Non-technical Facebook Page owners can now breathe a sigh of relief. Facebook has finally changed their promotions guidelines so you no longer have to make apps in order to run competitions on your Facebook Page.
This is a huge change to their rules. If you’re a small business owner or run a club, you probably own a Facebook Page. You may have taken a look at Facebook’s old promotions policy, however, and wondered how you could ever run a promotion within their guidelines. You may have been avoiding running any competitions on your Facebook Page due to Facebook’s restrictions.
Good news: the promotion rules have been changed. It’s now a lot easier to run competitions without worrying about your Page getting closed down.
No More Apps Required: Entries Can Be Collected In Facebook
In order to run a competition, you used to have to ensure the data was collected outside of Facebook. Therefore, Facebook recommended that you create an app for your competition, or that you take the data-collecting elsewhere, like to your website. Not many small Facebook Pages have the manpower and talent available to make an app for every competition, so instead, people either didn’t run competitions or they broke the rules. Now, you can feel free to tell fans to like or comment on an update or photo as their entry to the competition.
No Personal Timeline Actions: No Sharing Required
Many competitions on Facebook say “Share this post to enter!” or “Share with friends for additional entries” — an action that was never allowed on Facebook. The guidelines have been modified a little to clarify, stating clearly that you must not ask anyone to share an update on their Timeline or a friend’s Timeline.
As mentioned above, though, it’s now okay to ask entrants to like an update, comment on an update, or upload photos to your Page (not their Timeline, though). So, why not use one of those methods?
Tagging on Facebook is designed to actually represent what a person looks like or has been doing. It’s not designed to be used by competitions. Facebook has put its foot down and banned Pages from encouraging improper usage of tagging.
You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (ex: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).
You Can Now Notify Winners Via Facebook
It used to be forbidden to notify the winner of a competition via Facebook, which meant you had to collect email addresses (or some other contact method) and let them know externally. If you’re not a big company, entrants were unlikely to want to give these details to you. And besides, most small Pages just don’t have the time or talent available to set up a good way of collecting these things. It was all just too hard.
But now, running your competition within Facebook is fine, and so is telling the winners via Facebook. That means no extra setup — get cracking!
Facebook Is Not Responsible
You need to make it clear that Facebook will not be held responsible for the competition, that you are not acting on behalf of Facebook and that there is no endorsement from Facebook of your competition. Facebook also states that they will not assist you with the promotion of your competition.
Limited Time Only
All offers and promotions within Facebook must be for a limited time only, with all limitations and restrictions clearly and prominently displayed. For example, age and regional restrictions must be made clear.
Even if you run the same deals over and over, they must end and be recreated for the new competition. This is probably to ensure no one update of yours gets too much attention (and that you need to pay again to promote the post, if you chose to do that).
Merchant Or Manufacturer
You must be the merchant or the manufacturer of the product you are giving away — this hasn’t changed. You can’t run a competition for a holiday package unless you’re a tourism operator who normally sells these packages.
If your offer can be redeemed by someone who is not you, you need to communicate with them directly to arrange this. In other words, don’t promise “50% Off Fries at All Burger Stores In Town!” unless you’ve actually made a deal with all the burger joints.
Offer Tool is For Offers Only
When using Facebook’s Offers tool, you must only use it for its intended purpose. Don’t use it for advertising your website or contact details. You are also not allowed to use it for offers of gift vouchers or store cards — anything that’s equivalent to cash.
Facebook Compliance Is Not Legal Compliance
Complying with Facebook’s terms is required to keep your Page running. However, just because Facebook allows it doesn’t mean it is legal. Check your local laws on promotions and offers before you run your competition. For instance, it may be illegal for a minor to receive a bottle of wine in their prize. Make sure you know your local laws before you run a competition.
On this note, you are also responsible for ensuring you comply with all lawful promotions of your competition. If your local laws require you to print the results in a local paper, then you must do so. If your local laws say you must display competition restrictions in a certain way, then you must do this.
Making Your Page Great
Check out Facebook’s Page guidelines frequently to ensure you’re always operating within the range of what’s allowed. You don’t want to do a lot of hard work on your Facebook Page only to have it shut down. Also, check out our guides on how to make your Facebook Page interesting, how to give your Facebook Page a makeover and how to add some great new tabs to your Facebook Page in order to spice things up.
Do you see people breaking the rules on their Facebook Pages? Does it bug you that they get away with it? Will you run competitions on your Page now that the rules have changed?