Last year our “How to setup a compliant Facebook contest” article described the guidelines of contests on Facebook pages. In the meantime, Facebook changed their rules for contests organized on business pages.
Recently a lot of small businesses organized quick and simple contests on the Timeline of their Facebook Page, that were unfortunately illegal as they did not meet Facebook's terms. Still, many businesses did this in order to spread the word about their products and services, because organizing a contest on Facebook was a cheap method for promotion. Some of those who were ignorant of the rules and had bad luck, found their Business Page shut down by Facebook.
This situation has changed. A Facebook contest has remained an inexpensive and efficient tool, but it is much easier to organize a compliant contest. Facebook removed the requirement that contests could only be administered through applications. Now, contests may be organizes both on Page Timelines and in applications. This helps small businesses who cannot not spend high amounts on developing Facebook-compliant apps.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Now it is allowed to collect entries to the contest by having users post on your Page,comment/like your post as well as message your Page. You also can use likes for voting.
- It is still not allowed to ask Facebook users to enter a contest by liking, sharing or posting something on their personal Timeline or their friends' Timeline or to tag users or ask them to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in.
There are some rules for contests that have not changed:
- If you want to organize a contest, you always have to create its rules. The rules need to define who can enter the contest and how. Be sure to provide easy rules that do not prevent people from participating. Do not forget to publish these rules.
- Include a statement that your contest is in no way sponsored or administered by Facebook. Facebook also requires a complete release by each participant. Facebook does not assist Page owners in the administration of their contests. Page owners have to agree that they administer the contest at their own risk.
- Your contest has to be compliant with the regulations in your country concerning lotteries, contests and promotions as well as with tax regulations.
As owners of Facebook Pages are always responsible for the lawful operation of their Pages, it is always recommended to check the latest Facebook Terms before organizing a contest, rules can change any time.
It is always a good idea to advertise the contest in order to broaden the reach. You can add a link to your web page, use Facebook ads, etc.
Certainly, if you have a marketing budget for that, you can use more interactive and sophisticated third party apps for your competition.
How to decide whether a contests should be organized on the Timeline of your Facebook Page or via an app?
You should use an app for your contest
if you want users subscribe to your newsletter.
if you have many posts on your Timeline, and you want a bigger and longer campaign, still want the whole contest to be clearly seen and easy to find,
you need any explicit permission from the users,
if you want to use a “fan gate” .
An application will definitely help you make a bigger and more attractive contest. Using dedicated app, you can define advanced rules and you have more space to present prizes, sponsors and the required legal notices. It allows moderation of entries or entrants and utilizing User Generated Content for your SEO. Also, you can promote the contest outside Facebook and participants can promote it by sharing their entries through other social media, email or instant messaging with the help of the app.
No matter which solution you choose, a contest can drive up your Facebook community numbers and is a good tool for deepening the connection with your fans. It builds awareness for your products and services, for opening of a new location, etc, so the important thing is to organize a contest.