How to Select a Winner From Facebook Fans (Page Likes) In 3 Steps

I recently ran a contest for a client designed to quickly get "new Likes" for their Facebook Page. It was a giveaway, with a very desirable prize, so we exceeded our goal in less than 48 hours. Metrics have gone through the roof and even after announcing the winner we have continued to gain new Likes. Win/Win, right?

However, chances are, you are reading this because you have recently experienced the same nightmare I experienced: Facebook no longer permits you to see a list of those who have Liked your Page (Did they ever? Memory fails me...). And it appears that there are no apps or third-party software capable of breaking past that barrier either.

NOTE: If you have less than 250 fans, you *should* be able to see the complete list by using the "page id" of your Facebook Page, then type it into the location bar like so (minus the brackets):[page_id]

So how can you choose a random person from all your fans if you can't put all their names in the drawing? Great question. Here's the MacGuyver-style duct-tape and chewing gum approach I used to find a truly random winner.

STEP ONE: Random Names

I used a random name generator to generate 20 different first names. This prevented any first-name bias on my part.

STEP TWO: Graph Search

I then used Facebook graph search to search for
“People named [Insert First Name Here] who like [Insert Your Page Name Here].”
In the example above, I searched for people named "eric" who like Facebook guru Mari Smith.
That's me at the top of the list.
I copied and pasted all the results into a document in order to generate a small, manageable list of randomly chosen fans. (Obviously, I had more info about the individuals in my list. The list below is for reference only):

1. Christopher M
2. Chris C
3. Christopher C
4. Chris P
5. Chris B
6. Nikki R
7. Nicole C
8. Alan F
9. Jim W
10. James M
11. Brandon D
12. Brandon C
13. Laura B
14. Erin C
15. Mary A
16. Mary B
17. Sarah H

STEP THREE: Pick a Winner

Amazingly, of the 20 randomly picked first names, only nine of those represented fans, which is why I only have 17 choices in my list. I then used a random number generator to pick a winner from this list.

So, our randomly selected contest winner was #15: Mary A!

As I said, it's a cobbled together approach, but it works and will have to suffice until some smart hacktivist person devises a better approach. If you already know of such an approach, please share your insights and/or links in the comments!
Share on Google Plus

About Eric Wilbanks

Brand strategist. Wordsmith. Change architect. Training specialist. DiSC Certified. Family guy (hot wife and 4 cool kids). Love my Bible, guitars, baseball, and MMA.


  1. it tells me the server found your request confusing and isn't sure how to proceed

    1. Kelly: At what point do you get this message? Is it when you are attempting the graph search on Facebook, or is it at some other point in the process?

    2. Hi Eric, I am getting the same response as Kelly. Is there a way around this?

    3. Hi Jessica! Sorry you're having problems. Can you give me any additional information about the error? Is it from Facebook or from one of the random generator sites (name or number)?

  2. when using[page_id] I get the same error as those above

    1. I'm sorry you're having trouble, Steve. What is your Page ID Number?

  3. Has this work for anyone I'm desperate. I've been searching for an answer for weeks.

  4. It’s amazing to visit again n again coming to your blogs the superb effort is here.

  5. If you somehow happened to update a product program you use in your business, you'd send at least one of your colleagues along to an instructional class to quick track their insight on the new programming's highlights, so why not do likewise with Facebook?
    Cheapest SMM Panel Paytm

  6. Subsequent to distributing a marketing video on Facebook,Facebook video downloader it doesn't mean you can forget about it. Attempt to incorporate it in your future posts at whatever point it is pertinent.