How to Run Social Media Competitions (and stay inside the rules!)

how-to-create-social-media-competition

I’ve been getting asked by a lot of my clients lately about running competitions on social networks like Facebook & Instagram. Social media competitions are an area where I see people get confused and often unintentionally break the various social network’s guidelines. And I feel like such a party pooper when I let clients or friends know that their competition is breaking promotional guidelines and should be removed or changed.

So what are the official social media competition rules anyway and how are you supposed to play within them? Here’s the direct word from Facebook itself:

“Promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used 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).”

Did you get that? You can’t ask people to share on their timeline OR share on your friends timeline OR tag your friends to enter a post. Yet many people do. Why? Most of them don’t know the rules!

To recap in bullet points what’s allowed versus what‘s not allowed when it comes to running competitions on your social pages:

Ok to do:

  • Like this post
  • Comment on this post
  • Like comments on this post (i.e., vote by liking)
  • Post on this Page’s timeline
  • Message this Page

Not ok:

  • Share this post on your timeline
  • Tag your friends
  • Share this post on your friends’ timeline

Another downside of running Facebook competitions directly on your page is that it can be difficult from an administration perspective. There’s no Facebook provided tools to help you draw a winner randomly or fairly whereas some of the third party tools mentioned below provide this.

So with these rules in mind, how do you run Facebook competitions/contests/promotional campaigns that are fully compliant with Facebook guidelines and still get results? Here’s the lowdown.

1. CONSIDER USING THIRD PARTY APPS

Way back when we first started doing Facebook Ads for clients, we often did competitions and back then, the only option was to really use a third party app! Third party apps are still around, and some have been around a while. Here’s some you may like to check out:

  • Woobox – Wooboox helps you easily Manage Facebook, Youtube, & Instagram Comment Giveaways and Provides All The Capabilities You Need To Export Likes, Export Comments, And Pick Winners. Because that is something else you will need to think about – how to pick a winner fairly and squarely. Plans start are free for up to 100 entrants, $37/mth for up to 1000 entrants and go upwards from there. See: www.woobox.com/‎.
  • ShortStack – Like Woobox, Shortstack is also one of the originals when it comes to third party apps to run Facebook competitions on. It allows you to create unique landing pages, run social contests, send emails and analyze results and claims to be ‘The most customizable all-in-one contesting software’. Pricing starts at $99/month for up to 50,000 views and 10,000 entries so may be a bit of overkill for small business use.
  • PageModo – PageModo has also been around for years. It helps you edit Facebook cover photos, make custom tabs, schedule and design your social media posts and create contests for your Facebook. If you want to run contests, you’ll need to start at their Pro plan for $13.25 /Month (that’s USD). See: www.pagemodo.com.
  • https://gleam.io/ – These guys haven’t been around as long as Woobox but claim to be one of the most popular platforms for Facebook contests. The company offer a lot of features (though I have to admin to never having run one on this platform before) and also a lot of resources if you want to study up further than this blog on social competitions. See: https://gleam.io/.

To be honest there are literally dozens of other third party apps for running contests on Facebook. Just search ‘facebook competition software’ or similar on Google and click on the ‘Features’ + ‘Pricing’ page of each to size them up.

 

2. CONSIDER USING FACEBOOK ADS

One of my fellow Facebook Community Trainers Dan Nikas of Gearbunch is running competitions using the Facebook Lead Ads objective. He gets people to opt in with their email, then engages them with an email flow to give them bonus entries on Messenger. He then runs the draw on a Facebook Live in their private group that the entrant needs to be present on to be eligible to win. To me this flow is a super smart way of using the ads feature. You’re benefiting from gaining their email address and full opt in along the way, being engaging by personally messaging them via Messenger and encouraging more entries and then using the Live technology and a little exclusivity when it comes to announcement time.

If you need help running a competition using Facebook Ads, check out this page.

3. CONSIDER USING CHATBOTS

Probably our all time fave way of running competitions at The Creative Collective is running comment to bot chatbot competitions. Why? Because apart from getting the entries and therefore the email address or mobile of entrants to market to in the future (with all essential disclaimers in of course and the ability to unsubscribe at any time), we can generally also grow the likes of a page + the engagement of a page fairly substantially in the process. For that very reason we’ll often suggest a comment-to-bot competition in the early part of our engagement to win some quick brownie points with a client, and also for new business launches (or relaunches post special events like COVID!)

