New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know

social media how toHave Facebook rules stopped you from running contests on your Facebook wall in the past?

Are you wondering how the new Facebook promotion changes might benefit your business?

Facebook has made a huge shift in how they allow contests to be run.

Keep reading to discover what your options are and how other businesses are responding to these new changes.

What’s New

For years, Facebook has been saying that promotions and contests needed to be run through an application and not on your timeline (or wall, as we used to call it).

You were not allowed to ask people to like or comment on a picture or a post to be entered to win.

But now that has all changed.

Facebook announced on August 27 that they’ve changed their Pages Terms to make it “easier for businesses of all sizes to create and administer promotions on Facebook.” They’re allowing pages to run contests and promotions on their own timelines (you cannot run contests on a personal timeline). Per Facebook, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

Now businesses with a Facebook page have a lot more options and can run a contest very quickly and easily by posting text or a photo and asking people to comment and/or like it.

running a contest

Get more engagement on your page by running a contest.

Here’s the complete list of rules for promotions and contests directly from their Page Guidelines under section E (as of August 28, 2013):

1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:

  • The official rules;
  • Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
  • Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).

2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).

4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

So now businesses have the choice of running the contest through an app or through their timeline.


Facebook even released a video explaining their new promotional terms.

Make sure you also check out Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines download as well—very helpful!

Facebook Contests: What You Can and Can’t Do

Let’s break this down into a handy chart of what you can and can’t do to run your contest.

What You Can Do:

  • Require people to like a post and/or comment on a post to be entered
  • Require that someone post something directly on your timeline to enter (could be a text post or a photo)
  • Use likes as a voting method (either liking a post or photo on your timeline)
  • Require that someone message your page to enter
  • Announce the winner of the contest on your page
  • Require that to win the prize, entrants come back to your page to see who has won the contest
  • Use a Like button plugin on a website as a voting mechanism
  • Use an app plugin to post an entry to your contest directly on your page
  • Run your contest through a Facebook app

What You Can’t Do:

  • Require that people share a post or photo to be entered
  • Require someone to post something on their own personal timeline or a friend’s timeline to enter
  • Require people to tag themselves in a photo to either vote or enter
  • Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win (contest does not take place on the timeline)

How the New Rules Can Work for You

If you’re wondering if your contest will work within the new rules, think about where the engagement on Facebook happens. If it’s directly on your timeline or through your Message button, then you’re probably ok. And you still can use third-party apps to run a contest.

Also note that you can “encourage” people to share your post or contest, but you can’t require it for entry. Many third-party apps have in the past given “extra” entries for sharing the contest and it looks like that practice will have to stop, according to the Promotion Guidelines.

With all of these new options, how do you choose what type of contest to run on Facebook? Let’s dive into that conundrum.

How to Choose What Type of Contest to Run on Facebook

Decisions, decisions! With more options always comes hand-wringing over which will be the best for you and your marketing goals.

You can break it down fairly simply into this:

  • A Facebook timeline contest will give you more engagement fast.
  • A Facebook app contest will give you a list of email addresses that you can connect with again.

But there are more considerations than those basic needs. You need to take into account the advantages and disadvantages of each type of contest.

Running a Timeline Contest

Advantages

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Fun and easy to engage people to enter
  • Free to run
  • Works on mobile devices (many Facebook apps are not mobile-friendly)
  • Increased PTAT score

Disadvantages

  • Do not receive an email address with the entry
  • Can’t reshare the post easily to tell people about the contest multiple times
  • Need to post the rules of the contest and the required release of Facebook’s responsibility for the contest somewhere within the post (or a link to the terms and rules of your contest)
  • Contests may not increase fans as much as a like-gated app would
  • Could be harder to notify the winner if the winner is not paying attention
  • If you require both a like and a comment, it could be a pain to validate

Running a Facebook App Contest

Advantages

  • Gather email addresses to connect with those people again
  • More control over the look and feel of the contest
  • Can like-gate the entry so that you grow your fans
  • Easy resharing to promote the contest multiple times
  • Easy to have rules posted within the app
  • Many contest apps have metrics that show data about when people are entering and where they are coming from

Disadvantages

  • Barrier to entry is a little higher
  • Some contest apps do not work on mobile devices
  • Cost

    understand the limitations of reposting

    Make sure you understand some of the limitations of running a timeline contest.

