March 21, 2013

Facebook Page contests: What you can and can’t do

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The dos and don’ts of hosting a Facebook contest

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, marketers, Web publishers, marketers.

John HaydonIf you’re confused about Facebook’s terms for promotions and contests allowed on your page, you’re not alone.

The other day I received an email from a subscriber asking about this specific example:

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The terms clearly say you can’t use a comment, like or share a as a condition of entry to a page, like the above example.

But the Facebook Terms of Service aren’t that clear about liking a page:

Liking a page IS all right – This part of the Terms of Service seems to say liking a page is fine: “You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page.”

Liking a page is NOT all right – This part of the Terms of Service seems to say liking a page is not fine: “You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.”

Scott Ayers had this to say in a recent discussion about this language: “I take it as meaning you cannot require someone to comment, like or share a post. But you can require they like your page to see the contest via an app.”

Use a third-party app for entry

The best way to make sure your contest abides by Facebook’s rules is to use a third-party app. Once they see your app (after liking a page), users can then enter the contest via the app. ShortStack has an excellent contest app.

In other words, you can require that they like your page to see the contest app, whereby liking the page simply displays the contest app. Then they enter the contest by filling out a form or using Facebook Connect.

This approach also makes sense because then you acquire emails in addition to engaging Facebook users. Remember: Building your email list is essential!

Have you run contests on your page?

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John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter or leave a comment.

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