6 Tips for Running a Facebook Contest

Sure, everyone loves a winner, but more so—everyone loves being a winner, and nothing takes better advantage of social media's playful side than the launching of contests and sweepstakes. Facebook is often the go-to social network for running a contest, and according to Afdhel Aziz, brand director of digital, PR and brand activation for Heineken USA, launching a contest on Facebook is one of the fastest ways to build brand awareness. 

After you've got your free subscription, travel getaway or whatever it is that you're hoping to give away to your winner, there are certain things you must know before you jump headfirst into Facebook. Oh, and beware: Violating any of these rules can result in Facebook terminating your page completely—including all of your images, videos, notes, status updates, etc.

  1. Register: Do-it-yourselfers will be disappointed to hear that all promotions on Facebook must be administered within apps on Facebook, either on a canvas page or a page app. You read that correctly—page managers must use an app to conduct a contest of any kind. According to Social Media Examiner, one of the most widely used apps is the Wildfire app, which features an easy-to-use interface, offers 10 different types of promotions including photo, video, quiz and trivia. 

  2. Dispel Facebook's Affiliation: All promotions must include acknowledgment that it is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. 

  3. Comply With Entry Rules: You can't have fans register for the contest by asking them to liking or commenting on specific post, or uploading a photo on a wall. Also, the act of liking a page or checking in to a place cannot automatically register or enter a participant. 

  4. A Like Can't Be a Vote: Thinking of picking a winner democratically through Facebook's basic functions? Well, you can't use Facebook's basic features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion. All voting and selection process must take place within the app.

  5. Don't Just Have Users Enter, Have Them Share: Making a contest "social by design" is the best option for launching a Facebook contest, says Aziz. First coming up with an interesting idea and then building sharability into it—something that makes people want to share it with their friends. Even if your contest is only on Facebook, enable fans to share it among other social networks for added visibility online.

  6. Notify Elsewhere: You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (Timelines) or Pages. This may seem strange, but Facebook wants you to notify the winners outside of its domain.  

In order to protect its community and the credibility of brands who are running fair contests on Facebook, the social network sure doesn't make it easy to jump right in and start a contest. However, that shouldn't stop PR pros from finding creative ways to launch new contests to entice fans.

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