In August last year, Facebook made promotions and competitions more accessible to small businesses. Avoiding going against terms and conditions however, is not so easy.
We have been contacted this week by a number of concerned Facebook Business Page managers about issues with running their Facebook Page; with Facebook’s recent change to their terms and conditions with updates continuing, I have written this guide on how to run a Facebook competition while adhering to the guidelines.
I would always preach that it is better to be safe than sorry – especially where Facebook is concerned. Facebook reserves the right to remove any Business Page, without warning for not adhering to their terms and conditions. So be careful and if you are not sure, I would not risk it!
If you would like to stop yourself being penalised by Facebook then here is your step-by-step guide to running promotion on your Facebook Business Page – within their terms and conditions.
How did Facebook’s terms and conditions regarding competitions on Business Pages change?
Before August 2013 promotions on Facebook had to be run in an external, third-party app. Facebook functionality was not allowed to be used to run a promotion.
This has changed.
You no longer need a third party app, you can use your Facebook Business Page to directly run a competition but this does not mean you can do anything that you like and certainly does not mean that you should not use an app.
How to run your Facebook competition
Please note: These rules apply to a Facebook Business Page and not a personal timeline. Competitions are not allowed to be run on personal timelines.
According to Facebook’s own post, the updates rules mean that you can:
These are the basic rules to abide by – but as is to be expected from Facebook there are some more terms and conditions you need to know about. Below is a copy of their terms and conditions as updated on December 2013:
1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
a. The official rules;
b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).
4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.
When setting up any Facebook Business Page, event or competition it is always important to read and digest the terms and conditions provided. I think the trick is – just because they do not say you cannot do something does not mean that you can.
Should I run a Facebook competition on my Timeline?
This is a question only you can answer. It is important to remember that the ‘big change’ in Facebook’s terms and conditions does not mean you can run a Facebook competition how you like.
If you are satisfied that you have met all of Facebook’s terms and conditions, meaning that you are not only using Facebook’s functionality correctly to administer your competition but that you are also providing enough information about the terms, rules and eligibility of your own competition then your competition stands a good chance of being accepted by Facebook. A great tip for ensuring you adhere to Facebook’s rules around providing information able the terms and conditions of your competition to your users is to write them either on your website or in the Facebook Notes on your Page and link to them in your post.
An external app removes the likelihood of you accidentally going against Facebook’s rules regarding functionality – say you ask people to Share to enter. It also allows you to collect more data, including the email addresses of the entrants which could allow you to more easily contact the winner of the promotion. So even though you can run a competition on your Facebook Timeline, it might still be worth using a third party app to help you along the way.
It is important to remember – second chances are not always available!
If you would like to speak to us about social media marketing, give us a call on 01159480123 or use our online contact form.