Here’s just a few results from running comment-to-bot competitions for clients in recent months:

CLIENT:  Pasinis
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Restaurant/cafe
LOCATION: Bicheno, Tasmania
OBJECTIVE: Grow page likes + general awareness of the business

PRIZE: $500 meal for 4 (voucher)
CAMPAIGN DATES: 23/08 – 22/09/19
AD SPEND: $403.47
POST LIKES: 345
POST COMMENTS: 654
SHARES: 66
COST PER ENGAGEMENT: $1.20
FACEBOOK PAGE GROWTH: 358 NEW LIKES
FACEBOOK PAGE GROWTH %: 31.29%

CLIENT:  Orion Mews
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Property Developer
LOCATION: Bellbird Park, QLD (near Ipswich)
OBJECTIVE FOR CAMPAIGN:
Launch new sub development for sale + brand in general to the local market
PRIZE: $500 IKEA VOUCHER
CAMPAIGN DATES: 16/12/2019 – 13/01/2020
AD SPEND: $500
POST LIKES: 40
POST COMMENTS: 83
SHARES: 18
COST PER ENGAGEMENT: $0.83

CLIENT:  Food&Brew
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Restaurant/cafe
LOCATION: Burnie, Tasmania
OBJECTIVE FOR CAMPAIGN:
Grow awareness of the businesses new steak nights
PRIZE: $400 meal voucher
CAMPAIGN DATES: 05/09/2019 – 22/09/2019
AD SPEND: $240.18
POST LIKES: 490
POST COMMENTS: 974
SHARES: 120
COST PER ENGAGEMENT: $1.10
FACEBOOK PAGE GROWTH: 410
FACEBOOK PAGE GROWTH %: 24.14%

CLIENT:  Platinum Dental
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Dentist
LOCATION: Nelson Bay, NSW
OBJECTIVE: Grow awareness of the brand,  business & that it’s services include orthodontics

PRIZE: Full braces/orthodontics valued at $6500
CAMPAIGN DATES: 12/04/2019 – 12/05/2019
AD SPEND: $700
POST LIKES: 250
POST COMMENTS: 625
SHARES: 33
COST PER ENGAGEMENT: $1.41
FACEBOOK PAGE GROWTH: 390 NEW LIKES
FACEBOOK PAGE GROWTH %: 220%

STELLAROSSA RURAL VIEW
TYPE OF BUSINESS: Cafe/restaurant/drive thru
LOCATION: Mackay, QLD
OBJECTIVE: Launch the brand new business
PRIZE: Meal vouchers
CAMPAIGN DATES: 12 Dec 2019 – 12 January 2020
AD SPEND: $1000
People Reached = 20,504 (population of Mackay = 125,000 so this is 16% of population – much cheaper than placements in the local newspaper or magazine!)
4,918 total engagements on page – 1803 reactions, comments, shares (post engagements)
Cost per Post Engagement = $0.55
3115 post clicks
700 subscribers to database
924 comments, 80 shares
723 likes, 731 follows

We have many more examples like this available. Just ask us if you would like to see them.

The rules for running comps like this changed as of 15 Jan 2020 so moving forwards although we can do similar comps (and hopefully get similar results) for new or existing clients, the main difference is we can only send x1 message via Facebook Messenger within 24 hours of them signing up to the competition OR we will have to use a specific tag. Otherwise you will be reliant on downloading names to your EDM/CRM and marketing in this manner thereafter. But that is possible.

FOR CONSIDERATIONS FOR ‘STAYING LEGAL’ WHEN IT COMES TO RUNNING SOCIAL MEDIA COMPETITIONS

When promoting or administering a contest on Facebook, it’s vital to create an easily accessible landing page that lists all of the contest rules. Some important rules to consider for your contest include:

  • Make it clear that there is no purchase necessary.
  • Tell entrants that making a purchase does not increase their chances of winning.
  • Tell entrants when the contest begins, ends and how long it will run.
  • Tell when and how a winner will be chosen by spelling out the judging criteria for the contest.
  • Tell who is running or administering the competition.
  • Clearly describe the prizes. This is important since many territories require clear descriptions of prizes. Here is an example of a set of contest terms that goes to great lengths to describe the prizes:
  • Include a release that allows you to use any user-generated content that is needed for the contest, as well as a release for any publicity rights.
  • State that the competition is void where prohibited.

You must also make it clear that Facebook is not your sponsor and make sure that the contest is not administered on a personal profile.

SUMMARY oN RUNNING FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM COMPETITIONS

So there you have it. Perhaps there is a little more to running Facebook & Instagram competition than just copying what the next business did and hoping for the best.

So consider your options, and stay within the guidelines would be our best advice. And if you need help, you know where to find us!

Adhering carefully to the rules when running a Facebook contest will takes a little more time and effort but by making sure that you are operating within Facebook’s (or any other social network’s) competition rules, you can ensure that your contest runs smoothly. If you don’t adhere to guidelines there is a chance your competition will be deleted or even worse, that your page will be suspended or permanently banned!

Keeping in line with the rules by utilising one of the options we’ve laid out will reduce these risks and give you and your business the assurance that you are doing things ‘the right way’ and likely increase your results too.

Have any of you every run a competition on Facebook or Instagram? How did you go about it? What worked? What didn’t? Do tell!

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