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How to Run a Successful Facebook Contest Without Getting Banned

January 8th, 2013 ::

If one of your professional New Year’s resolutions is to do more with your company’s Facebook page, one of your ideas is most likely holding a contest (aka, a promotion), be it a photo or video contest or a sweepstakes.

Before you get started on any planning, it is well worth your time to familiarize yourself with Facebook’s rules for promotions so you don’t get banned.

In summary, here is what you need to know (you can read the full list here):

1. The product or service you are promoting has to be yours, either as an authorized merchant or the manufacturer.

2. You are responsible for ensuring your contest does not break any laws, rules or regulations and you must clearly state the official rules, offer terms, and eligibility requirements.

3. Promotions must use Apps on Facebook and state that Facebook has nothing to do with the contest.

4. You can ask entrants to Like a Page, check in to a Place, or connect to your app when they enter the contest, but that action cannot automatically enter them. You cannot ask them to take any other action on Facebook, like leaving a comment on your wall.

5. The Like button cannot be used for voting.

6. You cannot notify winners through Facebook.

To ensure your Facebook contest is successful, here is a handy checklist to follow:

Have a goal: Whether it’s more Likes, increased brand awareness, new product promotion, better user engagement, etc., have a goal so you can measure whether or not your contest worked.

Make it interactive: A fun, interactive experience will draw more entries and encourage word of mouth and social sharing.

Be creative with contest prizes: Your contest prize can be something with broad appeal – a gift card to Amazon – or niche appeal – a private souffle baking class. Whatever you decide, make sure it appeals to your target audience.

Choose a third party app that is easy to use: Look for one that is customizable, cost-effective (some are free), and mobile-friendly and that can be embedded on your website.

Make it easy to enter: Ask for the bare minimum amount of information from entrants (like name and email), and make it easy to enter, like answering a trivia question or uploading a photo of a pet.

Follow up: Once the winner is announced, follow up with the entrants by responding to feedback or simply thanking them for becoming a part of your community.

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Posted in Marketing, Small Business, small business, Social Media, social media | 10 Comments »

  • Kathy

    I’m still confused…number 4 says I can’t offer a gift card, but one of the “great gifts” you suggest is a gift card. What am I missing here??

    • http://twitter.com/anitahovey Anita Hovey

      Kathy, you’re not missing anything. The author has totally confused “offers” and contests/promotions in this article.

    • http://twitter.com/anitahovey Anita Hovey

      Kathy, you’re not missing anything. The author has totally confused “offers” and contests/promotions in this article.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, I am fully aware of the differences, but I didn’t make it clear in the blog post, so I apologize for that. Will edit the post to clear up any confusion.

  • http://twitter.com/anitahovey Anita Hovey

    This article is a complete fark-up between contests and offers. Some of it is similar, but they are two different things and much of this does not relate to contests as stated in the headlines. Perhaps the author needs to read the Facebook guidelines again.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T4VMV6QNOTN64U33OFNDNN7HJY cr pb

    or check out talenthouse.com

  • http://twitter.com/onestepretail One Step Retail

    What are some of the free apps you mention to host an event? Also, if you can’t use a gift card… and your product is very specialized but you CAN’T use a product as a prize that is not yours, any suggestions? (example: winner gets a KindleFire.. but we don’t own that brand)

    • Anonymous

      Facebook hosts the apps on their site, where you can choose which you’d like to use. Yes, you can use a gift card or product that is not yours as a contest prize, but you can’t pretend that you make Kindles when you don’t.

  • laine sou

    Hi, how do you make the contest interactive and fun, like answering a question or uploading a photo if you can’t ask them to take those actions on facebook in order to enter? Can you just give a non-facebook action the way to enter a contest (like emailing the company directly) but then offer additional ways to enter by leaving comments or sharing?
    I don’t know why Facebook wouldn’t want companies to encourage interaction…it seems like that is the very thing that makes Facebook worthwhile and would encourage paid promotions.

    • Anonymous

      By using Apps! I know that on the surface, Facebook’s rules don’t make any sense, but I’m sure they’re just trying to prevent spam and make contests as effective for brands/companies as possible. I definitely need to write a follow up to this post with examples!