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Facebook Promotions: Do's and Don'ts

August 13, 2012  

It can be amazingly confusing to run a contest on a Facebook Page. But breaking any Facebook Terms may result in your page being shut down—so you have to step lightly.

To help promoters facing the Facebook challenge, Social Media Today's Genevieve Lachance has given us a list of things you MUST do, CAN do, and CAN'T do when conducting a fun diversion at the site.

Here are just a handful of her tips; read the full article for more valuable direction plus suggestions for some interesting apps to help run your promo or contest.

  • You MUST administer all contests, promotions, and sweepstakes on Facebook via a third-party application. Never use the Facebook platform itself, including your Page wall, the Events app, Groups, or any other Facebook functionality to run your promotion. (Note that a third-party application also includes any applications you create yourself.)
  • You MUST include a complete Facbeook release as well as acknowledgement that the promotion is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • You MUST present clear contest rules that are visible directly on your application Page.
  • You CAN have users Like your Page, check into a Place, or connect to your app before joining your promotion—as long as the latter is administered through a third-party application and isn't used as a voting mechanism or a registration for your promotion.
  • You CAN collect names and emails from entrants. (This is recommended, particularly for contacting winners afterward.)
  • You CAN'T contact winners via Facebook (including via direct messaging, Facebook chat, posting on the winner's wall, or posting on your own Page wall).
  • You CAN'T choose a fan for a random draw--since you would need to use Facebook to collect your entries. Find a way to perform the function through a third-party app.

The Po!nt: Face it: It's easy enough to suggest a Facebook contest or promotion, but conducting one comes with a whole laundry list of rules to adhere to on both the site-wide and local levels. Make sure you're savvy before taking the leap; it'll save you a lot of grief!

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  • by Carla Mon Aug 13, 2012 via web

    These are great tips and what I've always known to be true, but I see small businesses and large organizations alike doing Facebook contests without using a 3rd party app all the time -- the picture with the most 'likes' wins; the comment with the most 'likes' wins. Are there exceptions to the rules? Or is it just a general lack of knowledge on what the rules are -- or that there even are rules?

  • by Ramiro Rodriguez Mon Aug 13, 2012 via web

    I just attended a very good Facebook ads webinar by Denise Wakeman and Amy Porterfield. Your article gave me advice on the other side of Facebook and I feel like I a good FB marketing tutorial with all you guys.

  • by Rishi Tue Aug 14, 2012 via web

    Hi Carla, while you're right that liking or commenting for a prize is against Facebook policy, it's not uncommon to find brands still practice this. Like you pointed out, it is due to a lack of knowledge of what the rules are, because from my experience, I didn't learn about it until I attended a Facebook Marketing webinar. My previous organization used to give stuff away all the time for comments and likes (and they still do).

    Check out our social media cheat sheets at

  • by Steven Thu Aug 16, 2012 via web

    Great article. One definitely has to be very careful as a block by Facebook can have a lot of consequences for a business online. Always better to be informed and follow Facebook's guidelines to the letter.

  • by Ryan Key Sun Aug 26, 2012 via web

    Great post, I will keep these tips in mind until Facebook changes there whole advertising platform again in a few months.

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