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11 Tips to Run a Successful (and Legal) Facebook Contest

Are you breaking Facebook law?

Don’t get scared. While Facebook “law” isn’t technically a real thing, you may be breaking the rules when it comes to running a Facebook contest. You’re probably not doing it on purpose, either. Chances are, you’re using tactics which you believe will bring in the most participants, as well as optimal engagement. However, according to a new infographic featured on All Facebook, you may be missing the mark completely.

Like any company, Facebook has rules when it comes to running a contest through their platform. So, what are some ways to run a successful, and legal, Facebook contest? Read on to uncover some simple tips!

1. Map out your Facebook contest- Clearly, it’s important to map out your Facebook contest. What do you want the outcomes to be? How can people enter? What will they gain as a result of their participation? By mapping out your contest thoroughly, you’ll have a better chance at staying on track.

2. Use a management systems- Management platforms, such as AgoraPulse and Shortstack, make the contest process as easy as possible by providing capabilities like analytics and tracking. They also help you comply to Facebook’s Terms of Services.

3. Host your promotion in multiple (approved) places- It’s OK to host your promotion on a custom Facebook Page app or on your Page’s timeline. It’s not OK to do so on your personal Facebook profile.

4. Advertise– This one is a given. Advertising your contest on Facebook not only gives it more exposure, it can also bring in new and loyal followers for the future (using an advertising management platform like AdEspresso, wouldn’t hurt either!)

5. Give followers an easy way to act – Allow your audience to enter your contest in the easiest way possible, such as liking a post, commenting on an update, clicking on an ad to learn about the contest, posting on your Page, or liking a Page to access an entry form. Methods such as asking users to share your Page or like multiple Pages are not allowed.

6. Provide participation incentives- Everyone likes an incentive! Whether it’s a prize at the end of the contest or a social shoutout along the way, giving your audience a reason to enter your contest may be the push they need to actually participate.

7. Include the official rules, terms, and eligibility information – Even if your official rules are long and full of legal speak, it’s important to include them in your contest so participants know exactly how to enter or how they can win the contest. If you don’t do this, you may run into problems, such as multiple winners (when you weren’t expecting them).

In addition, part of the official rules comes terms and eligibility information. For example, the user should be a certain age or resident of your city or country to be eligible to win.    

8. Comply with regional laws- While the Internet may seem like a country of its own, you still have to follow the rules of your region. For example, offering an unlimited supply of beer to a 15-year old in the U.S. is not only illegal, it’s also pretty irresponsible.

9. Acknowledge that the contest isn’t sponsored by Facebook – This one is very important. Although Facebook is “hosting” the contest, you must note that it is not endorsed or sponsored by them. Going the opposite direction could land you in some hot legal trouble.

10. Send emails to contest winners- While it’s in good taste to announce winners on your Facebook Page, you should still email contest winners. This gives them multiple chances to find out they’ve won.   

11. Always evaluate- No matter if your contest was successful or not, always evaluate the results. This will allow you to do better the second time around, whether you advertise more or give followers alternative ways to act.

While running a Facebook contest may seem intimidating, they can be highly beneficial if you stick to the rules. Let me know how you run an effective Facebook contest in the comments below!