Sunday 3 April 2011

How Can I Tell If I've Won a Competition on Facebook?

How can I tell if I have won a competition on Facebook? This question crops up over and over again and is extremely  hard to answer as it varies from competition to competition.

The rules for running competitions on Facebook are quite complicated  - you can see them here but most of  the people running competitions don't know that these rules exist! A competition has to be run through an application that collects your email address, and winners must be notified by email.

But how often does that happen? Probably with about 1 in 100 Facebook competitions. Many small businesses run  competitions on their pages, and even if they knew about these rules, they would not be able to afford to pay for an application or have the technical skills to install one. So, since we compers want lots of lovely competitions to enter, we carry on liking statuses, tagging photos, posting links on our walls and commenting on statuses, even though all these things are theoretically banned.

But without a winning email,  it can be very difficult to know when we have won. Sometimes a page owner will send you a message but it doesn't always seem to be possible for them to do it. The less secure your profile, the more likely they are to be able to. The least secure setting, and the one that means they are most likely to contact you by message, is to go into your account (top right hand side) and select "Privacy Settings" then choose "Everyone". Only do this if you keep NO detailed personal information, such as your address or phone number, in your profile.

Even if you do this, Facebook sometimes won't let a page, rather than an individual, message you, so somebody from a page where you have won a prize may send you a friend request so that they can message you personally. For this reason it is a  good idea to NOT automatically turn down friend requests from complete strangers, as they may be from a business trying to let you know that you have won a prize. If you accept the request and they turn out not to be, it is easy enough to click "unfriend" at a later date.

However much of the time, winners names are just posted in an update on the page and the winners are expected to get in touch. If you miss the update, you could miss out on the prize. I think most page owners think that all their followers visit every page they follow on a regular basis, but with some compers following hundreds or even thousands of pages there just aren't enough hours in the day for that! So you need to have some tricks for helping yourself to spot mentions of your name.

The first thing to do is to make sure you can see every update of every page on your own home page. Facebook's default setting is to only show the  ones you interact with most often. To make sure Facebook shows you ALL updates, go to your home page and scroll right down to the bottom. This might take longer than you think, as  Facebook keeps moving the bottom! But eventually it will stop  and  there will be a bar at the bottom of the page, saying "Older posts" on  the left and "Edit options" on the right. Click on Edit Options and a box will appear - make sure that in the box next to "Allow posts from" you have selected "All of your friends and pages".

That way, if you make a note of the time when you finish a session on Facebook, in  theory you can scroll right back to that time the next time you log on and read every single message that has been posted since, to see if your name crops up. And you can search the page by hitting the Ctrl and F keys at the same time and typing your name into the search box, to see if anybody has mentioned you.

 Another  way you can search Facebook is to type your own name into the search box at the top of the page. A list of all the people with the same name as you will appear, but at the bottom of this is "See more results  for....". Click on this and under the list of people, you will see "Posts by friends", and on the left, "Posts by everyone", both of which are worth checking. Unfortunately most posts on pages won't show up, but if any of your friends has shared a winners list and your name is on it, you will see it.

Friends.... now they are probably the most important way of finding out about wins on Facebook! Different people are online at different times of day, and visit different pages in a different order. So one of the best ways of finding out if you have won a prize on Facebook is to cultivate as large a circle of comping friends as possible and agree with each other that if any of you spots one of the others listed as  a winner, you will post a link to the announcement on the winner's wall.

And if you haven't yet got any comping friends on Facebook to share the task with, do feel free to send ME a friend request!


  1. Great post Jane! I also have a large network of comping friends and often they will flag up wins to me. If I enter comps with a really good prize, just a few entries, or if I think I have a good chance of winning, I do something rather old-fashioned and jot down the FB page name in my notebook. Then I do a daily check of the pages on my list and cross them off when they've announced the winners! It's amazing how often promoters announce the winners on their wall and ask you to email them, so it would be awful to miss their post!

  2. Hi Jane, great Blog (now I know what a blog is lol). I have learned a lot in my 12 days of sitting up with this blinking broken leg. I am beginning to see names I recognise too, so if I see a name I recognise, I will send them a congratulations message, that may help :-) Sorry if I've asked some stupid questions in the past, it take a while for the penny to drop lol. Oh, and I've posted this as Anonymous - as I don't understand the other options either, the penny hasn't dropped for that yet! Denise Slater, Fransham Lass

  3. Thanks, this is very useful! I have taken to making a note of fb comps I enter and the closing date and then going back to check! I also have a very unsecured account so they should be able to contact me lol!

  4. Thanks for the hints. I missed a win at the beginning of march on facebook and only found out when I googled my name. I contacted them and they said it wasn't too late to claim the prize thankfully so am waiting to find out what I won when it's delivered

  5. Thank you just discovered a win through following your instructions:)

  6. Well done Wendy, I'm glad it helped you to find your win.

  7. Putting Winner , Congratulations & you name into the search bar here, often brings up a surprise

  8. thank you for this jane, i found it after trying to find out what to do as i won a facebook competition last year and the prize didnt materialise. They are still running competitions but won't respond to me!


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