New Options for Timeline Contests

Several new offerings for timeline contests have already sprung up (these coders are fast!) to help make running a timeline contest a little easier.

One of the things marketers will be concerned about with the new timeline contests is how to pick a random winner from all of the people who like or comment on a post to enter.

Note that there are already a few solutions available.

One free tool is from the makers of EdgeRank Checker called Contest Capture. You can export your likes and comments on a particular post into a .csv file. From there you can use a random number generator to give you a line number on that .csv file of the winner.

contest capture

Use Contest Capture to download a file of the likes and comments on a post.

Another free tool that will help you pick a winner is Woobox. Woobox will load all of your recent posts (click on the Posts link at the top of the page after logging into Woobox), and then allow you to pick a winner right from the Woobox site by just clicking on the Pick link under the Winners heading.

woobox app to pick winner

Use the Woobox app to pick a winner.

Woobox has many free apps including this tool, but their Contest/Sweepstakes app itself is a paid product.

ShortStack has a Comment and Like Importer that allows you to sort through the comments and likes so you can select a winner. This works through their platform but requires a paid plan.

And it looks like Heyo is coming out with a Timeline Contest Creator shortly to help you deploy your timeline contest.

In the coming weeks, we’re sure to see even more tools available to help you launch and administer your timeline contest.

Timeline Contest Best Practices

Right now, timeline contests are a work in progress. Time will tell how well they actually work to engage. One thing I noticed with a timeline contest I ran was that I had a lot of engagement early, but that it did fade after a day. Also I didn’t get a lot of new likes for my page, despite having a lot of activity on the post itself.

Here are some initial best practices for your Facebook timeline contest:

  1. Have a good picture describing the basics of your contest. A picture is more engaging and shareable than a text post and the text will travel with the picture as it’s shared.
  2. Require a comment. If you require a comment, you can tag the person who wins in a comment (usually—sometimes tagging isn’t working) when you select the winner.
  3. Make the rules clear in the post. Give people the basics of the rules. If you need more space, you may want to host the rules on a website and refer people there with a link.
  4. Pin your post to the top of your page for more visibility.
  5. Make the length of a timeline contest fairly short. Since it’s hard to re-post the link, make the length of the contest a week at most.
  6. Use an app for bigger prizes or for when you want to collect emails and leads. Apps are easier to promote and you can even connect some apps directly to your email provider for easy synchronization.

    best practices

    Pin your post to the top of your page and require a comment.

More Options for Facebook Promotions

Timeline contests are ultimately good news for marketers. They offer more choices and flexibility in what you can do to engage your audience. Try running at least one to see what it does for your business.

And remember there are good reasons to use a third-party Facebook app for your contest.

It’s nice to have new tools for your Facebook marketing toolbox.

What about you? Are you going to try a timeline contest? What possibilities do you see for this new marketing avenue? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Andrea Vahl

Andrea Vahl is co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and also uses her improv comedy skills to blog as Grandma Mary, Social Media Edutainer. Connect with her at www.andreavahl.com. Other posts by »




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  • Jeff Bunch

    Great post – wonderful analysis of the strategic and technical considerations!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Jeff!

  • http://navneetsau.com/ NavNeet Sau

    Brilliant list of pros and cons of Facebook timeline & Facebook apps contests, but still according to me Facebook apps contests are more beneficial instead of Facebook timeline. I like Facebook apps for reasons (1.) It increases fan base (2.) It builds email list of contacts can be used in future to contact again.

  • Dave Davis

    Great article Andrea!

