Running a prize promotion on Facebook

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about how to running a prize promotion on Facebook prize promotion, but it’s a topic worth revisiting, partly because the rules are updated from time to time, and partly because those rules mean it’s not quite as easy as you might think to use the social media platform as a launchpad for your promo.

Before I go through some of the ways in which you can’t use Facebook, let’s begin with where you’ll find the above-mentioned rules. Facebook’s Pages, Groups and Events Policies should be your starting point and there’s a lot of useful information here, but section 3 focuses specifically on promotions.

A matter of policy

The first statement in section 3 is: ‘If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion, you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion.’ That puts the responsibility for running a legal promotion firmly on the promoter, which means your promotion needs official rules; terms and conditions which set out all requirements or exclusions in terms of age, location and so on; and it must comply with any relevant regulations governing promotions, which in the UK would be the CAP Code.

None of that is at all unreasonable. In fact, it is standard for any well-run promotion and certainly for any promotion run by Prizeology. However, Facebook puts great emphasis on making it crystal clear that any third-party promotions are not connected to the platform and it insists that you include: ‘Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.’

The obvious place for this, again, is the terms and conditions, and your Ts&Cs also need to state that by entering the promotion each participant releases Facebook from any liability associated with it. Along the same lines, Facebook notes that it will not assist you in the administration of your promotion and underlines that ‘If you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.’

Don’t use Facebook functionality

So far so relatively straightforward, but now we come to the aspects of running a promotion on Facebook that we at Prizeology find would-be promoters tend not to be so aware of. Facebook policy explicitly stages that personal timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions, so ‘share on your timeline to enter’ or ‘share on your friend’s timeline to receive additional entries’ or ‘tag your friends in this post to enter’ are not permitted.

What is key here is that you can’t use the functionality of Facebook itself as part of the entry mechanism. If you do, you’re breaking Facebook rules. If Facebook catches you it might suspend your page or even delete it and throw you off the platform. Granted, it doesn’t seem to do this very often, but since over 80 million small businesses around the world have Facebook pages, and that’s not even factoring in medium-sized or large businesses, I’m not sure we’d hear about it if a number of those were banned.

Frankly, most businesses would want to keep a ban like that quiet anyway and it’s just not worth the potential reputational damage that could come from being sanctioned by Facebook. Stick to the rules and if Facebook says sharing or tagging friends can’t be used as an entry method for a promotion, then accept that.

Also on the downside, I think Facebook users are much more concerned about data privacy than they used to be, so they keep their accounts private, meaning it can be tricky to track every share anyway. Now given all this you might decide that if Facebook is going to be difficult, you won’t bother with it, but with 2.7 billion active monthly users around the globe it still has incredible power – if used in the right way.

How to run a Facebook promotion

On the upside then – and this might seem rather radical – Facebook is where many people get their ‘news’ from these days, so you can definitely use Facebook to publicise a promotion you have running on another channel, whether it’s online or offline.

At the end of the day it’s all about engagement and there are numerous promotional formats that you can use to drive engagement, from prize draws and photo contests to quizzes and caption competitions. There’s also nothing stopping you politely asking people to like your page, share your content or tag their mates in a comment. If they then spontaneously decide to tell their Facebook friends about it, that’s fine – just don’t make that a condition of entry.

If you’d like Prizeology to help you improve your customer engagement via Facebook and make sure you stay on the right side of Facebook’s promotions rules, give us a call on 020 7856 0402 or email us via hello@prizeology.com

Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist. 

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