Facebook promotions and contests are something that have been done for years as a complement to marketing strategy. They’re simple, free, and a great way to reach your audience quickly. Not only are they easy to do, but they can also often help to increase your engagement and gain followers you didn’t have before.
With this, comes rules and regulations. It’s important to make sure you’re not breaking any of Facebook’s policies – after all, if your post is reported, all that hard work will go down the drain. Any engagement you received on the post will disappear and you will be back to square one. It’s best to follow best practices from the beginning. Here’s a rundown.
Let’s be honest. Social media can be a conundrum. You can’t do this, you can’t do that. Algorithms that are ever-changing. Most are for the protection of the company and the enhancement of the experience of your fellow social media users. While some rules are out there, the regulations regarding promotions are actually quite lenient and fair.
Here are the main things you should consider before posting a promotion:
- The number one, first and foremost important golden rule of it ALL: Make a statement that your contest is not run by Facebook. Releasing Facebook of its liabilities and any relation at all to your promotion is what makes your promotion post “legal” in Facebook’s eyes. They will not be held accountable for anything and they are not endorsing your contest. A sample statement would be: This contest is not endorsed by, sponsored by, administered by or otherwise associated with Facebook.
- Provide contest rules. You should be very clear about your rules. The best way to get these across is by creating a landing page on your website that is specifically for these official rules. Things you should include:
- Who is eligible to enter or play
- Void where prohibited: This line can save you if you may have entrants in areas where the contest doesn’t follow the state’s rules. More on this in number 3.
- Whether a purchase is necessary (usually not in these cases).
- When it expires/deadlines.
- How to enter.
- A description of the prize or prizes.
- You’ll also want to include any disclaimers that may arise. For example, if your contest requires people to do a particular action to enter, describe it fully.
- What to expect post-contest.
- When will the prize be drawn?
- How will it be drawn or how will a winner be determined?
- If it’s being judged, what are the criteria? How will the winner be contacted?
- And last but not least, if you seek any publicity rights, like being able to utilize their name or photo, make sure that’s called out in the rules.
- Be sure to research any state exceptions. Some states have regulations on promotional campaigns that may affect you. For example, in Rhode Island, if you are a retail outlet offering a prize with a value of more than $500, the promotion must be registered with the state. Do your due diligence in making sure you are legal for where you reside, as well as where your entrants will reside.
- Be sure you’re following which contests are allowed. For example, you can have a contest where entries are judged, you randomly pick a winner, or most votes will win. You cannot have a contest that involves someone buying a “ticket” or “spot” for entry. This is considered a raffle or lottery and is not legal.
- Do not force people to do actions like sharing or liking for additional entries. This is something we see a LOT of on Facebook, and it’s actually something that is expressly prohibited by Facebook’s rules. It’s okay to have a photo contest where people have to click like on the photo they like best as a way of voting, that’s perfectly fine. But we’ve all seen them. The posts that say “share this post to win!” or “like this post to be entered”. Believe it or not, these are not allowed. What also isn’t allowed is requiring people to tag friends in order to enter. Something we also see a lot of!
Above all, given that it’s no charge to your business to put on a public promotion, the rules are pretty lenient. Contests and promotions are fun for your followers, and can also help you get new followers. You’ll learn that the most productive and successful promotions are those that are exciting and get shared without having to ask people to share them.