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Thinking Of Running A Contest On Facebook? Here’s What You Need To Know

 Facebook can be a terrific way to engage with your fan base. Like I always say, if your fans hang out on social media sites, then you should too. And one really effective tool for creating a buzz around your brand is to set up an online contest or promotion.

Not only will this get more people talking about your brand or business online, but you will be able to generate extra publicity through PR activities as well.
On February 29 2012, Facebook issued a revision to its ‘Pages terms and conditions’, which included the running of competitions and promotions through the site.

Basically, if you want to run a contest through Facebook you cannot now:

♦ Randomly select one of your ‘fans’ to win a prize
♦ Ask your fans to vote for a picture or post which appears on your Facebook page
♦ Inform someone that they have won a prize through Facebook

And yes, people are still doing this stuff. I’ve personally come across several incidences just this week, where companies were either unwittingly, or willfully contravening the new regulations.

But let me ask you, would you knowingly want to flout the rules when the consequences of your actions could mean losing your Facebook Page – for good? This could be seriously bad news if you’ve spent time and money building up an impressive following.

Something else you should be aware of: to fully comply with Facebook’s new rules you also need to install a third-party social media promotions app such as Wildfire. No problem whatsoever if you’re a large corporate. But for small businesses who might only run one promotion or contest every six months or so, the ongoing costs could be highly prohibitive.

So what can you do about it?

Well, one way around this bugbear would be to host your contest or promotion on your company’s website or blog. You could easily get an optimised landing page made up and put on to your site through which people could enter your contest.

Then you can simply advertise the details to your fans over on your Facebook page and include a link to your ‘squeeze page’.  You can also use other social media like Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to promote your contest where appropriate.

Because you will not be asking your Facebook fans to complete any actions on Facebook itself, you cannot be said to be breaking any rules and therefore you cannot be penalised.

If you want to make it abundantly clear that not only do you understand Facebook’s latest rules, but that you are keen to be seen to play by them, you could simply add a disclaimer.

Say something along the lines of: “Please note:- this competition is not endorsed, administered, sponsored by, or in any way associated with Facebook.”

So now, go right ahead and start planning that exciting contest that will delight your fans.