Is Your Facebook Competition Illegal?


In recent times you may have come to notice a popular trend forming amongst companies, bloggers and at times, just regular people on Facebook. In order to gain likes and increase awareness vast numbers of people are generating Facebook competitions online. They are quickly becoming a popular tactic and help to generate a greater level of engagement with customers. There are two main reasons for an increase in the number of such competitions. The first, is that they’re cost effective, and the second, is they work. If however, you delve deep into Facebook's terms and conditions you will see that Facebook has several regulations when it comes to running competitions and they’re not afraid to catch you out. Fortunately for the majority of companies, following the rules is actually a simple process. 

So, how do you run a competition which complies with Facebook Law, doesn’t break any regulations and is successful at the same time? Here are some things to consider:

Facebook states that in order to comply with applicable law, promotions “must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.” Thankfully there are some excellent third party apps such as ShortStack, Woobox and Offerpop that can assist you here. All of the apps stated comply with Facebook law and help to create a very aesthetically pleasing Facebook competition. When generating your competition through a third party app, be sure to keep it personalised and don't allow it to become diluted and hidden away, by posting about your competition and pinning it to the top of your Timeline you can ensure that everyone knows that it’s there.

When running a competition, promotion or sweepstake on Facebook you aren't actually allowed to use Facebook’s features (likes, comments and shares) as this is against regulations and is breaking Facebook law. In addition to this, when running a competition you’re not allowed to announce the winner on Facebook through any form of communication, essentially ruling out Facebook messages, chat or posts on timelines.

Maintaining focus on what it is you want to gain from your competition is pivotal to its success. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Generate leads? Or simply increase engagement? Abiding by Facebook's rules becomes even easier if you know what you want to gain from the competition, from here you can use the relevant app to help fulfil your aims. For example, if you want to drive traffic to your website you may want to add specific Calls-to-Action to your Facebook App creative such as “take a look at our free eBook” or “check out our latest how to guide”.

Facebook makes it very clear that when running your own competition you need to provide the official terms and eligibility requirements for your contest, as well as a full disclosure agreement (an agreement that confirms that participants know they are giving you personal information and not Facebook). To make this easier it may well be worth adding a terms and conditions tab to your Facebook page. You will be able to use this every time you run a promotion in the future and you can relax in the knowledge that you won't be caught out. 

Finally, it is important that you adhere to one of the biggest Facebook regulations set and not announce the winner on your Facebook page. Why not use this as an opportunity to drive traffic to your website? Be sure to cover this in your terms and conditions so that people know where to find the winner on a specific date.

So, follow the rules, comply with the law and you’ll be well on your way to a successful and more importantly legal Facebook competition!

UPDATE: Facebook now allows competitions to be delivered via the wall and allows likes and shares to be used as an entry mechanism.

Content Assistant - Stephanie Balsom-Eynon - @sbalsomeynon

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