Facebook contests and Facebook sweepstakes are exploding.
“Like us to win an all-expense paid trip to Disney World!”
“Like us to win a $500 Visa Gift Card!”
“Like us to win a TV!”
It seems like nearly every brand or business runs “Like us on Facebook” sweepstakes in a effort to obtain more “likes” on Facebook. Does it work? Yes. From a branding standpoint, a Facebook contest or sweepstakes promotion is an easy and quick way to gain thousands of new followers. A business Facebook page has the potential to reach over 400 million active Facebook users every month. If someone sees a news feed post about a friend entering to win an Apple iPhone, it’s likely they will visit the page and enter too.
When it comes to running promotions, Facebook is one tough cookie. All contests must adhere to strict Facebook promotions guidelines that greatly limit what you can and cannot do. The Facebook contest guidelines govern the launching, publicizing and administration of all contests, sweepstakes, competitions and promotions. View the complete list of Facebook promotion rules.
Here’s a brief summary of Facebook’s promotion guidelines if you consider running a contest on Facebook:
1. All Facebook contests must include:
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
- Acknowledge that Facebook does not have any affiliation with the promotion. Example: Facebook® and Like™ are trademarks of Facebook, Inc. Facebook, Inc. does not sponsor, endorse, administer, or associate with this promotion in any way.
- Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. Example: Participants acknowledge that they are providing their information to Sponsor and not to Facebook.
2. What you can’t do with Facebook promotions:
- You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
- You must not base the winner or entries upon the user liking a Wall post, commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
- The “Like” button or any other FB features cannot be used as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
Violating the rules can result in permanent removal of your Facebook page. While it’s true that some companies have successfully launched and completed “illegal” Facebook contests, Goebel Group strongly advises against breaking the Facebook contest rules. Losing access to the Facebook platform is not worth the risk. Sure, there’s hundreds of thousands of brands on Facebook, so it’s possible Facebook may not notice. However…Remember your competitors! A competing company can easily discover your contest and report it to Facebook.
So, how are companies running “Like Us” promotions if they supposedly violate Facebook contest rules? They administer Facebook contests via third-party apps on the Facebook platform. By using a third-party app, Facebook assumes no liability. Therefore, companies can run a variety of Facebook promotions that utilize Facebook features such as the “Like” button without violating the Facebook promotion guidelines. Technically, the Facebook contest is run on a third-party app, not Facebook.
The moral of the story is to play it safe and always use a third-party app for Facebook contests.