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Step by Step Comment to Enter Contest Guide

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Comment to enter contests give you the opportunity to connect with your followers on Instagram and Facebook and grow those audiences organically. In a comment to enter contest, people enter your contest by leaving a comment on your Instagram or Facebook post. You can limit comments to one per person, or allow followers to leave as many comments as they’d like. Once your contest is over, you pick a random winner from all the entries.

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Before You Start

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There are a few questions that you’ll want to consider before getting started with your contest:

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What goals do you want to achieve with your contest?
Comment to enter contests are perfect for promoting engagement on Facebook and Instagram because they are so simple to run and enter. Plus, they increase brand awareness by driving traffic to your social channels.

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What data do you expect to collect?
Comment to enter contests collect the Facebook or Instagram username and the comment that was left on your post. On Facebook, if an image was left with the comment, that can be included as well. Likewise, if someone entered by liking, then this is indicated in their entry.

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What entry requirements should you include?
On Facebook, you can ask people to like or comment on the post to enter. You are not allowed to require people to follow/like your page, tag friends, or share the post – these requests go against Facebook policies and can result in your page being deactivated. 

On Instagram, you can ask people to comment on the post to enter – post likes aren’t pulled in on Instagram like they are on Facebook. You can also ask entrants to follow you and tag friends in the comments; however, Instagram doesn’t provide a way for ShortStack to verify if someone successfully completed those actions.

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In this guide, we’ll take you through running a contest from beginning to end.

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STEP 1

Set Up and Run the Contest

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Start by composing a post for your Facebook timeline or Instagram profile.
In the post, make sure to explain the rules, how to enter (e.g. leave a comment on the post), any additional requirements (e.g. include an image with your comment), the prize being offered, and when you’ll stop accepting entries. The more details you can provide, the better.

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If you want to avoid cluttering the post, just include the basics and provide all the nitty-gritty details in a comment on the post. You can find more information regarding the best practices of contest posts

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When you’re ready for your contest to go live, simply publish the post.
From there, just sit back and watch as the entries roll in. For best results, you’ll want to do a bit of promotion to drive traffic to your post.

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STEP 2

Promote Your Contest

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There is no shortage of ways to promote your contest. Get creative and have fun with it! Here are a few examples of how you can get the word out:

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Instagram/Facebook Stories
Show off a fun photo or video in Stories to drive people to your post. Stories are super popular, and they are a quick way for people to get eyes on your content. Just be sure to mention which post to enter.

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Your Website
Leverage your website traffic to drive visitors to your contest. Try adding a link or splash graphic on your company’s homepage that takes them directly to your post.

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Other Social Media Channels
Social media marketing to the rescue! Share the link to your post on your other social media channels - if someone follows you elsewhere, there’s a good chance they’ll follow you on Facebook or Instagram (and it’s very likely they’ll want to participate).

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In addition to regular promotion, here are a couple of tips for how to keep your contest post in the spotlight:

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Facebook
Make sure to pin your contest post to the top of your page for easy discovery. Then, instead of sharing the post-specific link, you can just link to your Facebook Page and tell fans to comment on the pinned post. Any way you can make finding the contest post easier for your followers will pay off with higher participation.

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Instagram
If possible, wait until the contest is over to post again. This ensures the giveaway post is the first one showing on your account for the duration of the contest. If your marketing calendar doesn’t allow for that; either promote the direct link to the post or create an eye-catching image for the post and use that image in your marketing so that people can connect the image with the correct post. We recommend that you don’t bury the contest post past the second line of posts (if it can be helped) when viewing your Instagram feed on a mobile device.

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STEP 3

End the Contest and Import Your List

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At the designated time that you’ve determined, make an announcement that the contest has ended.
(This is an optional step, but it never hurts to be abundantly clear in your communication.)

Note: We recommend setting an end time for your contest that is during your workday. That way, you’re available to import the comments as soon as the contest is over. This prevents people from trying to sneak their entry in after the contest has ended.

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Use ShortStack’s Comment Importer to import your comments as entries into a list in your ShortStack account.
To do this:

  1. Log into your ShortStack account.
  2. Click the Social Import button in the top-right corner of the Dashboard.
  3. Select Timeline for Facebook and Instagram for Instagram.
  4. Create a name for the list, and add any tags you wish to add to the entries using the fields provided.
  5. Select the Facebook Page from the list that has the post containing the comments you’d like to import, or the Facebook Page that’s connected to the Instagram Business Account that has your chosen post.
  6. Select the specific post you’d like to import from.
  7. Click the radio button next to Commented on the Post.
  8. If you want to allow multiple entries per person, check the box next to Allow multiple entries per user.
  9. If you want to include images posted in addition to the comment, check the Import photos from comments box.
  10. Click the blue Import & Close button in the bottom right.

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Once that’s done, the Importer will close, and you’ll see a notification that the import process is in progress.
ShortStack will send an email to the address associated with your ShortStack account once the import process is finished.

Note: For more in-depth information about the importing process, you can reference our help doc: How To Import Comments From An Instagram Post or How to Import Comments and Likes from Facebook Status Updates.

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STEP 4

Pick a Winner From Your List

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Start the process of selecting your random winner.
You may begin this once you’ve received the notification that your new list is ready. To do this, access your new list in ShortStack and use the Entry Picker to automatically select a random entry from your list. Here’s how:

  1. Log into your ShortStack account.
  2. Click on Lists at the top of your Dashboard.
  3. Find your list (it should have the name you gave it when importing the entries), then click on the number of entries just to the right of the list name.
  4. This will open up the Entries Manager for your list. Click on the Choose Winner(s) button in the top-right to open the Advanced Entry Picker.
  5. Enter the number of entries you’d like to select in the field provided.
  6. Select a unique label and add that in the associated field, hitting Enter/Return after each tag.
    If you don’t supply your own, a default of “picked [current date]” will be added instead. This label will be used to easily find your winning entry, so be sure to note what you’ve selected.
  7. Click the blue Submit & Close button.

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You’ll receive a notification when the system is done selecting your winner.
To see your winner(s), simply type the label you selected for your winners into the Label field in the top-left of the Entries Manager.

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Did you include entry requirements on Instagram? 
To view each entry’s details, hover over the entry in the Entries Manager and click the View Details button that appears on the entry. If you required people on Instagram to follow you as part of the contest, you can check the username we provide against your follower list to make sure that they followed. You can also check their comment to see if they tagged a friend. To make it easier for you to check entries, we recommend randomly selecting five winners. If the first one/first couple of entries didn’t follow your rules, then you have more to review without going through the entry selection process again.

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Note: For a handy video that walks through the winner selection process, check out: How to Choose a Winner at Random.

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STEP 5

Announce Your Winner

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If you’d like, you can publish a new post letting people know that a winner has been chosen, and/or announce the winner in the original post.

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From there, reach out to your winner using Facebook Messenger or a direct message on Instagram to get more information from them for distributing your prize.

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And just like that, you’ve run your very first Comment to enter contest! Not only have you fostered some engagement with your existing audience, but you’ve more than likely pulled in a few new fans along the way.

We hope this guide was helpful to you! Our blog post, How Two Businesses Use Instagram and Facebook Comment Contests to Increase Engagement, shows how effective comment to enter contests can be.

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Additional Resources

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BONUS OPTION

Pull in comments from non-contest posts

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You don’t need to run a contest to pull in comments from your Facebook or Instagram posts. For example, you could use posts to survey your customers. Just ask your followers a question, then import their comments into ShortStack to analyze

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Create your Comment to Enter Contest today!

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