    Hopefully they’ll enforce the ban on requiring a share to enter. I recently pruned my friends list fro 900 to 100 out of frustration and I’m still using Facebook less and less because of the volume of crap that gets shared in the name of entering a competition.

    People who I want to keep up with on Facebook make the Facebook experience unpleasant. Maybe this will clear it up and move all competition “spam” into the ticker.

  • http://www.cross-check.com/ Heather

    From #2 in the yellow box: “A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant” — how do you get that when you’re just doing Likes? I doubt the examples above, with hundreds/thousands of likes, got release forms from all of those Likes. Does the ACT of Liking something act as the complete release? Thank you.

  • http://caroleseawert.co.uk/ Carole Seawert

    Thanks for such an informative article. I especially liked the pros and cons lists.

  • Sean Swentek

    Thanks for breaking this down into a simple “Can & Can’t Do” analysis, that’s so much easier to understand. I’m looking forward to running simple giveaways through this feature, though I plan on always having it link to an app tab (if for no other reason than it’s the easiest way to host the rules).

  • Tina Hatcher

    Though the new guideline on Facebook promotions is great I’m concerned how it will impact the newly revised News Feed algorithm noting that content be genuinely interesting versus trying to game News Feed distribution (asking for people to like the content, low quality posts or meme).

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Hi Andrea!
    This is an amazing resource for info and tips on Facebook Contests and Promotions. Thank you so much for putting everything together in one place – so helpful!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Great point, Tina!

  • Robert Ferguson

    This is a great post. I think many business owners will try timeline
    Contests only to determine they are very time consuming to manage. I am
    currently using an App called ContestDominator as it is one of the only
    Contest Apps that is also Mobile Responsive. While all apps have
    pros and cons, I find it easy to use and I can run a cost effective
    contest that gets results, has viral sharing elements, has great metrics
    capturing/reporting and most importantly helps build an email & mobile
    marketing list.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Wonderful post! I’m the Social Media Chair for our local animal shelter and would love to create a Facebook contest. I think it would boost their online and offline presence. I’ll bring it up at the next board meeting. ;)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I agree with you! Thanks for weighing in!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Dave – yes, I hope so too but considering they couldn’t keep on top of the other contest infractions previously, I doubt they will be able to catch too many of the people who don’t follow the rules. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Dave Davis

    Yea, that really annoyed me. We had clients ask why their competitors could break the rules and why they couldn’t. Frustrating. I can’t imagine those who broke the rules before not breaking the less harsh rules now though. I guess time will tell.

    If people start losing interest and moving to another platform, Facebook certainly will notice.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Yes you can say “By participating in this contest you agree to these official rules” and then link to the rules. That’s another problem with running a contest like this is that you need to spell all these things out in one post. Shortstack has a great post on writing contest rules here: http://www.sociallystacked.com/2013/03/best-practices-for-writing-facebook-contest-rules-10-tips/ This is how the Apps have been worded as well. The problem is Facebook doesn’t define what a “complete release” is.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I’m a big fan of pros and cons lists myself :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Exactly! The rules need to live somewhere. I think the App is still the best way to run it :) Glad you liked the post!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    That is an excellent point Tina! It’s hard to balance all the changes that Facebook is throwing at us :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Glad you liked it John!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Glad you liked it Amandah! I’ve seen several Animal Shelter contests lately that have worked well – they have gotten local businesses to help promote it and participate. Good luck with your contest!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    There are several contest apps that have mobile capability including Heyo, Shortstack, Tabsite, Strutta and others. But having it mobile ready is definitelly key! Glad you are enjoying your app!

  • http://heyo.com/ Alex Shamy

    Really appreciate the mention, Andrea! Our initial tool just went live to help you generate these contests: https://heyo.com/timeline-contest-creator-live

    Do you think we’ll start to see a lot of embedded posts across the web?? That’s my hunch! – Alex

  • http://www.cross-check.com/ Heather

    Thanks so much for the quick reply and for actually monitoring your blog! :-)
    I have spent quite a bit of time trying to find that language online, to copy and paste, and can’t. Where is a copy of “the rules” to link to? Every website pretty much has this same blog info, but I just want a copy of the rules I can put on my own site. Thanks!

