Facebook Contests

It seems like every business has run a Facebook contest — and many of them with great results. But if these contests occurred before August 27, 2013, it’s likely they were violating Facebook’s terms of service.

Has your business run a Facebook contest, unknowingly (or knowingly!) breaking the rules? Good news — now you can have your fans and reward them too (or something like that). Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s new promotion guidelines.

You Can Ditch that Third-Party App.

Previously, Facebook only allowed Pages to run contests and promotions if they used a third-party application (like Wildfire, Woobox, etc.) to collect entries. You know what we’re talking about — Facebook photo contests, video contests and voting contests that all awkwardly required fans to take action on custom tabs and separate landing pages that weren’t actually on Facebook. Talk about barrier to entry.

But with Facebook’s updated contest guidelines, you can forget third-party applications. Collect contest entries through Page likes, post likes, fan posts or comments. Have fans vote for their favorite entries via ‘likes’ and comments. Get creative, gain fans, increase engagement…no third-party apps required.

Planning a ‘Share’ Contest? Not So Fast.

Unfortunately, Facebook’s new promotion guidelines aren’t all ‘like’-worthy. Want your fans to ‘share’ your posts in return for a contest entry? Sorry — still illegal. Want fans to tag themselves in a photo of your product? Another no-can-do.

While this may pose a frustrating obstacle to your promotion plans, there is a method to the madness. To keep users coming back, Facebook wants to keep Page content limited to Pages — and marketing messages off of users’ personal profiles. Also, with privacy settings limiting what Page admins can see from their fans, ‘share’ contests pose a significant obstacle for accurate contest entry collection. See Facebook’s explanation below:

“There are technical reasons for con?ning the administration of the promotion to either a Page or in an app. For example, because people can choose to limit the visibility of the content they put on Facebook to only themselves, friends, or to a custom group of people, Pages won’t have the ability to access all of the entries that people post on their own Timelines unless these entries are public. We may explore enabling this in the future, but to ensure a good experience for administrators of promotions and prospective entrants to a promotion, we are limiting the administration of promotions on Facebook to Pages and within apps at this time.”

Take Advantage of New Facebook Contest Rules — Call COCG.

Ready to run your own Facebook contest? COCG can help you run a successful — and legal! — Facebook promotion. Contact our social media marketing team to get started.