Running a Facebook Competition

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Facebook competitions can be remarkably powerful things; people are so much more willing to participate in certain actions when there’s a chance of winning something awesome (I’ll do pretty much anything for tech). So it makes sense to incentivise our community while using it as an opportunity to give away something special

You may well have heard that you’re ‘not allowed to do this’ or ‘Facebook won’t allow you to do that’ in connection with contests and competitions using the social network. In case that’s what you’re wondering, then that’s correct; there are certain things you cannot ask people to do in order to participate in your promotions.

What are the Facebook rules about running competitions on your Page?

You can read the full Facebook Page guidelines, but I’ve extracted a couple of sections for your viewing pleasure to make the process a little easier. Just select the section that you’re interested and we’ll show you.

Looks boring, right?

Look, I know, that’s all a bit dry. But it is important – it matters. So take heed – because I’ve seen the effects of Pages that get caught in breach of Facebook’s terms, and it can be harsh.

Like & Share Competitions

No. Just, no.

Facebook Likes

I know what you’re going to say “But everyone does them, James!”, and you’re right, I see them all the time. But no, you can’t ask your online audience to share [in order to enter a contest]. The Page Guidelines are really pretty clear on this point “Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions” so contests that ask entrants to

  • share on your Timeline to enter
  • share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries
  • tag your friends in this post to enter

are all out; don’t do them.

As a quick rule of thumb, think of it as it’s ok to get them to do something that affects the Page – but not something that affects their friends. And this kind of makes sense, I don’t want to see some random picture appear on my personal timeline because Facebook thinks it’s a picture of my mate, Sally, when it actually turns out to be a picture of some tickets that Sally’s trying to win. It’s actually spam – and you wouldn’t like it if your friends did it to you, so don’t be asking your Facebook followers to do it for you either.

What exactly will happen if I run a competition I’m not supposed to?

First of all, you’d be surprised how easy it is for Facebook to spot these things. Much of this type of activity can be spotted with automated processes now, and Facebook has waves where it cracks down on this stuff. The reaction you may expect would be a message to advise you to remove the competition and a warning that they’re ‘watching you closer’.

Some brands that have chosen to continue to flout the rules have had their Facebook Pages removed. This, I have to admit, seems to be the last resort and not something that’s often heard of. But, rules are rules and if you want to make sure you’re playing by them – you now know what you can and can’t do.

Are you running a competition on your Page, post a link below and I’ll go check it out (especially if it’s tech!)