The Dos and Don'ts of Facebook Page Contests

If you’re confused about Facebook’s Page terms for promotions and contests, you’re not alone.

Last week I received an email from a subscriber asking about this specific example:

Facebook’s Page terms clearly say you can’t use a comment, like or share a as a condition of entry to a Page, like the above example.

But the Facebook Page terms aren’t that clear about liking a Page:

Liking a Page IS ok – This part of the TOS seems to say liking a Page is fine: “You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page.”

Liking a Page is NOT ok – This part of the TOS seems to say liking a Page is NOT fine: “You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.”

Facebook contest terms in plain English

The best way to understand these terms is this:

Don’t use updates for your contest: You cannot require someone to comment, like or share a post as the condition of entry in your contest. So don’t use any updates to run a contest.

Fan-gating to see a contest: Also, if you’re using a third-party app to host a contest on your Page, you can require they like your page to see the contest app, but they have to enter the contest through the app.

Use a Third-Party App for Entry

The best way to be “legal” with a contest is to use a third-party app.  Once they see your app (after liking a page), users can then enter the contest via the app. By the way, ShortStack has an excellent contest app.

For example, New Hampshire PetSave used ShortStack put their contest app behind a like-gate with this messaging:

Once someone liked the page, they could then “get started” with their contest entry:

In other words, you can require that they like your page to see the contest app, but liking the Page simple displays the contest app. Then they enter the contest by filling out a form or using Facebook connect.

This approach also makes sense because then you acquire emails in addition to engaging Facebook users. And building your email list is essential!

Have you run contests on your Page?

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