter can help push them along the buying process much faster. There are a lot of great apps that can help you collect this information, and we talk about some of the best ones a little later on.

Keep in mind that while you’re focusing on increasing engagement or valuable data like users’ contact information, you can still gain likes, too. They’re just more of a bonus while you get even more valuable information.

Methods You can Use to Host a Facebook Contest

When you’re hosting a contest on Facebook, there are several ways you can go about it.

The first is that you can post it directly on your Timeline, and host the contest off one particular post. For example, you could ask users to share that post talking about the contest, or comment on said post. Social media collaboration software like Rignite makes this easier than ever and will select winners and automate the process for you.

The second way you could run a Facebook contest is by using an app designed purely for the purpose. There are some really great apps that set up an entire tab on your Page, and this is how you can get contact information that is otherwise elusive on social media. E-mail addresses are always a given for a safe request; you can also require phone numbers or addresses, though users may decide that this is asking too much and you may get less participation.

No matter how you choose to run your contest, you should promote it heavily. You can do this on your Page just with regular posts, you can run Facebook Ads to promote it more heavily, and you can also promote it off-site (such as on Twitter or your website).

Best Apps to Host a Facebook Contest

Hosting a contest that gets personal information needs you’ll need a landing page to get this information in a secure way that doesn’t risk a user’s security. That’s where apps come in, and not all Facebook contest apps are made equal. These are the ones we recommend:

Wishpond: Wishpond is a big name here, being used by other big names like NPR and Avon. They offer a wide range of templates for different types of contests, including photo contests, vote contests, essay contests, and more. Their features include real time reporting and being mobile to host a Facebook contest

Heyo: Heyo’s contest pages are beautiful, which is always a big plus when you’re looking to appeal to people. They offer group deals (get enough people to sign up and everyone gets a deal), which is something not a lot of other contest apps offer. Heyo is particularly perfect for Page admins and business owners that aren’t too involved with social media and don’t want to be; it’s an easy-to-use platform.

host a Facebook contest

Shortstack: Like wishpond, shortstack offers a ton of different types of contests, with their focus on “action-gating” (offering incentives for actions) instead of like-gating, and they’re known to be successful doing so. Managing contests on shortstack is really easy thanks to their features, which include setting restrictions to reduce voting fraud, and having the option to automatically select a winner.

host a Facebook contest

Final Thoughts

Whether you use apps to host a Facebook Contest or you make do it quickly through a few posts, you have the opportunity to gain a lot of great information and engagement in a fun, exciting way that makes users excited to see what you’ll be posting next. Contests can be a lot of work, but if you put in the effort, they’re definitely worth it.

No matter what, you always want to make sure the prize is relevant and exciting to your audience—a prize worth their information and time.


What do you think about Facebook Contests? How have you gotten the most out of them?

To see more about other ways to promote your Page, you can see our blog post here.