Facebook contests: are you following the rules?

facebook-like-iconRecently, I’ve had a number of clients ask for advice about running a contest on their brand’s Facebook page. Maybe they had extra promotional items left over from Heart Month or were just looking for a quick boost to their numbers and wanted to post something like: “The next ten people to like this post will receive…” Seems harmless enough, doesn’t it? Not if you’re Facebook.

It surprises many people to learn that Facebook actually has some pretty strict guidelines about running contests (promotions) on the wall of a Facebook brand page, especially since we see it so often. From big brands to the local Mom & Pop, you can find contests being run every day, and each of them is against the rules and each of those pages face the possibility of being shut down by Facebook.

As stated in the Facebook Pages Terms, “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.” This means you need to use apps built by companies like Wildfire and Strutta to run any contest or promotion.

The bottom line is that Facebook wants no liability whatsoever in your T-shirt giveaway. They forbid the inclusion of any part of Facebook functionality (e.g., like, share, or comment) in the contest for things like entry or voting, and they require the use of a disclaimer even when using a third party app. And when the fun is over and the winner selected, you may not notify them through Facebook or on your wall.

Burger King ContestSo what does a “legal” Facebook promotion look like? Let’s take a look at the makers of the best french fries on the planet, Burger King, seen here peddling coffee of all things.

They thoroughly cover all the bases here, including the all-important disclaimer that can be found at the very bottom:

“This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to BURGER KING® and not to Facebook.”

How easy is that?

So while (legal) Facebook contests are not free, you will find that most developers offer scaled pricing plans that should fit your budget and help you run a good looking, branded promotion.

Meanwhile, as you seek to answer the age-old question about what you should be posting on Facebook, remember that social media can play an important role in your content marketing strategy.

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Filed under Healthcare Social Media, Social Media

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