Facebook Promotion Guidelines, DECODED

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Facebook wall promotions: They’re easy to set up and enter, in-the-moment and exciting to participate in, which are undoubtedly a few of the reasons why many brands continue to coordinate them.

Unfortunately, they also completely disregard Facebook’s promotions guidelines and run the risk of page termination at any moment. What I can’t figure out is: Do brands know this and run them anyway, hoping to fly under the radar? (As you can see here, that doesn’t always work.) Or do they not even realize Facebook has set strict policies on the way promotions can be handled?

Well, if you’re reading this post, consider yourself now in the know. Here at Media Logic, we’re constantly abiding by the guidelines. We urge you to read all eight in your free time, but for now, I’ve extracted a few points that you should know like the back of your hand.

1) What a “promotion” is

According to Facebook, “any contest, competition, sweepstakes or other similar offering” is a promotion.

Decoded: If you intend to pick a winner, you’re running a promotion—and therefore have to follow the rules.

2) What you need to acknowledge

This is guideline #2. Somewhere in your promotion, you have to include:

  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  • Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.

Decoded: Facebook doesn’t want to be connected, in any way, to your promotion, so just be sure to make that clear.

3) Where you can run a promotion

Guideline #1 says: “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab.”

Decoded: Not on the wall! Yes, you can post about the promotion on the wall, but the way in which a participant enters, registers or votes cannot utilize Facebook features (such as liking the page, checking-in or commenting).

4) How you can’t contact the winner

Guideline #6 is pretty straightforward: “You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.”

Decoded: You can email the winners, call them, send smoke signals or whatever you need to do to get their attention—but you cannot do it through Facebook. Set up your entry form to capture email or postal addresses, or phone numbers, to avoid having to break the rules.

5) How you can’t choose the winner

You may see some brands randomly selecting a fan and awarding them with a prize, but that’s also against the rules. As guideline #3 says: “…the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.”

Decoded: Your Official Rules should state how the winner(s) will be selected after they knowingly enter into the sweepstakes, without the use of Facebook functionality.

6) Why you should follow the guidelines

Seeing so many brands successfully getting away with wall contests—and watching their engagement levels spike as a result—makes it tempting to join the fray and sneak one (or a few) through. But as you saw earlier, there are cases of promotions getting pulled abruptly for breaking the rules, and a page termination isn’t out of the question, either. As if Facebook’s eyes weren’t enough, there’s even evidence of brands trying to out brands. Whether you’re representing your own brand or someone else’s, we say the risk isn’t worth the consequences. Just make up for it with a legal promotion that speaks for itself…and hey, we can help with that.

Decoded: Contact us today!

Posted in Social Marketing, Social Promotions

7 Responses to Facebook Promotion Guidelines, DECODED

  1. Nathan says:

    Great post, Melissa! I just read this on “Social Media Today”, but it was attributed to another author. Hmm.

    I honestly think that the majority of businesses just fail to even read the Facebook terms. You are correct on all points, except for number 3. You can require the user to ‘like’ the page in order to enter. That is the ONLY action inside of Facebook that you can require. The distinction is that the act of liking isn’t an automatic entry, they must also register via the third part application, but you can make it a fan gated entry.

    What really burns me is that obvious fact that Facebook doesn’t take violations seriously. I see so many promotions being conducted in direct opppostion to these terms. When I see an image with 20,000 shares to win a free mattress, I start to fume. I usually comment and let them know, but they just ignore it. The same goes for the countless number of brands that choose to utilize the personal profile instead of the pages format. That is also a violation, but Facebook turns a blind eye to it. Should brands really have access to our personal images and information? Obviously not. While I may really ‘like’ a business, they are not my friend, and my business isn’t theirs.

    Thank you for providing a post for me to vent on! lol

  2. Thanks, Nathan! We hear ya on the venting. And thank you for clarifying the like feature, we just meant that can’t be the means of entry.

  3. ed says:

    The FB terms are largely a paper tiger. From time to time they will nab someone to remind people that the terms exist but I doubt they spend much time or resources in actively policing the issue.

    I’m a size 10.5 BTW :)

  4. Sharon says:

    Melissa…Great succinct explanation. Facebok would never have put out something this easy to understand.

    Feels like sometimes Facebook changes the game all the time and it’s up to all the brand pages to play catch up. And of course it doesn’t help that many brands don’t follow the rules and so provides that much more confusion on their guidelines.

  5. Hollie says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Great to see that you’re just as frustrated as me with others violating the Facebook policies.

    One way around these (although probably not as ‘social’) is to ask participants to email in as a method of entry. This way you don’t have to set up a bespoke application if you’re wanting to do a small cost efficient giveaway for your fans. Of course it’s always best practice to link to some Ts & Cs. We usually put these in the notes section of our page.

    Thanks again for the post,

  6. Mike says:

    That was the clearest, quickest explanation I’ve seen. Thanks

  7. Jo says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Once you have notified the winner via email, can you announce their name on Facebook? Or, does this also violate Guideline#6.

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