Contests on Facebook

I see a lot of small business owners running contests on their Facebook page, asking people to like the page or like the status to be entered to win (enter prize name here). I cringe when I see these because the businesses are actually breaking a huge Facebook rule that might end up costing them the ability to market their products on the most used social site in the world.

Facebook has guidelines for running contests on your pages but the 3 below are the MOST IMPORTANT!

  1. You MUST use a third party application to implement your contest on Facebook.
  2. You cannot require condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
  3. But you can require them to Like your page, check-in or use your app, but the act of doing so cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.

You might be wondering why these rules were implemented. Facebook argues that they do not want to be seen as being participants in a contest that may lead to a lawsuit should a contestant be angry with how the contest was handled. By forcing you to use a 3rd party application, they are taken out of the mix.

But, the bigger reason is generating cash. App developers pay Facebook 30% of their sales to be able to place their apps into the Facebook world. This is why some of these apps can be extremely expensive to use especially if you are doing a lot of promotional contests or different things with your Facebook page in order to sell your product.

Facebook could, and has, banned companies who do not follow their rules. Imagine spending a lot of valuable time branding yourself on Facebook, gaining thousands of followers only to be banned and your page shut down because you ran a contest incorrectly. It’s not a good thing!

We run contests for Business Pages that we run using several already created apps and we are also working with new companies to develop apps ourselves for our customers.

It’s easy to post a status asking for “LIKES” to win something. It will be harder to rebuild your social marketing if Facebook kicks you off their platform.