Facebook Contests: What You Need to Know


Despite an increasing awareness among digital marketers of the benefits and limitations of holding a Facebook Promotion or Contest, I’ve still seen many “illegal” contests on Facebook.

There have been a lot of changes regarding what you can and cannot do on Facebook. Likewise, a  lot of people have a lot of questions about the rules to holding a contest on Facebook – so here it goes:

Rule #1: First and Most Important

You cannot leverage the Facebook platform as a method of entry. No status updates, no comments on status updates, no “Liking” something, no photo uploads. None.

Yes, this is frustrating. These interactive elements are what Facebook does best (!). They were fun and engaging methods of entry that had real strong benefits for fans and brands alike. This is all about liability and privacy issues – somewhat of a sensitive area for Facebook. So, yes – this kind of sucks and this is why many contests out there now are “illegal” – so let’s get over it.

Rule #2: Keep it off Facebook

You may promote your contest or promotion on Facebook but it must be hosted on a 3rd party site (like your website or an app).

There a number of 3rd party apps that comply with Facebook’s rules – the most commonly used being Wildfire. There are several more 3rd party apps available as well. You can of course, host the contest on your own website – this is a good idea if you are looking to increase referral traffic to your site.

Rule #3: Follow the Rules

If you do not adhere to these rules, Facebook may freeze or shut down your page.

Take my word for it – it’s happened to me, this is how I found out about these rules 2 years ago. If you are not following Facebook’s guidelines, you run the risk of having your page shut down. Simple as that. Beyond that, not adhering to the rules makes you look out of the loop and amateurish. Lastly – this is your FAN PAGE. It belongs to the fans – don’t risk it.

Got a specific question? Contact me.


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