facebook contest rules you need to know

When done right, social media contests can be great vehicles for driving engagement and increasing brand visibility. Whether you’re gathering user-generated content or simply rewarding loyal fans, contests have become a staple in marketers’ outreach strategies.

With more than 1.35 billion active members and low barrier to entry, Facebook is a popular platform on which to host these contests. But before you start collecting Likes and handing out prizes, here are a few things you need to know about running promotions on the social network — including some very important Facebook contest rules.

Facebook Promotion Guidelines

On Facebook, promotions typically include the following:

  • Entry or registration
  • An element of chance
  • A giveaway or prize

Prior to August 2013, brands wanting to hold a contest or run a promotion on Facebook had to rely on a third-party service. In order to make it easier for businesses to create promotions, the social network removed the requirement that they may only be administered within apps. You can now host contests or promotions on Page Timelines and in apps. Promotions on personal Timelines are not permitted.

While you can still administer promotions via Page tabs and apps, creating one with a Page is faster and easier. That said, if you’d like a more personalized experience, as well as more space and flexibility for content, creating a promotion with an app is a solid strategy. Regardless of the method chosen, Page posts about promotions can be displayed in the News Feed, thus helping you reach a broader audience.

How You Can and Can’t Collect Entries

According to Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines, Pages can collect entries by:

  • Having members post on the Page or comment/Like a Page post
  • Having members message the Page

On the other hand, you can’t:

  • Encourage people to tag themselves
  • Require members to Like your Page

The actions you can take are fairly self-explanatory; however, those you can’t require a bit more detail.

The social network has prohibited businesses from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they’re not actually depicted in. For example, it’s alright to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize as part of a Facebook contest. It’s not, however, permissible to ask people to tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize.

Read This Before Launching a Facebook Contest

It’s also worth noting that Facebook’s new Like-gating policy will undoubtedly impact the way contests are run the on platform. As of Nov. 5, the social network is making sure that individuals who Like a Page really like that Page. This means that brands can no longer require members to Like their Page in order to enter a contest or receive more points in a game. Facebook detailed this change in a developer’s blog post.

These restrictions ensure that people who are taking these actions are doing so because they genuinely want to interact with your Page. It creates a better experience overall, and ultimately you’ll have much more loyal fans.

Additional Promotion Guidelines

The Promotions section of Facebook Page Terms offers up more legal guidelines for businesses.

In summary, if you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion, you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion. This includes:

  • Official rules
  • Offer terms and eligibility requirements
  • Compliance with rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered

Additionally, Facebook contests must include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant, as well as acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.

Best Practices

There’s isn’t a single strategy that will work for every business looking to run a promotion on Facebook, but there are some best practices to help guide you.

Offer Compelling Promotions

Promotions offering significant upside to people who enter are more likely to encourage engagement and generate buzz. Simply put: make sure your promotion is worthwhile, and that the action you’re asking of people is equal in value to the prize or product being offered in return.

With so much content to sift through and dozens of brands offering promotions, you want to make sure that yours stands out. Make sure that promotion announcements include compelling text and images. And don’t stray from the brand voice. Those that remain consistent tend to garner better response and engagement rates.

Keep Business Objectives in Mind

Contests of any kind on any platform require energy, time, and in many cases money. Even if your immediate goal is to acquire more Likes, that’s not what really matters here. Rather, you should be focused on how those new Likes will affect your long-term goals. What do you hope to gain from having 100 additional people aware of your brand? Are they driving more foot traffic into your store? Adding more registrations or free trials?

Before you can move forward with your contest, make sure that you’re clear on how it benefits your business objectives. Once you’ve defined what it is you’re hoping to achieve through the contest, you can begin describing what success looks like to you. To guarantee the best outcome possible, here are a few more questions to ask before launching a social media contest.