One of the most effective tactics you can use to engage your audience, gain exposure and grow your following on Facebook is by running a contest or giveaway.
Running a contest on Facebook is an outstanding promotional strategy, but if you decide to take this approach you need to ensure that you're adhering to Facebook's promotional guidelines.
To help you get your promotion underway we're going to take you through everything you need to know to run a policy compliant contest and give you some best practice tips to make sure you're getting as much value as possible from your campaign.
Facebook's Promotion Policies
Before you run a Facebook contest it's a good idea to make sure you're familiar with Facebook's promotion policies. You can read them in their entirety here, but we'll take you through all of the important points you need to know before running a contest.
When you run promotion on Facebook you need to be aware of the fact that you are responsible for determining and communicating the terms, conditions and eligibility of your promotion.
If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
- The official rules;
- Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
- Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).
It's a good idea to put together some official terms and conditions before you launch your contest. This will make administering your promotion manageable and ensure that things run smoothly.
Your terms and conditions should include:
- Who is eligible to enter
- How users can enter your promotion
- A description of the prize
- How winners will be selected
- How prizes will be distributed
- A timeline of key dates including when entries open and close, when winners will be chosen, and when prizes will be distributed
If you're running your promotion on your Facebook timeline it's a good idea to put together a landing page with all of your terms and conditions, as well as any additional information about your contest. This will save you from having to include too much dense content in your contest post.
In addition to the other terms and conditions we have already recommended that you include, you are also required to clarify that your promotion has no affiliation with Facebook.
Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant; and
- Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.
In addition to this, Facebook also makes it clear that they will not assist you with your promotions.
Facebook will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.
When you run a promotion on Facebook there are several actions you cannot ask users to complete in order to enter your contest.
Promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted).
This essentially means that you can't ask users to:
- Share one of your posts
- Post on a friend's timeline
- Tag people in posts
- Change their cover photo
While you may have been hoping to use a contest to drive some of these actions, there are plenty of other highly effective actions you can drive and contests you can run on Facebook.
Since 2013 businesses have been allowed to run contests and giveaways directly from their Facebook timelines. All you need to do is make a post explaining your promotion, provide some terms & conditions and tell people how they can enter. This makes it possible for you to set up and run quick and easy contests which will engage your audience and encourage action.
What You Can Ask For
When you run a contest on your timeline you're prohibited from asking users to share posts, post on others' timelines or tag friends in posts, but there are plenty of other powerful actions you can ask them to complete.
The most commonly used actions you can ask users to complete to enter a promotion are liking and commenting on your post. Encouraging users to like and/or comment on your post to enter is a great way to generate exposure for both your promotion and your Facebook page which will help you reach a new audience and build awareness.
You are also allowed to ask users to enter a promotion by:
- Posting on your timeline
- Messaging your page
- Checking in at a location
The Pros & Cons
The main upside of running a contest directly from your Facebook timeline is how quick, easy and cheap these promotions are to create and administer. Timeline contests are ideal for when you want to run a simple promotion which will give you a burst of engagement.
Timeline contests aren't without their own downside though:
- Contacting winners can be difficult as you will have to tag them in a post and ask them to send you a message.
- You have to manually track, administer and validate all entries
- Actions you can drive are limited to inside Facebook
All of these challenges can be easily overcome by opting to run your Facebook contest using a 3rd party app.
Picking Winners For Your Facebook Contests
Find out all the best ways to pick winners for your Facebook contests and see how 3rd party apps can take your campaign to the next level.Let's Go
3rd Party App Contests
The most effective way to run a contest on Facebook is by using a 3rd party app such as Gleam. When you run a Facebook contest with a 3rd party app you can host the contest on your own website and use Facebook to promote the campaign and drive traffic towards it.
Using 3rd party apps will allow you to easily build and manage powerful contests which will drive an array of actions, engage your fans and aid your growth on Facebook and beyond.
Facebook's Platform Policy
Any 3rd party apps you use to run a Facebook contest will have to adhere to the Facebook Platform Policy. These are the guidelines that developers must comply with when building their Facebook app.
The Platform Policy outlines what actions can and cannot be incentivised by 3rd party apps.
Only incentivize a person to log into your app, enter a promotion on your app’s Page, check-in at a place, or to use Messenger to communicate with your business. Don’t incentivize other actions.
This means that when you use a 3rd party app you can't:
- Ask users to Like a Page
- Ask users to post to Facebook
- Incentivize the use of Social Plugins (i.e. Like or Share buttons)
- Award incentives for sharing posts or pages
Don’t incentivize people to like a Page, or give the impression that liking a Page will be rewarded.
Don't incentivize people to post content on Facebook, or give the impression that posting to Facebook will be rewarded. For example, don’t give people anything in exchange for them posting to Facebook (i.e. don’t give or promise virtual goods, achievements, coupons, discounts, access to content or extra entries in a promotion, if they post content to Facebook).
What can and cannot be asked of users entering contests is outlined here.
Despite these restrictions, using a 3rd party app to run your Facebook contest is still a great idea. You can still incentivise loads of other powerful actions and enjoy a whole lot of other benefits.
What You Can Ask Users to Do
When you run a Facebook contest with Gleam you can incentivise a range of powerful actions which are all compliant with Facebook's Platform Policy.
You can ask users to:
- Visit a Facebook page (and optionally like it)
- View a Facebook post
- Check in at a location
- Select one of their photos from Facebook
Check out this demo to get an idea of what your own contest could look like:
In addition to these Facebook actions, when you use Gleam to run your contest you will also be able to drive an array of other powerful actions such as website visits, interaction on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, newsletter subscriptions, viral shares and much more.
Upside of Using Gleam
When you use a 3rd party app such as Gleam to run your Facebook contest the campaign can be hosted outside of Facebook. This comes with several huge advantages:
- You can incentivise Facebook actions as well as other powerful actions outside of Facebook
- Gleam makes it easy to ask users for optional Likes without incentive
Gleam automatically adds the Facebook release to your terms and conditions
You can run the campaign on your website and drive traffic to it from multiple sources, increasing participations and encouraging your audience to visit your website
- It's significantly easier to track entries and draw winners
- You can choose to run your contest in a Facebook tab if you have over 2,000 followers or more