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Facebook’s New Contest Guidelines and How They Benefit You

medium_3462393730Facebook has been intent on keeping promotions to a minimum throughout the past several years. A company could only promote themselves and hold contests and sweepstakes through the use of third-party apps. Users were unable to like or comment on these links to enter themselves as part of the promotion. Businesses struggled to utilize the number one social network fully to their advantage due to these contest and promotion rules and regulations.

At the end of August 2013, all of Facebook’s promotion rules changed. Facebook detailed that they were changing the way contests and sweepstakes were held on their social networks. For many businesses, the changes only affected them positively.

Promotional Changes on Facebook

Facebook detailed what business users may and may not do with contests and sweepstakes. Of greatest importance is that promotions no longer have to be held through third-party apps. That isn’t to say these third-party apps are no longer allowed; there is just a simpler option built into Facebook now.

However, with all positive major changes, come certain terms and agreements that each business must abide by in order to continue to run contests and sweepstakes. The dos and don’ts are as followed:

The Can Dos

  • Require users to like and/or comment on the post for entry into the contest or sweepstakes.
  • Require users to write on your wall for entry into the contest.
  • Using likes and comments as a method of voting on a picture or status.
  • Require users to message your page for entry into the contest.
  • Require users to revisit the page to discover the winner in order to claim the prize.
  • Announce contest winner(s) publicly on your page.
  • Use the like button plugin on external websites to communicate with Facebook as a means for choosing a winner.
  • Use third-party apps to directly post contests to your page.
  • Create a Facebook app and place contests onto it.

The Cannot Dos

  • Require a person to repost a status or photo to enter any contest or sweepstakes.
  • Require a person to submit any status or photo onto his or her own personal timeline or a friend’s timeline for entry into the contest.
  • Require a person to tag himself or herself in a post or photo for entry into the contest.

These practices must be followed in order to reduce any restrictions on your page. Facebook will monitor contests and promotions in order to ensure that no rules are being broken.

Facebook has specific requirements in order for a contest to be held in the first place. In addition to the above dos and don’ts, businesses are required to do the following:

  • Companies must list or link to official rules, terms, and eligibility requirements in order to create a contest on their wall.
  • Companies must be in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations that govern their contest.
  • Promotions must release Facebook of all liability for each entrant and/or participant in the contest.
  • Companies must acknowledge that Facebook does not support, endorse, sponsor or administer anything to do with the contest in their post.
  • Personal timelines are ineligible to hold contests, so business or company pages must be set up properly in order for one to be held.
  • Giving Facebook the agreement that you understand that all contests run on your page are at your sole discretion and at your own risk.

Best Practices for Your Business

Painting businesses can utilize Facebook promotions to their advantage. Here are the steps you need to take in order to create a contest or sweepstakes right now on your Facebook.

  1. Setup a Facebook business account prior to reading further instructions if you do not already have one.
  2. Analyze what promotions you feel will benefit your company best. You want to appeal to only those who have an interest in your services, so ensure that your promotions target them specifically. For contests and sweepstakes, consider giving away tools or free services that are exciting and useful; nobody wants to enter a contest just to win junk. On their Facebook page, Mosquito Magnet regularly holds contests where they give away their mosquito zapper and other useful products.
  3. Determine how you want to promote your contest or sweepstakes. You have three options with Facebook: posting to the timeline, Facebook apps or third party apps. Know that each of these will have their own advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into account.
  4. Encourage users to share the post, but ensure that you don’t make it a part of the eligibility to enter the promotion. Try to reach out to other related businesses or industry influencers and see if they will share your contest to their followers.
  5. Setup an accurate and descriptive picture that details all rules and regulations for the contest. Make the picture as engaging as possible. Pictures are more engaging to readers and will resonate in them more than a text post will. Even more, picture posts are easier to share than text posts and help grow your contest.
  6. Require a comment for submission. When you require a comment, you can tag the winner in the post opposed to having to make an all-new post specifically for that person.
  7. Ensure the length of your contest extends no more than a month. You want to get people excited about the contest, but if it goes on too long they will begin to lose interest.

These practices will help contest be noticed more quickly. Spreading your contest as far as possible can only benefit you in the long-term.

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