Facebook Contest Ideas to Increase Likes: Marketing for Restaurants

“What Facebook contest ideas to increase likes shall I use?” You asked us, we answered and complied.

Since you sent us a ton of messages asking us to tell you more about how other restaurants use social media successfully, we have created a sequel to the “5 Examples of Restaurants Using Social Media Successfully” – which we called “Marketing for Restaurants: Facebook Contest Ideas to Increase Likes”.

So why Facebook? Well, that’s because Facebook is just too big of a social network to ignore. There are currently over 2.20 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q1 2018 (according to Facebook MAUs). So by using some of the best Facebook contest ideas to increase likes, you’re actually growing a successful business.

Marketing for Restaurants: Social Media As a Weapon of Mass Influence

The fact of the matter is that social media is a great opportunity that opens the gate to multiple business growth opportunities:

  • Brand awareness: Staying connected with your existing and prospective clients & Building a community of brand advocates, by growing and nourishing relationships with them
  • Increase business and generate more sales

Related: The Complete Guide to Advertising on Facebook: Strategies That Convert [in 2018]

And creating social media contests for restaurants is quite possibly the fastest way to turn your existing business into a blossoming and profitable one. Because the more engaging they turn out to be, the more loyal your customers will become. So take a look below to see the list of some of the most engaging Facebook contest ideas to increase likes. And try adapting any of them to craft your own social media restaurant promotions.

Related: Restaurant Industry Trends 2018 – Facebook Food Ordering System

Spot-on Tips for A Successful Facebook Contest

So, first things first.

1. What type of Facebook contest should I launch?

Don’t worry, we’ve already thought of that. And we’ve got you covered. Start by using one of the following options:

Sweepstakes Contests: sweepstakes contests allow your customers to engage with you fast and easy. They can help you gather the whole shebang:

  • Likes
  • Comments 
  • Shares 
  • & Testimonials

Now, let’s see what types of sweepstakes contests you could run for your own business:

“Caption This” Contest – ask your customers to write funny or unbelievable descriptions to a more expensive dish that your customers don’t usually order. This is a more indirect way of getting into their heads and persuading them to order that particular dish once they set foot into your restaurant. Similarly you could use another version of this type of contest, called “Name the Dish.”


“Like to Win”- these types of contest are perfect if you want to get some quick likes and expand the number of your Facebook followers in a relatively short amount of time. Make sure you don’t forget setting up a deadline to create that sense of urgency and push people to comment sooner rather than later (another principle of persuasion and influence). You can also ask people to comment on one of your photos. Another version of this contest would be “Submit your photo comment for a chance to win”.


“Fill in the Blanks” – here’s a funny example: “I would kiss my boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s mother/father if I could ever eat….”. What you need to remember is that the funnier or unusual the question/statement, the more likely your customers are to remember your contest and engage even more with you in the future.


“Tell us about your experience with us” – and voila, you’ll soon have your own collection of valuable testimonies. Testimonials are what Dr. Robert Cialdini (Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University) call a form of social proof that helps build a brand’s credibility. The more credible you are, the more people will trust you and order from you.


“What off-the-menu food would you like to eat next time you come in?” – if you want to expand your menu, but you don’t know exactly what to do, then this is the perfect way for you to pick your clients’ brains. As a reward (and to boost their ego) you could also name the winning food after them.


“What’s your favourite childhood food?” – you could make this all the more interesting and awake their emotions of nostalgia. Nostalgia is a powerful ally on to rely on when it comes down to persuading your clients to engage with you.


Now, what about the prizes? You could offer them anything from a romantic night out for two, a dinner for two, you could try naming one of the foods after the winning customer, etc. You can basically do anything you want.

The most important aspect? Show them what it’s in it for them – now, this might not be such a secret after all, but everyone is selfish. So you need to address their “concern” and tell your clients exactly why they should engage with you.

Business Tip#1: to make sure you engage your customers, even more, you could try announcing the winner in a live stream and keep them hooked to the very end.

Business Tip#2: tell them exactly how the winner will be chosen: by you, randomly, or through a community vote.

Here’s an example:

facebook contest ideas to increase likes: contest-rules-example

Business Tip#3: make it visual and have them keep their eyes on the prize. In fact, and here’s something funny, you could try using this rhyming caption for the picture: “Keep your eyes on the prize”.

Business Tip#4: Use a unique hashtag, since this is the best way for you to track down and analyse the level of engagement that your campaign generated.

Also, try using other more common, yet popular hashtags that will get your campaign to trend (to find out more about the best hashtags you can use to boost your Instagram presence, then check out this great article: The Ultimate Hashtags Cheat Sheet).

Here is what Star Fine Foods is doing:

Facebook contest ideas to increase likes: example of unique hashtag

To see how many people use it and their general feedback about the product, just look up the desired hashtag on any of the social networks. However, make sure you’re not using more than one or two hashtags/contest. Otherwise, you’re going to have a really hard time keeping score of all of your hashtags’ performances.

A Couple of Examples of Facebook Contest Ideas to Increase Likes

#1 The Facebook Promotion & The 1,000 Increase in Fan Base

Expanding your Facebook reach to get new clients is no easy task. But it can be, as long as you do it right. Einstein Bros Bagel nailed it. Here’s the simple way they did it: they created a Facebook promotion and gave anyone who would “Like” their page a certificate offering them a free bagel and smear.

This simple promotion brought them over 296,000 new fans in one month – increasing their fan base by 1,000%.

facebook contest ideas to increase likes: free bagel and smear coupon

As a result, they became one of the most popular businesses to have a Facebook presence.

#2 Guess the Food

Facebook Contest Ideas to Increase Likes: Guess the Dish

“First person to guess…”. This is a clear example of urgency. And this is another one of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion, alongside reciprocity, the principle that we’ve talked about in the previous post.

According to Cialdini, “things are more attractive when their availability is limited, or when we risk losing the opportunity to acquire them.”

Opportunities like this seem to value much more than they’re accounted for. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that they are worth their weight in gold. The end result of this campaign helped expand the page’s reach to over 22,000 new potential customers.

Similarly, to a garden of beautiful flowers which grows weeds if the gardener doesn’t take care of it and waters the plants, your restaurant business cannot thrive without repeat business. And the best way to drive that repeat business?

Using these Facebook contest ideas to increase likes is definitely the way to go. Since they can do much more than expand your reach. In fact, they can generate a lot of conversation among your followers. Turn your prospects into loyal customers. And ultimately boost your profits.

Related: Offer Your Clients An Awesome Restaurant Mobile App [It’s Free]

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Andreea Dobrila
Andreea Dobrila

Andreea Dobrila is a proven web copywriter & marketing strategist. She pushes online restaurants on the fast-track to quickly growing their online sales. Win more business by using her bulletproof tips & secrets.

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