  • Liliana Shelbrook

    Excellent information, as usual!

  • nathanlatka1

    Thanks for the mention Andrea!

  • nathanlatka1

    Love that you’re taking action Amandah! Let us know if we can help you launch your contest.

  • nathanlatka1

    Hey Andrea – What a fantastic write up on the updates and the opportunities they have created! We appreciate you sharing Heyo with your readers :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    The official Facebook rules around what you can do on your Page are here: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php But as far as official Rules of any contest, you have to come up with that language on your own – not sure if that’s what you are referring too – you can use the Shortstack post as a guideline. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    You are welcome Nathan!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    I don’t know if we’ll see “a lot” :) But that is definitely a good way to promote it!

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Great summary of the new rules for Facebook contests, Andrea! Thanks for sharing this. When I first heard of this new allowance, I thought most marketers would jump at the easiness of running a contest this way, as well as the engagement it would bring to a page. But per your post, it seems like the disadvantages may outweigh the simplicity!

  • Liana

    Great article Andrea. I ran a “repost and follow us to win” type contest on Instagram recently and had great success and engagement with that, so I think the same effect can work with these new Facebook guidelines. Are there any apps that you think stand out above the rest? I think using an app would be the most effective method. Cheers

  • Olivia Statters

    Amazing post thank you very insightful indeed. Ready set..let’s get this comp started!

  • Kathleen

    Extremely helpful post! However, where does it say in the Promotion Guidelines that bonus entries received through sharing will have to stop? In reference to this point in your article, “Many third-party apps have in the past given “extra” entries for sharing the contest and it looks like that practice will have to stop, according to the Promotion Guidelines.” I verified with Woobox support who says we can still use bonus entries since they are not required for entry.

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  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Sarah! I definitely like some aspects of a Timeline contest but like you said, the benefits of running and App are hard to overlook :)

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Thanks Olivia!

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    It doesn’t specifically say that in the rules but it does specifically say that contest cannot be run on a Timeline at all. So even though that isn’t the initial method of entry, my interpretation of the rules is that sharing for and extra entry is still running the contest on a Timeline. And thanks for your response from Woobox – it will be interesting to see how this works with some of the apps that do have that feature.

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing your Instagram experience – good to know how that’s going for people! There are so many great Facebook Apps to use – I have a list here: http://www.andreavahl.com/facebook/how-to-run-a-successful-facebook-contest.php But Wildfire isn’t active anymore and there are other great ones that I’ve enjoyed using since I wrote that post – Tabsite, Fans with Benefits, Contest Domination, Antavo. Hope that helps!

  • http://nitishdhiman.com/ Nitish Dhiman

    Nice Article Andrea Vahl !! Facebook Time Line Contest and Facebook App Contest have their own pros and cons as you described in this Article but I Like the Facebook App contest more because it Increase our Fan base and we can get email subscribers to connect with them In future. Facebook time line contest increase our PTAT numbers but not sure that those customers who are talking about will like our page. So Facebook App contest is far better than Facebook Timeline contest

  • http://bloggersideas.com/ Jitendra Vaswani

    Great Post Andrea Vahl. I am newbie blogger and I m trying to explore myself in blogging world, facebook is great platform to run contests and we can definitely attract huge audience by running linkbait contests.

  • paul smith

    Hi Thanks for a very informative article.

  • vishal shah

    great article. Like FB coders, Socialmediaexaminer is fast too. Marketers should never miss any of your posts.

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  • Claudia Herrera

    Thank you, Andrea… It’s always so helpful to read you. See you at the Social Media Success Summit 2013!

  • francesca

    thanks for the post!
    I just tried to create a contest and to promote it via boost post but it has been disapproved!
    I am waiting for their answer now.. let’s see

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  • Giri

    Excellent analysis – the do’s and dont’s are useful.

