Running competitions on Facebook can be a great way to get more ‘likes’ for your page. Done correctly they can be a great addition to your social media marketing strategy. Unfortunately, done incorrectly they can be a disaster that results in your page being shut down by Facebook with all of your fans lost and all that hard work for nothing.

If you don’t think it can happen to you then think again. I recently came across two cases from New Zealand where companies lost their pages with about 9,500 and 20,000 fans each.

So how do you avoid this?

The simple answer is to stay within Facebook’s competition guidelines. This is easier said then done especially when you see so many people breaking the rules. For them it’s a bit of a wait and see if Facebook catches up with them.

The rules are set out at http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

In regards to competitions the rules can be summarised as follows:

  • If you use Facebook for a promotion or completion you are responsible for the lawful operation of the promotion including the official rules, terms and eligibility requirements as well as compliance with government/legal regulations governing the promotion and prizes offered;
  • Promotions must be administered within Apps on Facebook either on a Canvas Page or a Page App;
  • Promotions must include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant, Acknowledgement that the promotion/competition is not sponsored, endorsed, associated or administered by Facebook and disclosure that the entrant is providing information to you and not to facebook;
  • A condition of entry cannot be the user taking any action that uses a feature of Facebook such as liking, sharing or checking in;
  • In much the same vain the actions above cannot be used as a means to automatically register someone for a promotion or competition, nor can they be used as a voting mechanism in your promotions or competitions; and
  • You must not notify winners through Facebook messages, chat or posts on their timeline or pages.

By now I suspect you can already think of dozens of examples of competitions that fall foul of these rules.

So what does this mean for your competitions?

You cannot run any competitions along the lines of:

  • Share to win (be it a post, photo, video etc)
  • Upload to win (as above);
  • Every Xth new fan wins;
  • Answer this question/complete this phrase to win;
  • Photo/Video/Post with the most votes wins

So how do you get around this?

Victory_podiumThere are a number of Facebook competition apps that claim to comply with Facebook guidelines (you should always confirm this as both the apps and rules can change).

Some are free and some are paid. So which one is the best? That really depends on the type of promotion you want to run but I suggest trying out a free one and if all seems to be going well then perhaps try one of the paid apps.

An example of a free app can be found here – http://www.sq-apps.de/details_gewinnspiel_en.php

For the more adventurous Social Apps HQ offer a range of apps for different type of competitions. If this all seems to hard then why not contact us for a quote to run your promotions for you.

Happy Facebooking.

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