Everyone wants to be the Big Winner!  Hosting a contest on your Facebook page is a great way to:

a. Drive people to your page
b. Get them engaged and
c. Let’s be honest, make them ‘like’ you more.

There is just one little thing that most businesses don’t know about (or choose to ignore) in the world of Facebook.  That is the ‘Facebook Promotions Guidelines’.

Enter2WinEssentially, the way the majority of people run a contest on Facebook (i.e. “Post a photo on our wall and get your friends to like it”) is against the rules of Facebook.  Facebook doesn’t want to be connected to your contest or be liable in any way.

So what are the ‘CANS’ and ‘CANNOTS’?

I’ll try to keep this as succinct as possible.  If you want more details you can check out the full version here.

  1. “Promotions on Facebook must be administered” through a third party application.
  2. Facebook features and functionality cannot be used in any part of your contest/promotion to automatically register people (i.e. “If you Like our page, you are automatically entered to win…”).
  3. You can require them to like your page, check into your place, or connect to your app but you cannot require them to do anything else such as like a wall post, comment, or upload a photo to your wall.
  4. You cannot use Facebook features/functionality as a voting mechanism (i.e. “The photo with the most number of likes wins”).
  5.  You cannot notify winners through Facebook.  That means no Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profile/ pages to notify your winner(s).
  6. You cannot say or imply in any way that Facebook has endorsed or has a partnership with you and/or your contest.   There also needs to be a statement about this in your contest rules.
  7. You must also include a release of Facebook in your contest rules and tell contest participants that they are submitting info to you and not Facebook.

Wow.  That is 5 ‘cannots’ and only 1 ‘can’……

You may say, “But everyone else is doing it ‘wrong’.  Why do I have to follow the rules?”  Well, when it comes down to it, if you break the rules you run the risk of getting your page shut down without warning. (And that just makes you sound like you are in grade school again.)

Ok, let’s focus on the ‘right’ way and what you can do.

You CAN require people to like your page but you CANNOT automatically enter them into your contest….. So how do you know who is ‘in’ or not since you cannot have them post on your wall or like your post etc?…..

*Enter the third party application.*

A third party application will separate your contest from Facebook’s functionality and features and we can all get a good night’s sleep knowing we don’t have to worry about breaking any rules.  Phew.

Here is a list of a few of those apps that will run a contest for you on Facebook.  Take a peek through some of them and maybe even watch the video tour.  The functionality is pretty great and they are already built for you.

Lots of options here.  After you have spent some time looking though them, pick the one that is the best for what you want and that fits your budget.  If you have any other suggestions, please share them below.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use a third party application to run your contest, try running it on your website or blog.  You can still require people to like your Facebook Page, or check in to your Place as a part of the contest.

As easy as it was to break the rules with Facebook contests, it is better in the long run if we are at least aware of the rules.  I hope this was helpful and as always, if you have any additional questions along the way let me know.

~Amy Alcorn
Marketing Director
Aspen Grove Marketing