Organizing contests on social media networks are a good way to reach certain goals. And that is why so many brands invest in them. A successful contest might expand a brand’s customer base and strengthen the ties between users through friendly competition and interactions. It might also raise awareness of the brand and attract more followers. This, in turn can lead to higher levels of engagement. So the benefits are numerous and clearly visible.

Types of contests

Before you move on to the most exciting part of the activity — having fun with users and presenting them with great prizes — there are a few issues you have to be aware of. First of all, a certain type of contest has to be selected. There are a couple of basic choices:

  • Contest — This is a type of competition in which skill comes into play. The winner or winners are not chosen at random. Instead, users have to perform a certain task or tasks. In a contest, winners should be selected by a judge or panel of judges.
  • Sweepstake — In a sweepstake, the chance of winning is based simply on chance. Therefore, it should be completely random and not based on performing any task. Further, users do not have to make a purchase or any payment to enter.

Before settling on the type of contest, organizers should be certain about any and all legal requirements based on local jurisdiction. Because this varies from place to place, legal counsel should be used to determine which laws are and should be applicable.

A very handy overview of laws governing prize promotions for 35 countries can be found on the DLA Piper website. Marketers and brand representatives are advised to also visit the “About” section of the website for more details.

Play by Facebook’s rules

Then, there are certain rules that are applicable to specific social media networks. Each of them has their own guidelines and policies that have to be followed in order to use the network for a competition. Facebook covers these on a dedicated webpage. It should be reviewed before organizing each contest, as these notations change from time to time. At the time of writing, there are four basic groups of rules that users have to abide by, that are published by Facebook.

Still, this is not all that should be taken under consideration. Beyond its general policies, Facebook has many more specific guidelines that have to be followed to make any competition legal. These also might change from time to time, but should always be followed to ensure that a competition will be allowed to run — and will not be taken down before it ends.  Some of these rules are:

  • You can ask users to like or comment on a post or to message a page to enter a contests
  • You cannot ask users to share a page or to like a different page to enter a contest
  • You cannot run competitions on personal profiles
  • You must include the official rules of your competition
  • You must make sure that your contest complies with the laws in your region

All of them have been compiled into a useful infographic by ShortStack, and it is well worth the time to go over them before making a costly mistake.

At first glance, it might seem there is a lot to take in before starting a contest on Facebook. However, many of the above guidelines only have to be read in depth once and can then be checked to see which rules have changed. In the end, all the work invested in preparing an engaging competition will be worth it once a brand’s goals are reached.

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