The winning formula for Facebook competitions

5 minute read

Facebook is the social media platform of choice for competitions. If you are a fan of a business or brand on Facebook, chances are you’ve been asked to ‘like this picture’, ‘share this status’ and ‘enter your details’ to win prizes. Back in August 2013, Facebook overhauled its competition guidelines, giving page owners more freedom for their competitions. Now’s your chance to brush up on your dos and don’ts for running the perfect Facebook competition.

Get apps or get out

Then – Under the old rules, competitions had to be run through a third-party app rather than directly on the page. There are lots of Facebook-specific apps out there, or you could utilise something like our integrated data capture forms. These apps allow for further restrictions, such as having to ‘like’ the page before entering the competition.
Now – Competitions can be posted straight onto your brand page’s timeline – but Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions. This means that you can’t ask users to share an image or status in order to enter (although encouraging them to share the competition with their friends is, of course, still recommended!).

Liking isn’t enough

Then – Facebook specifically stated that ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ cannot count as votes – i.e., just clicking ‘like’ on the picture or status did not qualify as an entry to the competition. Users had to do more: comment on the picture, or enter their details into a form, for instance.
Now – Facebook entries can now be gathered by ‘likes’, ‘comments’, or by users sending private messages to the page, as well as utilising your own voting mechanism through an app.

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Tag your friends!

Then – It was popular to ask users to tag themselves or their friends in an image as part of the entry process. The best example of this was IKEA’s campaign in 2011, wherein the Swedish manufacturer gave away the contents of a showroom image to the first person who tagged themselves on the item. This tagging method cleverly meant that word of the competition could spread much faster, as those who were tagged by friends would invariably tag more friends to have a better chance of winning.
Now – ‘Tag to enter’ is now officially out, in order to maintain the accuracy of Page content – in other words, to ensure images were tagged depending on who was actually in the picture. While this curbs the tagging butterfly effect to some extent, it is likely to be popular with a lot of users who become frustrated at inaccurate tagging notifications.

Of course there are some rules which haven’t changed. The company administering the promotion is still fully responsible for it adhering to Facebook’s terms, any restrictions applied to the prizes, and of course the law. In addition, winners cannot be notified over Facebook; they have to be contacted outside the platform. A solution to this is to ask for the entrants’ email addresses, which is also a good way to bolster your mailing lists – providing, of course, that you also gain the entrants’ permission to carry on contacting them after the contest. Most people entering your competition will be interested in your brand, making them the perfect additions to your mailing lists. You’ll quickly change their minds if you add them without asking them first.

In summary, with a little extra attention to detail and a bit of creativity, Facebook’s new competition rules should open few new doors to small businesses relying on the word-of-mouth techniques offered by social media marketing. If you’re new to using Facebook or other social platforms for your marketing, you can get some hints and tips in our coffee break guide to social media. Do you use Facebook to run competitions for your business? Do you think the new rules are a good thing, or have they impacted you some other way? Please share any comments or experiences in the comments below!