  • http://www.seomasterexpert.com/ Swapan Kumar

    Really a useful post. Thanks for sharing updated and informative Facebook promotion tips. Great content. Amazing Post.

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  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Appreciate the mention Andrea!

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    Yes, this is something we’ll have to watch over time to see how Facebook evaluates posts! They open up the gates to allow “Like this” posts and yet also say they’ll ding posts….hmm.

  • http://www.mikegingerich.com/ Mike Gingerich

    In our TabSite Timeline Contest App (free) we have sample posts that can be used as templates to customize from and we added terms/rules ideas as well. Hope you can take a look and let me know what you think Andrea! TimelineContest dot com

  • Tina Hatcher

    Mike, I know you’ll tell us what to do when the time comes:)

  • Tina Hatcher

    Andrea, I know you’ll keep us up to date!

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  • G S

    Not sure if this was answered. You are not allowed to make a page like equal a entry but can you make it so they have to like the page to be eligible to enter the contest?

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  • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

    In the video at 1:14, is she saying “it’s NOT OK…” or “It’s NOW OK…” to use the like button as a voting mechanism?

  • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

    In your “do not” section, it says “Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win (contest does not take place on the timeline)” — Where do you get that from? Is it from “Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook”? in the Facebook rules? If so, then why is liking or commenting on a fan page post OK, because that still shows up on the person’s timeline, just as does liking a page.

    I’m working with a company who runs sweepstakes every day (Live To Win). People get free entries in the iphone app by logging in and/or taking polls etc. We would also like to like-gate additional entries on Facebook by giving out a coupon code. So, they can still enter in the many other ways we give them (polls, videos, etc), but liking us will give additional entries. So, we’re not “requiring” them to like us. And we could word it as “our fans get 10 extra entries every day” rather than “you must fan us to get 10 extra entries”.

    What do you think??

  • http://www.rachel-levy.com Rachel Levy

    And, on this page https://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/policy/examples_and_explanations/Rewarding_Users/, it says rewarding fans with entries IS OK, as long as you’re giving the same benefit to new AND existing fans. So, to me, it looks like your statement “Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win” is incorrect.

  • http://samebirthdaygirl.tumblr.com/ Ibong Apoy | PusaCat

    Hi, just a question. Can we have a contest using a photo album in our page, where the image with the most likes wins? Because I noticed your emphasis on using only the Timeline for contests. Thanks!

  • Kenny Alexander

    We actually got a contest promotion flagged and removed (likely) for this one line, “don’t forget to share with friends for bonus entries”. So, even though this wasn’t explicitly requiring people to share as a pre-condition to enter and was just “encouraging” sharing, it still was deemed a foul. Is there any way to actually talk to these people? (would be fair considering the money we spend on Facebook ads)

  • ROBINCAS

    Can anyone tell me…. I would like to run a mobile contest with an app and only allow people in the United States/Mexico to enter (it is a global FB page). Is this possible?? With a like gate on the page. Goal is to increase FB likes in the US/Mexico as our Facebook presence is strong in Asia but lacks in our biggest markets. Any tips or thoughts are appreciated!

  • Michael Parker

    Yeah… but there’s good and bad things about Pros and Cons lists… ;)

  • Ruchika Dandriyal

    Hi,

    I want to know, if we can ask people to tag more people on a wall contest? Is this allowed?

  • Lowery Johnson

    I have a question, I know that you can’t solicit shares on a post, but could you run a promotion (outside of an application) that encourages people to invite their friends to like the page, and the one who invites the most friends wins a prize?

  • jonthekiwi

    Brilliant post! Saved my day.

    Can you require people to tag people in a comment to enter? That is, that they mention a friend in such a way that the friend is alerted about the mention? Like @mari…

  • http://www.airrmedia.com/ Ricky

    This is an article that I would pay money on Amazon to read. Thank you so much for providing information on Facebook contest that you can run on your business page time line. You mentioned some great products such as woobox, constestcapture for running a contest on your timeline. Is there a good third party application that you had experience with in running a Facebook contest not in your timeline? Thank you in advance. I am looking forward to reading more of your articles and reading your book!

