How to Properly Run Contests on Facebook & Avoid Jail Time
On the surface, it seems like you CAN'T run contests on Facebook. However, this isn't the case. You CAN run contests involving Facebook. It's just a matter of how you set it up and where you post about it.
Don't Get Busted for Running Illegal Contests on Facebook!
Here is a simplified rundown of how you can run contests on Facebook, without risk of your Page (and your follower's Pages) being suspended or deleted.
First of all, here is the website's official stance on Facebook contests and promotions. Basically, you have to set things up so that Facebook is not liable for any contests or promotions you promote on Facebook. They're pretty complicated to fully grasp, so here's a brief nutshell:
- You MUST use a third party application to implement your contest on Facebook.
- Contest participation and registration can NOT be conditional on liking a Wall post, or commenting on or uploading a photo to your Page's Wall.
- In other words, you CAN require fans to Like your Page, comment on your wall, share a status, check-in or use your app, but the act of doing so CANNOT automatically register or enter a promotion's participant. Meaning: Actions do not equal entries.
- You CANNOT notify contest winners on Facebook. You can use email, Twitter or any other method, just not directly on Facebook.
So, important item: you must use a suitable 3rd party app to promote your contest on Facebook.
Here are some great apps you can use to run a Facebook contest:
- Offerpop – This sweepstakes application is free for Pages with 500 Likes or less.
- Shortstack: Facebook contests only. Free up to 2000 Likes, $30/mo for more than 2000 Likes. Read more about running contests with Shortstack.
- Wildfire: Very affordable pricing varies for contests and promotions. Super-flexible in that you can set up contests and promotions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can run contests, sweepstakes, coupons, giveaways, and other kinds of promotions with NO technical experience needed.
- Strutta: Pricy, best for larger brands with sufficient budgets. Offers apps for bulletin boards, forms, coupons, media galleries and voting galleries. Also supports contests and sweepstakes. Great for photo, video or essay contests with a professional look and great features.
- EasyPromos: $15/per promotion for Pages with fewer than 5,000 fans. $100 for Pages with 5,000-50,000. White label also available.
- North Social – Easy to set up, affordable, based on number of Fans.
- Votigo – Large scale and self-service options.
- Woobox – Low-cost sweepstakes app, easy to set up on your own.
There you have it! Explore these affordably priced apps and use them to run your Facebook contests and stay within Facebook's guidelines for sweepstakes, contests and promotions.