I’ve been asked several times recently about running Facebook competitions and what you can and can’t do. You may be aware that Facebook relaxed its rules about running competitions on a business page recently, but there is still quite a lot of confusion about what is actually allowed now.

Never fear, Début Marketing is here to dispel the myths and illuminate the truth (or something like that!)

So, just to set the scene, up until August 2013 you were not allowed to run a competition on your Facebook business page at all. You were not supposed to ask people to like something to win a prize (despite what was going on in reality on people’s pages). You had to use an app to run the competition or run it on your website. As we all know, that rule was regularly being ignored.

However, the good news is that the rules have been relaxed, but only a bit, so read on to find out what has changed.

The full details are available at https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

This is what Facebook said in August:

We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps

Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post

Collect entries by having users message the Page

Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.

What does this mean to you?

You can ask people to like a post or comment on a post to enter your competition or you can ask them to message your page to enter.

You can’t ask them to like your page to enter, as that is not part of your timeline. If you want to use a competition to get more people to like your page, you will still need to use an app.

You can’t ask people to share the competition on their personal page to enter, as that is using their personal timeline. There is, however, no harm in asking them to share because they want to!

You can’t ask them to tag themselves or other people in a photo to vote or enter – tagging is restricted to pictures they are actually in.

It seems that you can announce the winner on your page (as you may have no other way of contacting them) and require that, to win the prize, entrants have to come back to your page to check who has won.

The legal stuff

There are various other rules in place about the administration of your competition.

You are responsible for running the competition lawfully – so please check out the relevant laws regarding prize draws in the country you are in, and make sure that you comply.

It’s a good idea to draw up your competition terms and conditions and put them on your website or a notes tab and link to them each time. Check with a lawyer if you aren’t sure. Include things like:

  • The judge’s decision is final
  • When the closing date is
  • How winners will be chosen and notified
  • Who can and can’t enter
  • No purchase necessary
  • What the prize is
  • How to enter

You also need to include two Facebook specific conditions:

1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.

2.  Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

The first one means that you need to say something like:

By entering and participating you agree to hold harmless, defend and indemnify Facebook from and against any and all claims, demands, liability, damages or causes of action (however named or described), losses, costs or expenses, with respect to or arising out of or related to (i) your participation in the competition, or (ii) your participation in any Prize related activities, acceptance of a Prize and/or use or misuse of a Prize (including, without limitation, any property loss, damage, personal injury or death caused to any person(s).

Or the more simple:

 By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any claims. 

The second one is a little more straightforward. Something like:

This prize draw is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with, Facebook.

Finally, moving away from the legal stuff, some suggestions for making your competition work well:

  • Use an appealing photo to attract attention, encourage entries and entice sharing.
  • Pin the post to the top of your page to make it easy to find.
  • Make the length of the competition quite short – up to a week is a good length.
  • Make the prize relevant to your business so that you attract the sort of fans you want in the long term – think quality not quantity.

After reading all this, you may decide that you want to use an app after all. The advantages are that you can require users to like your page, you can ask them to share, you can gather their email address or other information and you can get them to agree to your terms and conditions. You do, however, have to pay to use an app, and it’s not as quick and easy as just posting a competition on your page. So now the choice is yours!

Have you run any competitions on Facebook? We’d love to hear how you got on… let us know in the comments.

Running Competitions on Facebook – the new rules
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