Let’s get this out of the way first: Facebook isn’t the only way to connect with your audience through social media. And on Facebook, contests aren’t the only way to gain engagement from your fans.
BUT, seeing as Facebook is probably the most visible, prevalent and well-known social media platform, and bearing in mind that many brands constantly run contests as a way of shoring up likes or creating short-term spikes in engagement, we felt it would be pertinent to touch on some things you may be doing that are in direct violation of Facebook’s terms of service.
In other words, actions that may cause your page to be shut down or barred for contravening Facebook’s increasingly sophisticated, and specific, rules.
Hands up if you’re doing any of these:
• Requiring users to LIKE your Facebook Page in order to enter a contest.
• Getting users to comment on a Facebook post as a condition for entering a contest, or using this as part of a contest mechanism.
• Putting a call to action, entry details or any promotion / contest-related reminders on your Cover Photo.
• Making users post or tag a picture on your Facebook Page as a contest mechanism.
• Asking users to vote on a picture, sound bite, video clip or any similar content by liking it, as a means of winning a contest.
• Encouraging users to answer trivia questions, riddles or any other form of query posted on your Facebook Wall to win something.
• Generally asking users to do ANYTHING on your Facebook Wall as a condition for entering a contest or winning a prize.
Yes, doing any of these is likely to get your Facebook Page taken off the board, wasting all that precious time and money you’ve spent on building up a fanbase and social reputation.
If you’ve been doing any of these but haven’t had problems so far, it’s because
1) you’re fortunate enough to have avoided scrutiny and
2) nobody has taken the time to report you yet. Just remember, Facebook is not in the habit of sending warnings before they shut down a user account or page; you don’t want to be in an unpleasant situation where you can’t communicate with your audience, do you?
Now you’re thinking, “Oh no, I can’t run ANY contests on Facebook? How am I going to get those thousands of LIKES to fulfill my KPI?” Well, the only real fail-safe way to do it is to run one through an approved third party app; it’ll cost you, but if you feel the returns justify the expenditure, then go ahead and do it. Alternatively, you can use Facebook as a means of communicating about a contest that you’re running on your website or blog, which completely circumvents the terms of services.
Finally, consider creating and presenting interesting, shareable and engaging content rather than CONTESTS to build your fanbase. It’s far more sustainable and will help attract quality fans to your brand, those that will become its advocates and defenders. Now isn’t THAT what you wanted in the first place?