  • Aaron Nissen

    Great post! I do have a question about the share mechanism. Can you ask people to share a post as a “vote”. e.g. You post 10 photos and the one with the most shares will win.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ChelseaDygert/posts Chelsea Dygert

    Been following your blog for quite a while. This, and other posts are very helpful in the ever-changing world of social media. I love the breakdown of Advantages vs Disadvantages – makes things easy to sort through! Keep up the good work!

  • Marybeth Knight

    I signed up for a free trial of OfferPop to run a sign-up campaign. I just want to be clear we’re in compliance if fans must Like our page in order to view the promo and enter their info for a chance to win? We’re going to select a winner at random to receive 1 free product. Is this what is called fangating? Is it allowed? Help??

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  • Rajen

    Good article…I am a first timer and was wondering if there are any rules or rather dos and don’t regarding what can be offered to the winners as part of the offer…eg we were looking at giving to the winners some small gift items as a token of appreciation…

  • Rajen

    …following on on my previous…is communication via a non-facebook method (like email, etc) still a mandatory pre-requisite for communicating winners on the page or now we can directly communicate winners on the timeline contest post at first instance? – thanks

  • Pat Kehoe

    Great post on a very confusing subject. You mention that while we can’t require people to share the contest post as a condition of entry, we can “encourage” them to do so. I can’t find any official statement on this from Facebook. Could you let me know where they have commented officially on this. Thanks again for a very enilightening post. Pat

  • Levi

    So in a Facebook timeline contest can you require that people like your page?

    Or can you set the end date to a fan number? Like when we reach 2,500 fans?

    Or can you set the prize off of fan numbers? Like you get this is we reach 2,500 fans?

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  • Khope47

    If I’m correct, you’re not allowed to run a contest that has you like the page before entering the contest, like thousands of company do? What’s the point of running a contest if you’re not allowed to receive any benefits from it (in the form of increased potential customer base by having more ‘likes’ on a page)?

  • Khope47

    Including a release for Facebook is a good idea, and smart…but Facebook is released from any possible liability, but the small business isn’t allowed to benefit?

  • http://britesocial.com/ Steve Mullen

    I agree with you Navneet, Facebook apps are better option for running contents. however Facebook timeline comps lower barriers to entry and are easier / quicker to set up. But doing it right with apps, is better longterm.

  • http://navneetsau.com/ NavNeet Sau

    Thank you Steve. Both types of contest have their own importance to raise facebook marketing.

  • http://britesocial.com/ Steve Mullen

    Exactly that, thanks.

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  • Ruben Aguirre

    i think you can further narrow down the culprit to “for bonus entries”. basically, to get more entries, you are *requiring* them to share, and sharing as a requirement (for anything it seems) is a no-no. we’re about to run a contest, want to encourage sharing, and are using this copy: Share the post on your timeline to get your friends to vote for you! (You are not required to share in order to enter the contest)

  • Mish

    i’m planing on a timeline giveaway soon – i will announce the winner with a post. Can i ask the winner to contact me through the facebook messages system? i thought about the email option – but i want to eliminate the chances of fraud.

  • mjconstruction

    Yes you may.

  • Roman Cywinski

    Great article but can these contests be used for Video Voting competitions or just photos?

  • http://www.vcmarketing.co.uk/ Ving

    Are you allowed to use your FB page to promote a competition hosted on an external website? For example, a blog?

  • miraj

    hey i have to options for my contest…one is fb like and other is 5 frnds tag in comments not in photos…rules says not valid in photo tags..i have used comment tags…will it work?pls reply fast

  • Bridgette Barker

    Just out of curiosity, does this apply to small fan page operations as well? A lot of admins for these pages will offer small prizes to their fans for answering trivia or being creative. I am reading in one area that in order to offer prizes or rewards, you have to be the manufacturer or marketer of said product, but reading your entry here (which is great btw), as long as the admins release Facebook’s liability and act independently, the contests are ok.

