If you follow a business or a brand’s Facebook page, chances are pretty good you’ve seen a promotion instructing you to “like and share this post to win!” It seems like a pretty good strategy to get more eyes on your business page, right? You might even be considering running one yourself.
Unfortunately, those kinds of promotions actually go against Facebook’s terms of service and, if the page’s owner is found to be in violation of those terms, it could carry long-lasting consequences. It’s totally possible to run a promotion on Facebook, as long as you keep the platform’s terms of service in mind.
What You Can Do for a Facebook Promotion
In order for a Facebook promo or giveaway to be considered aboveboard, it has to be run from your business page. You cannot run it from your personal profile. If you don’t have an official page set up for your contracting business, now’s a perfect time to get one. You are, as of the 2018 guidelines, allowed to ask people to “like” or comment on a post to enter into your promotion. You’re also allowed to request that people post to your business page and message your page.
Asking that people like your page only if it gives them access to an entry form and asking for suggestions in exchange for an entry is totally above board as well. It’s also possible to use the “Like” function as a means of voting — for example, presenting clients with two logos and asking them to click the like button for which one they prefer to serve as an entry in your contest, giveaway or promotion.
What You Cannot Do for a Facebook Promotion
You cannot host promotions on your personal page. You are also not allowed to require that people share a page or post to enter your contest. You can’t require that they like your page as an entry in your promo, and you can’t ask them to give likes to other pages. You also cannot request that your clients tag themselves in promotional media (pictures, posts) for a chance at winning.
Page Owner Obligations When Running a Promotional Contest
Among your obligations when running a promotional contest on Facebook, you’re agreeing to release Facebook from liability and make it clear that the contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook itself. You have to clearly spell out your terms and eligibility for entry in the contest, and ensure that all terms are compliant with laws in your local area.
When you’ve chosen a winner, it’s permissible to post a status update to your page notifying them, or via comment on the promotional post itself. It’s also totally okay to reach out to the winner by any e-mail address they provided upon entry, or by tweet or an announcement on your blog or website. Sending a private message isn’t a reliable way of communicating their winning status, as Facebook filters out messages from people and pages who aren’t connected: they may never see it!
Other Options for Running a Facebook Promo
If you aren’t sure your Facebook promo is 100% above board, consider hosting the contest or giveaway on a trusted third-party app, like Rafflecopter or Heyo. The consequences of failing to keep your contest within Facebook guidelines can be dire: you could have your page temporarily silenced, your personal profile temporarily silenced (preventing you from running your business’s social media page!) or have either permanently banned from the social network entirely.
If you’re not sure if your promotional event falls within the social media site’s guidelines – which change annually – opt into a third party app for the promo.
Have you ever run a Facebook contest before?
What got your audience engaged the most?