Thinking of running a Facebook contest?
Facebook contests are everywhere right now. This isn’t surprising given that brands are looking to promote their Christmas offers and discounts, and contests are a great way to do this. But every day I’m seeing at least one contest breaking Facebook’s terms and conditions – don’t let it be yours! In August of this year (2013), Facebook came out with an unexpected announcement regarding contests. Until then, it had not been permitted to run a contest based on people liking a Page or indeed using any of Facebook’s functionality as a condition of entry. It was more or less essential to use a 3rd party app to run a contest – or alternatively, host the contest off Facebook and link to it.
What you CAN do now
You can set up a contest whereby people may post on your page, or comment/like on a page update, in order to be entered. Entries may also be collected by having people message your page. Formerly, it was required that pages used a 3rd party app to administer all contests. Things are therefore easier for page owners now, although there are still many advantages to using an app. On the left is an example of a correctly set up contest – asking people to comment with a caption for the photo. Note that it is also a requirement to include a release of Facebook from any involvement with the contest. Terms and conditions must also be included, either direectly on the Facebook page or linked (as in the example) on the business website.
What you CAN’T do
You cannot ask people to share on their personal timeline as a condition of entry. Asking them to “like and share this post” is not permitted – have you seen these recently? Here’s one of the MANY I’ve seen in the last few days. In Facebook’s own words, [quote]There are technical reasons for confining the administration of the promotion to either a Page or in an app. For example, because people can choose to limit the visibility of the content they put on Facebook to only themselves, friends, or to a custom group of people, Pages won’t have the ability to access all of the entries that people post on their own Timelines unless these entries are public[/quote] Also note that you may not ask people to tag themselves in images that they aren’t actually in. Again, quoting Facebook: [quote]We updated our Page Terms to prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in[/quote]
Facebook’s Page and Promotion Guidelines
To be absolutely sure you don’t get things wrong in future, I suggest you read these two documents. Remember that Facebook may delete pages without warning if guidelines are breached. Just the other day I heard of someone who’d had a warning from Facebook about running a contest incorrectly. Facebook Promotion Guidelines (PDF) Facebook Page Guidelines (particularly section E) If you found this post helpful, please share on your social networks – let’s keep those Facebook contests legal! [hr]