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Facebook Competitions and the rules you MUST know before you do them

Ever thought about running a competition on Facebook to help build your brand, attract new customers and increase your following?

Well competitions are a fantastic way to do just that, in fact many big and small businesses have had huge success with running competitions on Facebook, it is certainly a powerful marketing strategy.

But before you go running off and set up a competition on Facebook, there is stuff you need to know first, or you risk breaking the Facebook competition rules and might get your page shut down by Facebook.

So when it comes to Facebook competitions it is not as simple as you might think, and many businesses run off and set up competitions before they find out how they are supposed to be run and what rules they need to follow.

In fact many of the competitions that are currently being run on Facebook are not running according to Facebook’s rules and guidelines and they run the risk of getting their page shut down by Facebook and losing their fan base and all the work they have put in to building their Facebook presence.

So here is a quick run down on what you can and can’t do with Facebook competitions.

Note: Facebook does change their rules and guidelines, so I always recommend you check out their latest Promotions Guidelines here when you are looking at running a competition.

  1. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Essentially, if you want to run a competition on Facebook you have to do it through an app. You can’t run a competition or contest on your fan/business page by just getting someone to “like” your page, or comment on your wall, or tag themselves in a photo. ANY competition or content that is being run on Facebook must be done through an app.
  2. Promotions on Facebook must also include the following:
    1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    2. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
    3. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to your business/page and not to Facebook.
  3. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry. This one is a big one that you need to pay attention to, because this is where people are usually breaking the rules. You can’t use Facebook functionality (liking a page, checking in to a location or tagging yourself in an image, commenting on a post) to automatically enter people into your competition or contest.
  4. If you are running a competition where people vote for their favourite contestant, then you can’t use a Facebook functionality (such as using the Like button) to determine the winner either.
  5. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages. Really the only way you can notify winners is by email (or phone) which means that you need to collect that information when they enter the competition. This can really restrict the number of people you get entering your competition or contest because it does require them to give up their email and contact details, but unfortunately that’s one of the rules that Facebook has set, so make sure you are following it.

So that’s a quick run down of some of the rules and guidelines that you need to follow to ensure Facebook doesn’t shut your page down for violating their Terms of Service.

If you are put off by all of this, then I don’t blame you! It is not as simple and straight forward as you first thought to go out there and implement a competition on Facebook.

However, there is an alternative that you could do to still run a successful competition, take Facebook out of the loop, and still use Facebook to promote the competition, which is running the competition on your website rather than running it on Facebook.

If you run a competition on your website – so people visit your website and enter the competition or contest there, then you are not obligated to follow the rules of Facebook, but you can of course promote the competition on Facebook through your personal profile, your business page, and possibly Facebook ads if your ad and your webpage comply with the Facebook rules for advertising!

Would love to hear your comments (just type in your comment below) about your experience with Facebook competitions and whether you were aware that these rules even existed.


Kim Baird

Author Kim Baird

Kim Baird is an inspirational speaker, award winning author, transformational coach and entrepreneur. Kim has helped thousands of people to transform their lives and their businesses for the better. She has a passion for living life full out by her own rules and absolutely loves helping others to do the same. Kim specialises in transforming people’s ‘Inner Game’ to get them unstuck, expanding and creating more than they thought possible.

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Janice Baird says:

    Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ Kim. I think putting it on the website is a great idea. Now I need to put my thinking cap on and think about what kind of competition I can do!

  • lewis says:

    A competition can be so beneficial, especially to small businesses that are just starting on Facebook. But like you said, there are alot of important things you should know before you run one, so it’s usually best to outsource your competition as it can be time consuming.

    My favourite type of facebook competition are the ones where you play a game to win. For example BrandBang have a game on facebook and you use this game to earn points to give you a better chance of winning a prize. The reason i like the game approach, is because even if you lose you still enjoyed yourself.

    So, if you have the skills or funds to run a facebook competition via a game, I suggest you do.

    What do you think Kim?

  • Hi Kim, for competitions in Australia, many states require a permit (competitions are technically known as ‘trade lotteries’ in New South Wales), if the competition is a random chance draw. Just pointing this out as many small Aussie businesses that run a competition on Facebook could be doing so without a permit.

    • Kim Baird says:

      Great advice there, and definitely something that people should know about. This post is simply covering the rules and regulations that Facebook opposes, but definitely business owners need to be aware of any other rules and regulations that apply in their own Country.