How to run a competition on your Facebook Business Page …

Facebook competition rules.

“You’ve got to be in it, to win it”. We’ve all heard it, the faithful old competition mantra spoken throughout the years. To win a prize in any competition you do, of course, have to take part. They used to be simple but, with the advent of social media, the rules have changed for both businesses and their eternally-optimistic customers. Facebook competition rules in particular can be quite tricky.

With the rise of Twitter and Facebook, companies have quickly embraced the power of social networks to reach their customers in new and innovative ways. Running competitions on those platforms is a great way to attract more followers to your brand. More followers can potentially turn into more customer leads and maybe even a few sales. Increasing your followers could lead to them actively spreading your messages through ‘Retweets’ and ‘Likes’ & ‘Shares’ to their followers and their friends. These simple acts form the cornerstone of most social networking competitions.

Facebook competition rules

So what kind of competition can you run? Answers on a #postcard.

Well, there are a number of different ways to run a competition, but the first question to ask yourself is “which is best for your business”? Whichever competition you choose, it will need managing, so make sure you have the time and resources to make it work effectively. Also think carefully about your prize and who you want to enter. If you run a Swim School then offering free lessons or swim related products should mean that only interested and relevant customers enter your competition. If the same Swim School offered an iPad as a prize you would probably find that every Tom, Dick and Harry would enter and they are probably not interested in your business!

The only real limits are your imagination and following the rules.

Here are some of our ideas …

Some of the most popular options include photo contests; where followers are asked to write humorous captions to photos. With the rise of photo-sharing networks like Instagram, this could even be reversed by coming up with a slogan and asking customers to upload their own specially-created photos that reflect the phrase and include your brand.

How about a voting contest of some sort? This is a very easy way of gauging customer reactions to new products, designs, etc. They have a very low barrier to entry, compared to other competitions, as they only require a ‘click’ to enter. Having someone vote on a particular choice will lead to their interaction automatically being shared on their page, consequently encouraging their friends to do the same. You’d be surprised how far your campaign will reach providing it’s interesting and engaging.

One of our favourite type of competitions is to ask customers to enter with their email address, I have used Woo Box successfully over the last year to create easy and cost effective competitions for some of my clients. The good thing about this type of competition is that you gain a potential lead and an email address. Have you heard that saying “the money is in the list”? Building your email list is important in any business and this email address can then be used for future contact.

Follow the rules

With the sheer amount of people who use these networks, it would be understandable to think anything goes, but this isn’t the case. Facebook, in particular, is very strict about their rules and regulations when it comes to competitions. They have some very detailed terms and conditions that they expect every user to follow. As a January 2015 these are the current rules.

The basic rule-of-thumb is that Facebook does not want be associated with any competition in any way whatsoever.

You can …

*Ask people to like a post as a form of entry
*Ask people to comment on a post as form of entry
*Ask people to send a private message as a form of entry

You cannot …

*Ask people to share as a form of entry
*Ask people to tag themselves in images they are not depicted in as a form of entry
*Ask people to like your page as a form of entry

Facebook competition rules

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:
a. The official rules;
b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
c. 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. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. 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.

Make sure you add a disclaimer stating that Facebook does not sponsor or endorse the competition. I’m sure companies do unknowingly contravene these rules, but the risk that you’ll get found out is very real. You wouldn’t want to have your Facebook Page deleted!

Given Twitter’s more streamlined function and design, their guidelines are much simpler. Their main requirement is that competitions should discourage the use of multiple accounts or repeating Tweets which will affect their search results. For example, competitions shouldn’t rely on ‘most retweets to win’ or having customers create additional accounts in order to enter multiple times. One aspect of Twitter that should be encouraged is the use of relevant #hashtags in messages with your Twitter username. This helps spread your message and gains interest and traction through trending topics. It also allows you to track updates and mentions when it comes to picking a winner. You can read more about guidelines for contents on Twitter here

Plan your competition

So before you create the next big social buzz for your competition, make sure you are aware of the rules. Don’t overly complicate the competition and ensure whichever route you take is going to promote your brand in the right way. There has never been a better way of interacting and having FUN with your customers on a multitude of social networks, just make sure you remember, you have to be in it to win it.

Over to you, which type of competitions have you used on Social Media? Have they worked?

Emma & Kate xx

Piece of Cake Marketing is a Marketing agency based in Coventry and Warwickshire.