Avoid Facebook’s Bad Side… Use an App – Facebook Sweepstakes: Part 2

Everywhere you look, businesses are advertising a new Facebook promotion.  We offered up a variety of contest ideas in our last webinar, Keep the Holidays Jolly with Social Media Marketing

These promotions are a Win Win.  Fans get the opportunity to vie for prizes and interact with their favorite brands, while businesses grow their fan base and engage in a fun way with their customers. 

What most people don’t realize is that there are very strict Facebook Promotions Guidelines. Ignoring these rules can turn an opportunity into a nightmare if Facebook suspends or deletes your account for violating Facebook Terms of Use.  Facebook apps have been designed to make your promotions look polished, while keeping you out of trouble. AppBistro lists promotion apps from several different creators at different price points.  Shortstack offers a free account option to get you started.  A good app and a basic understanding of Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines will keep you out of hot water.

This is NOT a Facebook promotion!

All of Facebook’s Rules come back to a single idea:  They do not want to be associated with your promotion!  In other words, make it abundantly clear to your entrants that Facebook does not sponsor or endorse your promotion.  Find an app that takes care of the fine print, like clearly stating that the info being provided is for you, not Facebook.

Your Wall is not the place for a promotion

You can’t simply post a promotion on your Wall or ask Fans to post photos or comments to your Wall as a condition of your contest.  Facebook considers this as using “Facebook features or functionality” to participate in your promotion.  Apps can create a special tab for entrants to do things like vote or upload photos so that it’s not directly on your Wall.

No “Liking” Allowed… or is there?

Let’s face it, the primary goals of a Facebook promotion are both to grow and engage your fan base.  Facebook says you CANNOT ask Fans to Like your Page in order to enter your promotion.  However, you CAN ask people to Like your Page in order to view more information about your sweepstakes.  Apps with a fan gate will require entrants to Like your Page in order to view the content on the promotion tab and then enter.  This way, you still get those new Likes without breaking any rules.

Don’t let certain words get you in trouble

Most apps give you the option of customizing text to explain your promotion.  Think very carefully about the wording of your promotion.  Facebook even differentiates between “contest” and “sweepstakes.”  If your winner is chosen entirely by chance, like a random drawing, then you’re holding a “sweepstakes.”  If your promotion requires any kind of skill, like playing a game or submitting photos, then you’re holding a “contest.”

Did you know that the word “Wall” falls under Facebook’s copyrights and trademarks?  When advertising your promotion, or writing the text for your contest app, play it safe and avoid using words like “Wall” and “Like” in association with your contest.

Collect Email Addresses!

When Facebook says they don’t want you to use “Facebook features or functionality” in association with your promotion, they are referring to more than just Likes!  You cannot notify your winners by posting on your Wall, their Wall, or even messaging them through Facebook.  You have to find an alternative way to announce the winner, like sending an email or calling them.

The rules surrounding Facebook promotions can be intimidating, but don’t let them dissuade you from coming up with your own promotions!  Contests and sweepstakes are an incredible way to attract new Fans, interact with your customers and make your Page a little more fun!  A simple app will help you avoid any pitfalls and remove a lot of the guesswork.   If you’re STILL unsure about what’s right or wrong, send us an email and we’ll point you in the right direction.  

Don’t miss out on Part 1: Nothing Says “Happy Holidays” like Free Stuff!  Facebook Sweepstakes

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One thought on “Avoid Facebook’s Bad Side… Use an App – Facebook Sweepstakes: Part 2

  1. [...] If you’re thinking about creating your own Facebook sweepstakes, read tomorrow’s blog,  Facebook Sweepstakes: Part 2, for some guidelines to keep yourself out of hot water.    Share this:TwitterFacebookLike [...]

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