ShortStack FAQs

Your questions answered

How do I run a contest?

There are a number of contest options available, including giveaways, hashtag contests, photo contests, etc. First choose the goal (e.g., engagement, lead collection, brand awareness) and prize to help you can determine the type of contest you want to run. Read our post, “8 Steps to Running a Successful Contest,” for a complete overview.

How long does it take to create a campaign

The time it takes to build a campaign depends on the type of campaign you plan to create. We offer professionally designed templates and themes to help save you time. This means that building something simple, like a giveaway, might only take a few minutes to set up. Our Getting Started Guide will help you to create your campaigns quickly. As a best practice, we suggest giving yourself plenty of time to create, test and promote your campaign before it goes live.

How do I run a contest on Facebook?

We suggest using Facebook to drive traffic to your contest instead of publishing your contest to Facebook. You can embed your contest on your website — as a landing page or as a pop-up — and then promote it on Facebook. We recommend keeping contests on your own properties because it gives you the freedom to run the contest your way, without worrying about Facebook’s restrictions. Want to learn more about Facebook contests? Read “Everything You Need to Know About Running a Facebook Contest.”

Do i have to know code in order to use ShortStack?

Nope! ShortStack allows you to create online campaigns without the use of code. Use our widgets and Style Panel to build and style your campaign. If you do happen to be code-savvy, then you can use our Code Widget and CSS Editor to further customize your campaign.

How do I select a winner for my contest or giveaway?

After you collect entries, you can choose a winner a few different ways. For entries collected into a ShortStack list, you could use our random entry selector to choose a random winner. For contests where entrants submitted a photo, video or text entry, you could determine a winner through public voting or ask a panel of judges (usually people at your company) to choose a winner. Read “5 Ways to Pick a Winner for Your Online Contest” to learn more.

I won't run a contest for a few Months, can I pause payments until I need ShortStack Again?

Yes! We offer the ability to pause payments for up to 3 months. This is a great option if you run a contest every other month, or are taking a break for one reason or another. During the pause period, you will not have access to any part of ShortStack (entries, emails, the builder, etc), but you will not be charged. Your data will be stored and ready for your return! Learn more about pausing your account. 

How do I run a contest on Instagram?

Instagram does not allow campaigns to be published directly to their platform. However, you can publish your campaign as a standalone landing page or embed it on your website, then post a link to the contest in your Instagram profile description and direct entrants to the link to enter. Alternatively, you can run an Instagram hashtag contest where people enter by including the contest hashtag (hashtag contests are available on our Brand and Enterprise plans). For more in-depth information on Instagram contests, read “How to do an Instagram Giveaway.”

Can I run weekly, monthly, or yearly contests?

We suggest choosing a few different times a year to engage with your fans and run contests, create quizzes, send emails, etc. Why? Because repetition is important for brand awareness. Check out our Perpetual Campaign Guide. Also, if you are in need of ideas for campaigns to run throughout the year, our blog post “The complete 12-month marketing plan for contests, giveaways & promotions” is overflowing with suggestions.


ShortStack’s templates are professionally designed and fully customizable to fit your campaign and match your company’s branding. You can update the text and images, change the form fields, update the appearance using our Style Panel and the CSS Editor (available on the Business Plan and higher plans), and much more.

Can I test campaigns or show them to my client/colleagues before publishing?

Yes, we have a few options. For those with access to your ShortStack account, they can view the campaign in your Campaign Builder. Or, you can publish your campaign as a standalone landing page and share the URL with the clients or colleagues that don’t have access to your account. If you’re using our Teams feature, you can share campaigns with the account admin. Read our post, “8 Test Practices for Facebook and Instagram Contests,” for suggestions on testing your campaign.

Can I just create a contest and expect to start seeing entries?

You can’t expect people to enter your contest if they don’t know about it. Promotion is key for any contest. This can be done through ads, sharing on social media, emails, in-store promotions, etc. Learn how to promote your contest with our guide here.

Can I run a campaign on my website?

