Is Your Facebook Contest Legal?

Chris Marentis
Chris Marentis Founder, CEO, Surefire Social

Posted on August 1st 2014

Is Your Facebook Contest Legal?

As more small businesses get involved with Facebook, they’re using contests to engage more of their followers. Unfortunately, not all businesses follow Facebook’s official rules and guidelines for contents; in some cases, failure to follow these guidelines can put businesses at risk of having their Facebook page removed from the social network altogether.

Thankfully, Facebook has loosened its rules for contests and promotions over the last few years. Previously, Facebook forbade business users from any contests that required users to like or comment on a post, forcing them to turn to third-party apps to run their contests. Now there are fewer limitations on businesses, and you can even use Facebook advertising to make your contest reach more Facebook users’ News Feeds.

Still, local marketing experts say it’s important to make sure that any contest or promotion you develop is legal before your business launches it.

Here is a quick guide from local social media marketing experts about what’s legal and what’s not:

What’s Not Legal

·       Requiring users to share your Page to enter the contest

·       Requiring users to like your Page to enter the contest

·       Enabling users to enter a contest by tagging themselves in a photo

·       Requiring users to enter by liking another Page

·       Allow contest participants to receive additional entries by sharing information about the contest on a friend’s timeline

What Is Legal

·       Requiring users to like or comment on a post to enter

·       Requiring users to post on your Page or send a message to your Page to enter

·       Requiring users to like a Page so that they can complete a contest entry form

·       Vote for other participants by liking a photo, post or comment

·       Notifying winners through a status update or Facebook comment

Tips for Your Facebook Contest

One of the simplest ways to run a Facebook contest is to post a photo and contest details and ask followers to enter by commenting on the post. For example, you might have a new product that needs a name, and you can get users involved in the process by submitting their creative ideas. The winner in this case might receive the product for free. As people comment on the post, the contest will get more exposure.

While this method is simple and low-cost, it may be best for larger companies that can afford to spend a little money to use an application that enables them to collect email addresses and other useful data. Also, using an application can make it easier to manage large-scale campaigns.

Check the Rules before You Start

Because Facebook changes its rules for contests quite often, it’s best to check out the official guidelines before you start planning your next Facebook contest. 

Chris Marentis

Chris Marentis

Founder, CEO, Surefire Social

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, Founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses about their marketing efforts, Marentis provides insight on what it takes for small businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s evolving digital environment. His notable career includes creating the foundational blueprints for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding for AOL's Interactive Marketing group, where he served as Senior Vice President. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, Marentis developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platforms. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.


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