Everybody’s doing it, right?
Yep, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right.
I’m talking about Facebook contests. There are tons of people out there that are running “like this post to win” types of contests. You know the ones: they post up a photo of something, and ask you to like, comment or share to win that prize. Seems like they’re everywhere on Facebook. Yours truly has even run some of them.
Or what about the, “when this page gets 1,000 likes, we’ll give one of you a prize!”??
However. According to Facebook’s terms of service, running these kinds of contests is illegal. I’ve been lucky–flying under the radar, because I’m dealing primarily with small businesses. BUT. If you get caught, Facebook could shut your page down, and I don’t know about you, but I have worked really, really hard to build up my “likes,” and it would kill me to lose them all and have to start from scratch.
So. Here are some things to keep in mind when running a (legal) Facebook contest:
- You must use a third-party app to gather the information. This includes the person’s email address, so that you can properly notify the winner. In the past, when I’ve run those (illegal! sorry!) FB “like this post to win” contests, I’ve done a random draw, and then tried to contact the winner, and it just never seems to work. However, if you have the person’s email address, you’re good to go. I use one called Short Stack, and I’ll give you more info on that on Thursday.
You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
- None of your contest entries can be contingent upon “liking” or “sharing.” Some third-party apps, however, can help you to create a contest that will generate extra entries if the contest is shared. Or can “like-gate” your page so that they have to ‘like’ the page in order to be entered. Check out this current contest that Travelzoo is running on their page.
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.
- You also cannot have a contest be decided on the amount of “likes” a certain photo (for example) gets.
You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
For more information about dos and don’ts of running a Facebook contest, check out their terms of service.
On Thursday, I’ll guide you through a tutorial of Short Stack and show you how to create a legal contest for your page. Oh–and check out my totally legal current Facebook contest. I’m giving away a copy of my new book!