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How to run a Facebook competition, within the rules

November 27 2018

Picture showing the Facebook log-in page

The rules around hosting a Facebook competition have changed a few times over the years, and whenever I help a client run one, I make sure I’m up to speed on what is and isn’t currently allowed.

I also like to check out other competitions to see if there are any good ideas I can adopt or borrow from.

It always surprises me just how many organisations, including some very big names, flout Facebook rules. The most common format is “like, share and tag a friend in this post”, which you may be surprised to learn is not allowed.

Should Facebook decide to crack down, the pages could find these sorts of posts deleted, or worse. So for starters, here, according to Facebook’s latest rules, are the no-nos.

What should I not do?

  • Run a competition on a personal page.
  • Ask people to tag themselves or friends in a post in which they are not depicted.
  • Ask people to share or post something on their personal timeline.

As you can see, many of the competitions you see on Facebook are breaking these rules.

What should I do?

Now you know what you’re not supposed to do, what you really want to know is what can you include. To enter your competition, you can ask people to:

  • like a page post
  • post on your page
  • comment on a post
  • message the page

Although you can’t make it a condition of entry, you could encourage people to follow the page (so they can check back and see who the winner is), and you could say something like, ‘let your friends and family know so they can enter too’. You just can’t say that these are ways of entering the competition.

Facebook also specifies a couple of disclaimers you must include, basically to make it clear Facebook itself has nothing to do with the competition.

And finally…

If you are going to run a competition and put time and money into offering a great prize and promoting it, here are a few tips to get the most out of it.

  • Offer a prize which will be valued most by your target customer or supporter – offering an iPad or generic high-value prize might bring in lots of entries, but are you going to retain those people once the competition is over?

If you’re a decorating shop and your prize is wallpaper, at least you know the people entering the competition are either in want or need of wallpaper, or at least open to the idea of decorating. They are more likely to become customers in future than someone who just loves to win random things online.

  • Use your competition as a chance to carry out some market research. If you are trialling a few new products, ask entrants to pick their favourite as the way of entering. Or you could ask people to suggest names for a new product or service – it might even go viral; Boaty McBoatface anyone?
  • Boost your post, even if you only have a small budget. If you are based in a specific area, you can get quite specific with your targeting to reach your ideal customers or supporters, from age and gender through to interests they have listed on their profile.

And don’t forget the basic rules of social media engagement – use appealing images where you can, keep text fairly short, and think about your target customer or supporter, and the sort of content which will appeal to them.

Happy competition hosting!

By Hannah Upton

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