How to Get Real Value from your Facebook or Instagram “Comment to Enter” Contest

This content discusses the benefits of using Facebook Timeline contests and how they can be paired with online contests to drive traffic and gather valuable data.

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・5 min read
Best Practices
Campaign & Contest Ideas
Social Media

It’s been nearly six years since Facebook overhauled its promotion guidelines to allow comments and/or likes as contest entries. This type of “Comment or Like to Enter” contest is also known as a Timeline contest.Some third party app providers gasped a little when Facebook made its announcement, fearing this would replace the need for custom-built online contests.

Timeline contests

Facebook Timeline contests

Custom-built online contest by ShortStackInstead, they found that Timeline contests didn’t hurt their revenue at all.In fact, it could be argued that this change invigorated the third party app-building market. How could that be? Afterall, running a contest right from your Facebook Timeline seems preferable to building and publishing a contest from scratch. Creating a simple giveaway in a post is free and takes almost no time to set up.Here’s why the third party app builders didn’t go down like a sinking ship. While Timeline contests are great for boosting your marketing strategy in a few specific ways, they’re only the tip of the iceberg, and one may say they’re the “gateway” for getting real value from your online contests.

Timeline contests are the “gateway” for getting real value from your online contests

In this article, we’ll look at all of the benefits of using a Timeline contest. But more importantly, we’ll look at how you can use them to drive traffic to online contests, and how those contests can ultimately help you get more customers (not just likes and comments).

The benefits of a Timeline contest

Timeline contests are great for a few reasons. To start, they can help you attract attention to your brand. One way to do this is to offer a prize that is related to your products or services as a way of attracting the right attention. Say, for example, you’re a massage therapist. A prize such as a $500 Visa gift card may attract those who would never become a client or customer of your business, whereas offering a free, hour-long massage would attract those who enjoy massages which is ultimately your target audience.Also, a Timeline contest can help you grow your fans or following. If you’ve built your giveaway on Facebook, it’s a huge “no-no” to ask participants to like your Page as a requirement for entry, but odds are you’ll get more Page likes organically - especially if you’re consistent in offering giveaways. In an Instagram Timeline contest, not only can you ask participants to follow your profile, you can even ask them to tag friends, who will potentially enter the contest and follow you as well.Finally, Timeline contests can be engaging, especially if you incorporate some extra elements that require more than a simple like or follow. For example, “Caption this photo - the comment with the most likes wins” is a great way to get a little more involvement from your participants, thusly (albeit subtly) forging the bond between them and your brand.

caption contest

Caption contest on InstagramNow that we’ve explored a few of the benefits Timeline contests have to offer, it wouldn’t be fair not to mention any of their shortcomings. Let’s dig a little deeper into how Timeline contests are just the starting point for getting real engagement and gathering quality data, ultimately getting you more customers.

How Timeline contests and online contests go hand in hand

As I mentioned previously, and if you’ve ever run a Timeline contest before, you’ll know that the data that you collect is pretty useless in terms of future communication with your participants. Even after importing the entries into a list within a third party app, you’ll only see the name and handle of the participant. Although this info is necessary when selecting and contacting a winner, what can be done with it after that? In a word, nothin’.So, how do you take the momentum of your Timeline contest and drive that traffic to where you can collect real, conversion-worthy data from those participating in your contest?This is where those third party contest building apps come in handy. To collect useful data (like an email address), you’ll need an entry form. Third party app builders like ShortStack have tools that you can use to easily build and customize an entry form within your live contest. When you collect data like a name and email address, there’s so much you can do with it when the contest is over. For example, set up an autoresponder with a coupon or discount code to your online store, send follow-up emails with info about news and events, even send invites to participate in future contests.

camp chef email

Follow-up email created in ShortSTackThe trick to maximizing the momentum of your Timeline contest is to combine them with online contests. Make your Facebook or Instagram post the first step in a larger giveaway by offering an incentive for navigating to a landing page to fill in a form.

How to pair a Timeline contest with an online contest

Contest building apps like ShortStack make it easy to build a range of contests and giveaways that include an entry form for collecting participant data. Sign up for free and choose from dozens of templates. Once you have built and published your campaign, build a Timeline contest - offer one entry for commenting or liking that post, then offer another chance to win by submitting the entry form on your campaign.

Facebook post linking to a campaignWith ShortStack, you’ll be able to import the comments and likes into the same list as you’re form entries. This way, when you choose a winner, they will be selected from all sources of entry.

Here are a few other ideas to drive traffic from comment contests to an entry form

Pick Your Prize

Offer a smaller prize in your Timeline contest, but then use another, more valuable prize as an incentive for submission via your entry form. As a bonus, let participants choose the prize they’d like to win. In this Pick Your Prize contest, the participant can select between three (or more) prizes when entering to win. As a bonus for you, use the participant’s prize selection as data to help you further segment your email list. For example, those that chose to win the designer bag will get an email when your purses are on sale down the road.

Pick Your Prize Giveaway built with ShortStack View and Create Your Own

Subscribe to a Newsletter

Ask comment contest participants to subscribe to your mailing list to hear about other giveaways and discounts. If your fans and followers like your content on Instagram and Facebook, they’re more likely to sign up for your email list. The promise of regular contest and giveaway notifications is a great incentive for people to subscribe and stay subscribed to your list.

Newsletter Sign-up campaign built with ShortStackView and Create Your Own

Guess a Sports Score

For sports fans, sparking a “who will win” discussion on social media will surely bring out your audience’s enthusiasm for their favorite team. Ask them to comment with their team pick on a post. Then, if they’d like to guess the game’s score, they can navigate to this campaign and submit it for a chance to win.

ShortStack's Guess the Score Giveaway template View and Create Your Own These are just a few of the many combinations that can be created using Timeline and online contests. Check out the gallery of templates ShortStack has to offer and see which ones would work best for your business.Create your first contest now Get Started Today It’s free and we don’t need your credit card.

About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・5 min read

Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.

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