This blog is to help you understand the rules and guidelines behind running a legal competition on Facebook. You will also have the opportunity to download the tools you require to do so.
We are all familiar with Facebook competitions, we see numerous businesses posting them each day. Did you know there are strict rules regarding what you can and can’t ask competition entrants to do?
I apologies for the length of this blog as I don’t like to overload you with information, but THIS IS IMPORTANT. Importantly, businesses risk having their page reported and/or shut down by the platform. Trying to get it back is a NIGHTMARE. In addition, some cases may even face fines from local law enforcement for running illegal gambling contests on social media. Yes, that is right…
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, I have put together a comprehensive rundown on what to do when setting up your own competitions, as well as a downloadable T&C’s blurb you can customise for your website. Let’s get started!
HAVE YOU SEEN OR DONE THIS?
For example asks people to ‘like, share, and/or tag’ to enter a competition.
Please note: This is an actual example that I found on Facebook. However, it is not intended to shame this business. I simply like to show you real-world examples of what I am talking about.
Promotions on Pages, Groups, and Events
Communicating a Promotion
Did you know 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:
- The official rules;
- Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
- Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).
Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant; and
- Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.
Administration of a Promotion
In addition, promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. However, Personal Timelines and friend connections are not permitted to administer promotions.
(ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).
Facebook 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.
This information was reproduced from the Facebook polices document, to read more please click the button below.
How do you run a legal Facebook competition?
Firstly, there are two types of Facebook competitions, each with their own set of state government regulations that you need to be aware of.
- Chance, such as a lottery or sweepstakes – the winner is drawn at random or by some other element of chance.
- Skill, or contest – the winning entry is judged or voted for based on a skill, such as the best image, tip or answer to a question.
The ‘like to win’ promotion is the most popular, but there are numerous examples of competitions contests such as the ‘tell us in 25 words or less’ or the best photo for the win. Either way, ANY competition must be run in accordance with the below rules.
The Facebook competition rules
Running Facebook competitions or promotions such as contests or sweepstakes on your Page is allowed under the following conditions: Entries can be collected by;
- users posting on the Page wall
- people commenting on or liking a page post
- having users message the Page
- Votes for entry can be collected by ‘likes’
Read more from Facebook below.
You are not allowed to run a Facebook competition that asks for ‘share to win’ or ‘like and share to win’. You cannot ask contestants to ‘tag a friend to win’.
Recently, Facebook updated its terms to prohibit Personal Timelines or friend connections being used for promotions.
If you want to promote your competition wider than your fan base, you can ask them to share the competition post, as long as it is not a condition of entry. If you really want to widen your reach, you can look at various third-party apps with built-in viral sharing options. I detail more on these further down this newsletter.
State Government competition rules for trade promotions
It’s not just Facebook’s rules you need to be aware of, as mentioned in the introduction, there are state laws that affect social media competitions too. To further complicate matters, if your competition is open to anyone in Australia, then you need to be aware of each state’s laws regarding disclosure, notification and awarding of prizes.
For example, in some states, you will need to apply for a permit for a trade promotion lottery. You may also be required to publish the winner’s name in the newspaper. These rules are in place to ensure competitions are fair and conducted lawfully. Western Australia does not require a licence or permit, but there are other conditions to be aware of. Click the link below for more information.
Ensure you include a link to full competition terms and conditions on your website
Regardless of where you or your Facebook competition entrants are in Australia, you will need to publish competition terms and conditions. These must be clearly accessible from the post or competition page. You can include any eligibility criteria, as long as it is fair and transparent. For example, if you only want to target entrants in your local area, then put that as one of your eligibility conditions, for example, ‘This competition is open to residents of the South West of Western Australia only’.
To make this easier for you, below is a free download for the CLP Advertising Terms & Conditions form. All you need to do is fill in the red sections, chop and change to suit your needs and copy and paste the text onto your website. When you post your competition, insert the URL for people to refer to.
Here is a sample of a legal competition on Facebook.
Note: I have asked people to tag a business, but it is not part of the terms & conditions for entry. The winner will be selected by the most deserving business.
PRO TIP: Run your competition as a sponsored ad on Facebook to increase exposure so you don’t have to rely on shares to get exposer
Try using a third-party app
There are a number of third-party apps that can be useful in promoting your competition and getting around some of the restrictions Facebook imposes. Some of the benefits of third-party apps over using your Page Timeline include:
- The apps collect and store the entries then will automatically select a winner at random for chance-type competitions. This saves you keeping track of all the entries yourself.
- Customisable templates are available via these apps, enabling you to quickly create branded competition landing pages and entry forms that work beautifully and look great. You simply upload your banners and logos, then change the colour scheme and font to match.
- Some apps allow you to embed a competition entry form on your web page. You can then install the Facebook pixel to effectively cross-promote.
- Make sure your competition is easy to find with a custom Facebook tab.
- The apps allow you to collect an email address through a mailing list opt-in on your entry form. Which can then be downloaded into a spreadsheet or even uploaded directly to your email service provider such as Mailchimp, Mad Mimi or Constant Contact. With these email addresses, it is easy to contact the winner and stay in touch with entrants for future promotions.
- Some apps have viral sharing mechanisms, which means entrants can choose to let the app post in their news feed that they have entered the competition.
Facebook third-party competition apps
Below are a few third-party Facebook competition app platforms that are simple to use and essentially host your competition on Facebook for a small fee.
In summary, before you promote a Facebook competition for your business:
- For EVERY state your competition entrants are eligible, check government gaming and trade promotions guidelines to ensure you are not conducting an illegal gambling opportunity.
- Where applicable, apply for competition permits as per your local regulations.
- Clearly display competition T&C’s that comply with your state regulations.
- Check your competition is not violating Facebook’s rules. Periodically check for updates to their guidelines and stay on top of changes.