Yes, ShortStack allows you to embed campaigns on your website, blog or e-commerce platform. Running your campaigns on your own marketing channels allows you to generate brand awareness and promote sales. Our blog post, “Win Subscribers, Fans and Advocates with Interactive Content Tools” is full of tips about using websites for your interactive marketing campaigns.

Can people share the contest to Instagram?

Instagram doesn’t allow people to share content outside their platform to Instagram. This means you can’t just click a button on a website to share content to Instagram. Instead, people must post the content they want to share directly within Instagram. However, you can encourage sharing within Instagram through the use of hashtags and @ mentions. Learn more about our Instagram Hashtag contests.

How do I get more followers/likes on Facebook?

Since Facebook doesn’t allow you to require people to Like your Page in order to participate in a contest, we suggest running contests, offering coupons/deals, and provide other meaningful content to draw people to your Page. Then, encourage people to follow your Page to be the first to know about upcoming contests and deals. Our blog post, “12 Free Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Facebook Page” if full of ideas.

How do I moderate UGC from social media contests and promotions?

Entry moderation can occur in a couple of ways. When entries are collected in your ShortStack list, you can set up a review process where you must “allow” an entry before it displays on your ShortStack campaign. We also offer digital rights management tools for Twitter hashtag contests. We wrote a free guide, “User-generated Content and Content Rights Management,” with best practices for using digital rights management during your next Twitter hashtag contest.

Are there any additional fees?

Nope! Pay monthly or annually, but there are no extra fees tacked on. We also do not have fees for cancelling your subscription. For more information on all of the features you can have, visit our pricing page

How do I create a video upload contest?

ShortStack is a great platform for video contests. If you want to display the entries on your campaign, you’ll need a contest-builder platform like ShortStack. Alternatively, if you are running a hashtag contest, entrants can simply include the video in their Twitter or Instagram entry post. Read, “3 Types of Video Contests for Instagram and Facebook” to learn more about running video contests on ShortStack.

Is ShortStack compliant with Facebook and Instagram rules and regulation?

ShortStack provides you with all of the tools you need for compliance with online social media contest platforms’ rules and regulations. However, you should make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations of each platform when creating your campaign. Our blog post, “Your Guide to Facebook and Instagram Contest Rules 2022 [TEMPLATE],” gives great advice on creating a compliant campaign.

How do I choose a company to build my next Facebook/IG/Social contest/promotion/giveaway?

The ShortStack platform was created as a self-service platform where customers can create their own campaigns. To help jump-start your campaign build, we offer a wide-range of professionally designed templates. However, if you need help building a campaign, we offer custom design services. If you are using an agency or freelancer to help you with your campaign build, be sure to read our blog post “5 (Not so) Obvious Things to Look for When Hiring Someone to Build Your Next Contest” for tips.

Can I reward entrants for sharing to social media?

There isn’t an option to reward entrants simply for sharing. However, we offer a refer-a-friend feature that rewards participants who share your contest with higher chances to win. When a referrer shares their referral URL and someone else clicks the URL and enters the contest, the referrer receives referral points/extra entries. Learn more about refer-a-friend contests by reading our post, “Can I Reward Participants for Sharing My Contest or Giveaway on Social Media?”

Can I restrict how many times someone can enter/vote?

Certainly! You can restrict entry via:

  • Email address,
  • Facebook ID (Business Plan and higher plans), and
  • Mobile device login (Brand Plan and higher plans).

Entries can be restricted to:

  • Once only,
  • Once every X number of minutes/hours/days, or
  • A maximum of X entries.

Voting can be restricted via the Voting Widget. Voting Widget restriction options include:

  • Anonymous Fingerprint,
  • Anonymous IP Address,
  • Facebook ID (Business Plan and higher plans), and
  • Mobile device login.

The frequency of voting can be restricted to:

  • Once only,
  • Once per entry,
  • Once every X minutes/hours/days, and
  • Once per entry every X minutes/hours/days.

We also provide captcha fields for both the entry form and the Voting Widget to help protect your contest. Check out our blog post, “7 Essential Security Features You Need to Prevent Cheating in Your Next Contest or Giveaway,” for the best practices on repelling cheaters.

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