  • Mike Shield

    Just tried my first giveaway contest yesterday. It was a simple timeline “Like & Comment to be entered into a random drawing” type of thing. I was amazed at the response. Analytics showed that I reached over 2300 people in about 12 hours. However, several of my Facebook friends shared the post. I thought that was a good thing, until I realized that I’ll have to go to each shared post to gather all the participants. And I can see that 20 people have shared the post but I can only look at 8 of those shares because of their security settings (I assume). So looks like I’ll never get to see all of the likes and comments. So next time maybe an app is the right way to go.

  • Драгомир Драганов

    There is one super, super underestimated fact. Emails gathered through app contest do have quite low value, in comparison to those who come absolutely viral.
    This is what I could say from my point of experience for 2 years.

  • Great article! I’m doing my first contest soon and I just want to be clear. In the article it says you can encourage people to share about the contest. So does this mean while we are not allowed to require sharing the contest for entries, we can post something like “spread the word about this contest?” Can others make posts about contests? Also can we post about our contest on our personal timeline for instance if the contest is on a blog?

    Thanks for any help!

  • Jen S

    Thanks Andrea! I’m looking at running my first contest via my business FB page, and with all the contests I’ve seen out there I had no idea of what you couldn’t do (since most make you ‘share’ and like’, I’ll admit I was hoping to do the same!
    Can I require participants to like our page to enter? And then ‘encourage’ them to share the post? thanks in advance!

  • Nancy

    I’m running a photo contest…im a small boutique, and as a way to not only create a buzz on my page with the prize of a gift card to my store, i wanted to give all entrants a 10% off coupon for my store, good for the month of Feb…Am I allowed to do that?? Please reply quickly if possible..I am literally sitting here waiting to post the contest…i am just now second guessing if i am allowed to do this. PLEASE HELP

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  • Jess

    Can anyone tell me if it is allowed to ask people to tag a friend to enter into a competition? I want to give away my handmade jewellery to the entrant and the friend they tag, is that allowed?

  • lona

    I still do not understand the re sharing. When you have a contest on your time line, people are not alowed to share this on their timeline? Or can they share it but entries for the contest must be done on the ORIGINAL post? And why is re sharing allowed in the APP?

  • http://www.sutharsan88.weebly.com/ Sutharsan.M

    Useful information…. Thanks!

  • Amy Decker

    Just came across this – extremely helpful article!

  • Desmond Sim

    Great post once again. Very infomative.

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  • Sheryl Bradley

    Awesome article – thank you! Is the info in the article still current. I know Facebook changes everything every time I turn around. Thanks again!

  • Concierge

    Hi Andrea, are there any fee apps you can recommend?

  • Tracy

    I realize that this post was from almost a year ago and was just wondering if you have any new/recent posts covering a similar topic (Facebook contests). I am trying to build out a contest now for my company and trying to determine what the best option would be that does not involve added costs…thanks!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Tracy, have you checked out the other articles here: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tag/facebook-contest/

  • Màjńoǒń Kŏŗí

    hàlp _____

  • http://www.AndreaVahl.com/ Andrea Vahl

    Hi Tracy – the rules here all still apply but there are a couple of free contest apps – TabFoundry has recently added contest to their app suite and it is free: https://www.tabfoundry.com/ Rafflecopter is another free sweepstakes option but I’ve found the design a little limiting – it’s easy to use so that is nice. Hope that helps!

  • Alissamarie

    I realize this article was correct in September 2013, but haven’t these rules since changed?

  • emozhimo

    Thank you for this very helpful post.
    However I can’t find the answer to this question:
    Are we allowed to ask people to like the business PAGE and then to comment the post about the contest to participate ?

  • emozhimo

    I just noticed that your post is from september 2013, as anything changed since ?
    Thanks again.

  • Jab We Met Quadri

    Irfan quadri







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