Those of you who’ve been following along may remember our post from a few months back about the difference between sweepstakes and contests. If you’ve decided that a Facebook promotion is the next step in your online marketing campaign, regardless of the type of promotion (if you’re doing anything where you’re going to pick a “winner” then you’re having a promotion), you need to be aware of Facebook’s official Promotions Guidelines before jumping in head first.
Changes since we last wrote on this topic
Our CEO Shama wrote a similar post about the Facebook Promotion Guidelines back in 2009. As you probably know, the site has had a few facelifts since then – and its legal language hasn’t been exempt from the company-wide makeover. The biggest change is that now you do not need written permission from a Facebook account executive to hold a contest, sweepstakes, or giveaway. Previously, you needed explicit permission from Facebook to hold a promotion.
- You can’t run the promotion on your page’s wall. Facebook’s guidelines state that you must use a third-party app or a custom tab to hold your sweepstakes or contest, which leads us to…
- An action on Facebook can’t be the means of entry. For example: liking a status, liking your page, liking or uploading a photo, commenting on your wall or status, checking into your place, etc. None of these can be the means by which people are entered into your contest. You can stipulate that a person must first be a fan of your page or check into your place to enter, but it cannot be the only thing they do to enter.
- Include the required legal language. You must acknowledge that the promotion you’re running is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook. When an entrant releases their personal information to you, you must notify them that they really are releasing that information to you and not Facebook.
- Don’t contact the winner through Facebook. Seeing a theme here? Basically you can host your contest on Facebook, but they really don’t want to be a part of it in any other way. At all. Send the winner an email. Call them. Show up at their front door. Write it in the sky with an airplane. Facebook doesn’t care what you do, as long as they’re not involved.
Tips for staying on Facebook’s good side
- If you’re a non-profit, be aware that the increasingly common “like for donations” campaign is totally fine. As long as you’re holding a fundraiser and not giving anything away, you’re following the rules.
- Requiring users to “like” your page before accessing an entry form or voting on contest entries also falls under the guidelines.
- You can promote your contest on your wall and encourage people to enter. You just can’t actually hold the contest there. Promote away!
- Do not ask entrants for information that’s unrelated to entering your promotion. Facebook will take down the app hosting your promotion and, potentially, suspend your page.