Facebook Competition Rules and How Not to Break Them

Matt Beswick October 17, 2012 1
Facebook Competition Rules Header

Nowadays, Facebook boasts a variety of methods for advertisers and brands to monetize their following online. The tried and true Facebook Contest is one of the best ways to increase traffic and attract new fans. It also enables brands to capture analytics data and perform market research that’ll benefit them in the future. In terms of overall ROI, a Facebook Contest is one of the smartest social media moves one can make. Starting a contest on Facebook is easy, but mastering the technique is tougher than it looks.

Facebook Competitions 101

The first, and most fundamental of the Facebook competition rules is that they can’t be directly run from one’s own Facebook Business Page. Rather, they must be administered through a third-party app. Adhere to this simple rule and you’ll eliminate 90% of all potential problems that you may encounter down the road. If you ignore this simple rule, your Business Page may be shut down permanently. There are tons of third-party apps available, so finding one that suits your Contest shouldn’t be difficult.

Facebook Competition Rules - For Business

Preliminary Considerations

Before kicking off a Facebook Contest, you’ll need to quickly peruse, understand and abide by Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines. It’s pretty standard stuff. Once you’ve digested that, you’ll need to carefully design a Contest focused on your desired target demographic. There are plenty of different types of Contests to pick from – the easiest route to take is the user-submitted content promotion. Once you’ve chosen a particular promotion type, the last piece of the puzzle is selecting the right contest app to run your promotion.

Easier Contests Through Software

Since you can’t run a Contest directly from your Business Page, an app is a necessity. There’s not exactly a dearth of options to choose from, but some of the more popular programs include OfferPop, WildFire and Shortstack. OfferPop is best for those who want a dead simple experience and incremental pricing. WildFire features somewhat similar pricing, though it all depends on how many followers you have and plan on attracting. Shortstack allows users to craft custom promotions with the maximum amount of control. There are plenty of other fantastic apps available, but these three examples are arguably the best.

Facebook Competitions - Wildfire Banner

Tips & Tricks for Success

Before you get started, make sure to plan out your promotional strategy for your Contest. Advertise through banners on your website, via Twitter and Facebook announcements and through your own blogging efforts. Your Contest will only appear as a Tab on your Page, so you’ll need to do some legwork to get the word out. Make sure you’re honest with your fans about how the Contest works, what the prize will be and what you’re looking for in responses. Lastly, make sure to keep the contest fairly uncomplicated and make the prize appealing and relevant.

What Not  to Do

It’s quite easy to foul up and break the fundamental rules of Facebook promotion, so be aware of the major blunders that many commit. First off, don’t tell users to Like or Follow your Page in order to enter. Doing so is against the Facebook Competition rules. Have followers enter the Contest through the app you’re using to run the promotion. In addition, don’t contact Competition winners through Facebook Walls or through any avenue that’s directly related to the main site. When in doubt, use OfferPop, WildFire or a similar app to do all the heavy lifting for you.

Moving Forward

Like any social media promotion, the Facebook Contest is rife with opportunities for astounding success and catastrophic failure. To make a Facebook Contest work, you’ll need a solid game plan and a keen eye for details. If your promotion isn’t a smash hit at first, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and rejigger your formula. As long as you do your homework beforehand, offer a compelling prize and respect your audience, your Facebook Contest has a good chance of success at the end of the day.

One Comment »

  1. imacg March 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Matt,

    you say, “don’t tell users to Like or Follow your Page in order to enter. Doing so is against the Facebook Competition rules.”

    However, the FB Page policy states that;

    “You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.” Note “other than”, so liking a page is ok…but you can’t like a wall post, and you can’t run your promotion on your wall or timeline, it has to be in an app.

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