Social media is an effective marketing tool for businesses to build name recognition and interact with customers. Some businesses use social media for promotions that give away prizes to winners. Facebook is a particularly popular platform for businesses to run contests and sweepstakes. However, Facebook has rules and restrictions on promotions that companies need to adhere to or otherwise risk getting their Facebook page removed.
An example of a Facebook Terms of Service violation we’ve seen recently involves a theater company giving away theater tickets to the person with the best comment to a question posted by the theater company on its Facebook Wall. Another example of a prohibited promotion on Facebook involves a jewelry designer giving away jewelry to a Facebook fan chosen at random from those who “liked” the designer’s Facebook Page.
Effectively run Facebook promotions for your own business by knowing what is prohibited on Facebook and using tools designed to comply with Facebook rules.
Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines
Promotions include contests that award prizes to winners selected based on skill and sweepstakes that award prizes to winners based on chance. To run your Facebook promotion, you must abide by the following Facebook Promotion Guidelines:
1. Use a third party application
- Never use your Facebook Wall, the Facebook Events app, Facebook Groups, or any other Facebook functionality to directly run your promotion.
- You are free to post a link to your promotion hosted by the third party app on your Facebook Page.
- A list of third party apps is included below as a starting point for you to find a Facebook promotions app that is the best fit for your business.
2. Be explicit about Facebook’s terms and conditions within your promotion
- Promotions on Facebook must include the following statements:
i. Full release of liability for Facebook by each promotion participant;
ii. Acknowledgment that the promotion is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook; and
iii. Disclosure that the promotion participant is providing information to the entities sponsoring the promotion and the entities administering the third party application and not to Facebook.
3. Do not have people enter your contest or sweepstakes by liking your Page or Wall post, uploading a photo or video to your Wall, commenting on your Wall, checking into your Place, or updating their Facebook status.
- All contest entries must be done via a third party application. For example, a fan can enter a contest by uploading their photos to or commenting on the third party application, as long as it is not directly on your Facebook Page.
- HOWEVER, you can make liking your Page or using another Facebook functionality a part of the entry process as long as it is not the only condition to enter the promotion. For example, a Facebook Page can include a “like-gate” that requires new visitors to Like the page to unlock information that enables them to enter the contest or sweepstakes hosted on a third party app. This could be an effective means of increasing likes while staying within the Facebook guidelines.
4. Do not use Facebook features, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism that selects the winner for a prize
- Having people vote for the winner of a contest is acceptable only when it is done on a third party application.
5. Facebook cannot be the method of communication for notifying or contacting winners.
- When contacting winners, you cannot post to their Walls, or chat/message them on Facebook. In addition, you cannot post who the winners are on your Wall. You can only contact winners through email, phone, or any other way that is not through the Facebook platform.
- You are free to post a link on your Facebook Page to an external website listing the winners.
Third Party Applications that Follow Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines
Because you need to use a third party application to run your Facebook promotion, finding the right app that works for your business is crucial to running an effective and successful contest. Here is a list of some popular third party app providers:
- Wildfire App lets you choose from 10 different kinds of promotions such as sweepstakes, coupons, and user-generated photo, essay, and video contests. Prices start at $5 per promotion or $0.99 per day at the Basic level.
- North Social provides social media marketing packages that include Facebook promotions, as well as donation pages and social media analytics. Prices start at $0.99 per day at the Entrepreneur level.
- Votigo services include sweepstakes, video and photo contests, and like-gating. Prices start at $30/week.
- Strutta handles sweepstakes and photo, video, and essay contests. Their sweepstakes start at $199 plus $99 per month per promotion, and their contests start at $299 plus $99 per month per promotion.
- ShortStack offers free sweepstakes and contest services for Pages with 2000 Likes or fewer. For pages with over 2000 Likes, ShortStack charges at least $15 per month depending on the service plan.
- Woobox offers free packages for custom tabs & coupons. However, for contests and sweepstakes, prices start at $29 per month.
- Offerpop allows one free sweepstakes or contest for 14 days for Pages with 100 Likes or fewer. Beyond this time period or for Pages with over 100 Likes, you can pay per campaign (one sweepstakes or contest app up to 14 days) starting at $10 per campaign, or monthly (all apps for an unlimited number of campaigns) starting at $15/month.
- EasyPromos lets you try their services for free for your first promotion. Prices start at $15 per promotion at the Basic level.
Tips For Running a Successful Facebook Promotion
Now that you know the rules and have the tools to run your Facebook promotion, here are some tips to help you run a successful campaign:
- Have a goal. Whether it is to increase customer engagement, increase Likes/subscribers, collect marketing data, or introduce a new product, your promotion should have a business goal with a measurable outcome.
- Know the Facebook Promotion Guidelines. Not following the legal restrictions mentioned above could put your Page at risk for being deleted by Facebook
- Make sure your third party application has mobile capabilities and is customizable. Having multiple ways of accessing your promotion allows you to increase the number of entries. And having the promotion adaptable to your business needs and branding allows you to better connect with your prospective customers.
- Make your promotion easy to enter. Keep the information you ask participants to provide minimal and the tasks you ask participants to do simple.
- Promote your promotion. Spread the word about your Facebook promotion on your website, other forms of social media such as Twitter and your blog, and/or Facebook Ads.
- Follow up and keep the conversation going. Your promotion has allowed you to reach new fans and potential customers. Follow up with them after the promotion has ended so they keep engaging with your company.
Conducting a Facebook promotion comes with rules you must adhere by. Facebook wants to avoid liability and distance itself from what businesses do with their promotions. So familiarize yourself with Facebook’s rules to avoid any problems with Facebook in the future.
If you have run a Facebook promotion in the past, what are some of the issues that you encountered? What are your tips for Facebook promotion success? Let us know in the comment section below or connect with us through Twitter or Facebook
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