Crafting Contest Ideas for Small Business

Contest Ideas for Buiness

The inspiration for this article came from a post by Jeff Bullas (his website and Facebook page are an excellent source of information for all things social media) titled The 10 Best Facebook Campaigns.  Of course the top campaigns are run by large corporations who have the resources to pay a team to build specialized apps and to launch large marketing campaigns.  However, there’s no reason a small business can’t also see great results from running a creative campaign on a smaller budget.

We’re going to look over three of the companies on Jeff’s list and break down how their promotions can be utilized by a smaller business. Will you see a million new fans on your page like some of the examples listed below? Probably not but you should see some good growth.  Hey, and who knows what the future holds.

Large Scale Campaign: Kohl’s.  They gave id="mce_marker"0 million to various schools based on the votes of fans.  The 20 schools that received the most votes got $500, 000.  Kohl’s Facebook page racked up over 1 million fans and each winning school accounted for over 100,000 votes.

Small Scale Ideas: So, you probably don’t have id="mce_marker"0 mil to dole out but you do have products and services. You could offer to donate a set number of hours of your time or a particular product to a charity or organization.  Use a photo contest app and post a logo or picture of your favorite charity or organization.  The photo with the most votes wins.


Note:  Facebook policy does not allow for running contests directly on your business page.  You need to use a third party app or run the contest through your website. is a great site for finding apps to run Facebook contests at a very reasonable cost. Running the contest on your website is an easy alternative as well.  Just post the link to the contest on your Facebook page.  You could even add a “Contest” tab to your Facebook page that takes people to the right spot on your website.


Large Scale Campaign: Southwest Airlines. They donated id="mce_marker" to Make A Wish every time someone checked into an airport serviced by Southwest.  They gained one million fans during this promotion.

Small Scale Ideas: If your budget allows, follow in Southwest footsteps.  Don’t forget to cap your donation though! Donate a id="mce_marker" for every fan that checks in at your business and/or a business that carries your product.


Large Scale Campaign: Corona. This promo was amazing.  Fans simply liked the Corona Facebook page and their photo would appear on a billboard in Times Square! This successful campaign ran for a month.

Small Scale Ideas: You may not be able to offer Time Square but what about the front page of your website.  You could also offer a spot in one of your print ads (people still run print ads, right?).  Have followers check in and the end of the week draw a winner. That person would be featured on your website homepage.  Another option would be to run the contest for a month and then pick a winner to be featured in a print ad.


Video is big right now so add a little extra something to your contest by posting a video of you drawing and announcing the winner.  It’s easy and a bit more fun than just the same old, boring text announcements.

Do your research and find inspiration everywhere. You’ll see the best results from your contest by offering a generous prize and being creative.


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