Learn how to run a Facebook competition, safely

Facebook.com screenshot

Don’t risk Facebook shutting down your business page by running a competition that goes against its policies. Learn the rules for easy and effective Facebook marketing.

There is no doubt running a competition or promotion on Facebook is a powerful way to enhance customer engagement, increase your fan numbers and build your database. But how many of you actually know and understand Facebook’s rules around what you can and cannot do when running a Facebook competition?

I am shocked by the number of competitions and promotions I see that are run in direct violation to Facebook’s regulations. Either businesses don’t care about the risks or, more likely, organisations simply aren’t aware of the rules.

What are Facebook’s rules on running competitions and promotions?

According to Facebook:

You will not administer a promotion through Facebook, except through an application on the Facebook Platform. Administration includes operation of any element of the promotion such as collecting entries, conducting a draw, judging entries or notifying winners.

Put simply, you cannot use any of Facebook’s features to run a competition or promotion.  This means you can’t ask people to enter a competition by liking your page, uploading a photo to your page or commenting on your status.  You also cannot choose a random fan to win a contest nor can you use Facebook’s message service to notify the winner. You can, however, use your page to link through to your competition site.

To run a competition on Facebook, you must use a third party application, one that is independent of Facebook, to collect entries and personal data.

What third party applications are available to run a Facebook competition or promotion?

A simple Google search will give you the names of plenty of third party applications (apps) through which you can run your Facebook competition. They include Snap App, Fanzilla and, probably the most well-known of all, Wildfire App.

What to look for when choosing an app to run your Facebook competition or promotion

When choosing the best app to run your Facebook competition or promotion, there are a few things you should look for:

1. A strong support team:
If Facebook competitions are new to you, look for an app that offers ongoing support.  Not only will you need someone to show you the tools to run a competition, it will help to have someone that offers strategic advice on what types of competitions will tie in best with your particular business goals.

2. User-friendly:
Look for something that is user-friendly and easy to set up. That way, if you are away, another member of your team can easily run the competition in your absence.

3. Monitoring:
As with all marketing campaigns, it is important to track the success of your Facebook promotion. Look for someone who offers a detailed breakdown of results including tracking referrals to the contest and advanced demographics of all participants.

4. Versatility in offering:
While your current campaign might be to build a database through a sign up form, in the future you might look to drive sales through coupons or engage customers with a photo competition.  Look for someone who can do it all. It will save you swapping apps each time you run a new campaign.

5. Openness around pricing:
Make sure you receive a full price breakdown before you commence your campaign. That way, you will avoid any nasty surprises at the end of your campaign.

6. Works with Facebook and microsites:
Look for an app that can work within Facebook, a microsite, or both. This will greatly benefit you if you want to direct people to an external website.

At Marketing Angels, we recently signed up as one of only two Wildfire App partners in Australia in the SME space. Now, we too can start using Facebook for competitions and promotions. After all, with over half a billion Facebook users out there, we’d be mad not to!