Categorized | Business, Social Media

How to run a successful Facebook competition

How to run a successful Facebook competition

In the last few days I have noticed a number of brands scrambling to get in touch with their customers before the Christmas rush by reaching out to them on Facebook.

A large number of these brands are sending confusing calls to action to their fans (click here, then email this person, then stand on your head whistling dixie through your eyebrows to win a wig-wam for a gooses bridal”

Ok, well, that’s a little extreme, but you know what I’m trying to get at. When creating a competition on Facebook there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Lets start with sticking to the rules…

Facebook have a number of promotional guidelines we strongly suggest you check them out before embarking on any Facebook promotion of any kind. Why? because if you don’t meet the requirements or you are in breech of any of the guidelines, Facebook can shut your page down. Its true.

Here is a quick look at what you CAN and CAN”T do… Y

ou cannot: Condition entry in the promotion upon a user providing content on Facebook, such as making a post on a profile or Page, status comment or photo upload.

You can: Use a third party application to condition entry to the promotion upon a user providing content. For example, you may administer a photo contest whereby a user uploads a photo through a third-party application to enter the contest.

You cannot: Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your Page.

You can: Only allow fans of your Page to access the tab that contains the third-party application for the promotion.

You cannot: Notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.

You can: Collect an address or email through the third-party application for the promotion in order to contact the winner by email or standard mail.

You cannot: Instruct people (in the rules or elsewhere) to sign up for a Facebook account before they enter the promotion.

You can: Instruct users to visit the third-party application to enter the promotion (as described in Section 3.4(i)). Since users must have a Facebook account in order to access an application on the Facebook Platform, if you give this instruction, they will be prompted to sign up for a Facebook account if they do not already have one.

Now, lets look at it from a  users point of view. Your brand who has been dormant with its messaging to its fans all of a sudden begins ramming sales and competition messages down its fans throats. The first thing that will happen is that people will unsubscribe from your page. You will see an immediate drop off and a slow take up on entering the said competition because your fans are confused. Make the barrier to entry low. Reduce the number of steps that they need to complete and think about it from their perspective, they have thousands of brand messages a day being projected at them, if yours is too complicated or too noisy/offensive then they just wont engage with you.

Check out this message that popped up in my Facebook feed this week…. Is your brand guilty of these facebook competition crimes? Names have been changed to protect the innocent…


This post was written by:

- who has written 421 posts on Social Media Daily- A daily blog on all things social media for small business!.

Emily Doig initially studied Arts/Design/Fashion before spending her early career working for brands like Lonely Planet and STA Travel to satiate a travel fetish. A veritable human google earth, she could tell you where to buy cheese in Paris, how to buy a push bike in Cambodia or how to get across Manhattan..FAST! As her talents and tastes matured, she left behind the constant travel and Qantas club amenities for the comforts of her own Studio. Emily now consults to a plethora of exciting Australian Brands,and waters her entrepreneurial roots with projects like

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8 Responses to “How to run a successful Facebook competition”

  1. Myles says:

    Thank you for writing this, there should be more on it for I see it all too often.

    The first rule of life/online/social media should be: Know the rules of the game (network) before you start playing in it.

    Is a little (in the scheme of things) promo really worth all the hard work and hours that have been put into your Facebook page?

    I liken Facebook to a toddler with an AK-47. They’re young with a lot of power and a lack of reasoning. You really have to be on your best behaviour with them; and in my experience even that is not enough.

    Before the days of Pages, I was an admin of a group with over 10K members. Overnight, we got pornbombed by some trolls (pictures uploaded by a troll then reported to Facebook). Group taken down. Facebook would not even entertain discussion and the decision was final.

    I then think, if you blatantly break a published rule of theirs (that is about advertising laws and money), you have no chance.

    People have to realise that Facebook is not a playground, it is a company just like yours that is accountable to the same competition and advertising laws that you are. I totally understand why they want all competitions and advertising to be approved by them. Too much is at stake for them to be dragged into it.

    I fear for companies that have commissioned agencies doing this style of campaign for them, but maybe they should keep abreast of the rules as well.

    The day Facebook decides to really enforce their rules and Pages start disappearing, will be the day the professionals get sorted from the “players” and a valuable lesson gets learnt.

  2. Do you know any good 3rd party sites to do this with please?

  3. Paul says:

    Thanks for the informative post!

  4. Matt says:

    Hi where do i get these rules and regulations from? Im really worried about this as i have competitions running with photo uploads so really need to find out straight away what the delio is- any info would really help

    • Emily Doig- Contributing Editor says:

      HI Matt
      The rules are outlined on the Facebook blog and change from time to time. Check them out each time you start running a comp.

  5. Andrew says:

    Matt, the current Facebook competitions terms and conditions are here: however as Emily stated, they do change so what may be current today may well change tomorrow so if you run competitions regularly, check each time before going live.
    Catrina, one of most known 3rd party apps for Facebook competitions / sweepstakes is Wildfire:

  6. James says:

    Great article, thanks. So the key is both ‘play by the rules’ and ‘keep it simple’.

    Is it acceptable to grant entry by having fans ‘tag’ themselves on a image on my page? You have to be a liker to do that, right?



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