Ignoring the Rules the Quickest Way to Lose at Launching Contests on Facebook

Nothing takes better advantage of Facebook's playful side than the launching of contests and sweepstakes. Afdhel Aziz, brand director of digital, PR and brand activation for Heineken USA, says to launch a successful promotion it's critical to ask yourself what the biggest issue facing your organization is. Is it lack of awareness? Do you need to promote ambassadorship of your ideas? Based on those questions, you can figure out which promotional strategy will work best. 

Launching a contest on Facebook is one of the fastest ways to build brand awareness, says Aziz. Partnerships can also help extend your reach. For example, Heineken partnered with world-renowned DJ Tiesto for six months to drive traffic from his fan base to Heineken through competitions, free downloads and tickets. Admittedly, not every brand may have access to star power, but there may be appropriate and useful partnerships you can forge for your contests. 

Launching Contests
Cindy Gersch, VP, director of marketing and corporate affairs for Lend Lease, an organization that partners with the Department of Defense to build communities on military installations, says that when it comes to launching contests, Facebook does not take kindly to rule breakers. All contests on Facebook must:

  • Use the Facebook App to launch.

  • Acknowledge that Facebook is not a sponsor of the contest.

  • Not use “like” as a voting mechanism for promotions.

  • Develop complete rules that fans must check and agree to prior to entering a contest.

  • Have attorney-approved rules.

If a brand doesn't follow the Facebook promotion guidelines (All rules found at http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php) it can lose its page, content (images, videos, notes, status updates, etc.), community and credibility. However, that shouldn't stop PR pros from finding creative ways to launch new contests to entice fans.

"Listen to your audience by hosting a poll on Facebook about contests/prizes they would like, and work with other companies to sponsor even bigger prizes—but be sure to adhere to all Facebook policies," says Gersch.

Attend PR News’ Digital PR Summit on Feb. 16 in San Francisco to learn more about using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ for your communications initiatives.