How to run a great social media competition for your business

Looking for a way to stir up business activity online? Running a social media competition could be your answer!

Anyone who hangs out on Instagram or Facebook for long knows there’s always a giveaway, contest or comp popping up in their feeds.

From beauty products to holidays and random IT gadgets, a competition reels in great engagement stats, boosts brand awareness and helps build a connected audience. There’s always the added benefit of creating a bunch of raving brand advocates as well.

But how do you run a legal and fair social media competition? This is a common (and important) question we get asked as marketers. That’s why we developed a step-by-step guide to help our fellow digital businessowners run a social media give away that meets the legal criteria.

What are the legal requirements for running a social media giveaway?

When you’re planning a social media competition in NSW, you must abide by the state’s Trade Promotionsrules (the rest of the state rules are at the bottom of this page) and the rules set by the online platform hosting the competition, like Instagram or Facebook.

There are two types of trade promotions: a Game of Chance and Game of Skill. You do NOT need a permit to run either of these options if the total prize is under the value of $3,000.

The competition must also be:

– Free to enter
– Clearly state the start and end date of the competition
– Explain how you’ll announce/notify the winner
– Identify the prize and its total value


The winner of a Game of Chance is drawn at random. It’s the cheapest and quickest way for a business to execute an online competition because the businessowner doesn’t need to invest in choosing a winner, and there are no permits to purchase.

TIP: You can use Google’s built-in random number generator function to find a winner fairly.

Simply type in ‘random number generator’ into the Google search bar and it’ll pop up. Select the minimum and maximum numbers, hit ‘Generate’ and you’ll have your winner.


In a Game of Skill, participants are asked to submit something which will be judged on its merit. For example, it might be a submitting a photo or a short answer response of some sort.

What are Instagram and Facebook’s social media competition requirements?

Both Instagram and Facebook have specific legal regulations that must be followed, including:

– Your responsibility for the lawful operation of the competition’s promotion
– The official rules
– Offer terms and eligibility (like age and residency restrictions)
– Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered

It also states that Instagram and Facebook will not assist you in the administration of your promotion and you MUST include a statement of release “acknowledging that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered or associated with Facebook or Instagram” (depending on the platform being used).


Competitions on Facebook can be promoted on Pages, Groups, Events and on your Personal Timeline.

There are a few things that Facebook WON’T allow, like asking followers to:

– Share on your Timeline to enter
– Share on a friend’s Timeline to get additional entries
– Tag a friend in this post to enter

Here are some of the things you CAN do:

– Ask people to like your page
– Comment on your post
– Message your business page


On Instagram, you’re not permitted to tag anyone in the contest post who doesn’t appear in the post itself and you must not ask users to tag themselves in photos which they don’t appear.

But you CAN ask users to do the following to enter a competition:

– Like a post
– Comment on a post (including tagging a friend in a comment for additional entries)
– Like your page
– Ask to share a photo
– Ask to use a #hashtag

Social Media Competition The Marketing Side

What’s your social media competition strategy?

Now that you know the legalities behind running a social media competition, it’s time to dig into the fun part and start talking about HOW you’re going to get it all out into the world.

Once you’ve decided on how the competition is going to run, it’s time to plan, implement and execute the marketing strategy! And that’s where we come on the scene.

We can help you execute a social media competition that has an impact, provides value to you and your followers, and strengthens your brand awareness. Book a call with me to start the conversation today!

Useful resources for Australian states

Facebook Guidelines

Instagram Guidelines

ACT Trade Promotion Lottery

NSW Trade Promotions

QLD Competitions, raffles, bingo & other charitable games

NT Lotteries & community gambling

SA Trade Promotions for Business

TAS Trade Promotions

VIC Trade Promotion Lotteries

WA Trade Promotion Lottery