For small businesses, one way to increase business and attract potential customers is through Facebook. A Facebook Page can help your company gain exposure, cultivate relationships, and communicate with your targeted audience. But merely creating a Facebook business page isn’t enough to build a fan base, and extend your brand’s reach.
When using Facebook as a marketing platform, a considerable amount of time is required in monitoring feedback and keeping your page updated with fresh content in order to increase what’s known as Facebook “engagement” which consists of Likes, Comments, and Shares.
And a powerful way to bolster that engagement is by running a contest on your Facebook page. You can run a contest to get new fans, keep fans engaged, obtain new emails and leads, to expand awareness of your brand, or to generate fresh user content. A well designed contest with a reasonably valuable prize can land you contact information on hundreds of potential customers. Because when people enter your Facebook contest and provide their email and contact details, they become a new lead.
But in order to be compliant with Facebook, and exempt Facebook from any and all liability, all contests launched on Facebook must include a set of written rules specific to the contest you are running. Because if you violate Facebook’s rules, you risk having your pages permanently disabled.
Facebook outlines some very specific guidelines you should follow, but according to Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack, a do-it-yourself software that helps you create online contests, there are additional best practices that every business should follow.
Here are 9 tips from Belosic that will help you write a clear set of contest rules:
#1. Adhere to local/state/national or international laws
Some states/regions have their own rules and guidelines for a business that is giving away any prize, including prizes won via Facebook contests. Check with your region’s business agencies to ensure that you’re abiding by local, state and international law.
#2: Clearly state the contest sponsor
Your rules should make clear that your business, and not Facebook, is the sponsor of the contest. The rules should also explain that by participating in your contest, any entrants are agreeing to abide by all of your contest rules and regulations.
#3: Include an eligibility section
Consider the common phrase “everyone is on Facebook” when running a Facebook contest. Even though there are really only 1.06 billion people on Facebook that number includes everyone from kids to senior citizens. Be sure to specify in your rules any age and resident restrictions for entrants.
#4: Outline the contest entry period
Include in your rules a complete outline of your contest entry period. Include a month, day and time for when the contest will begin and end, and when the winner(s) will be selected and announced. If your promotion has several entry periods include the dates for each individual portion of the contest. This description becomes especially important if you’re running a contest in which people are entering a photo or video that will be judged and then voted on by the public. You want to include the dates for entry and voting.
#5: Tell fans how to enter
It seems simple enough, fill out the information and you’re entered! But giving direct rules about how to enter a contest and letting fans know they must complete all required fields in order to successfully enter a contest, ensures that an entrant understands exactly how and where to enter.
#6: Explain how a winner will be selected
Last week we posted about the best practices for selecting a contest winner. In that article we provided an example of the Winner Selection portion of the rules from a recent contest we ran. You’ll want to make sure you are specific about how you will select a winner, including all judging criteria and rounds of judging.
#7: Discuss the prizes
Provide a list of the prizes that the winner will receive as well as the process of how that prize will be distributed. For example, if the potential winner will receive an email notification and must provide a valid mailing address to receive a prize, include that in your rules. Sometimes shipping can be expensive and complicated, so we always include a section in our rules stating that any incidental expenses and all other costs and expenses not specifically listed as part of the prize are the sole responsibility of the winner and not the sponsor. We also recommend letting your fans know that their prize is not exchangeable for cash (assuming that it’s not!).
#8: Include additional limitations
When it comes to writing Facebook rules and guidelines, cover all your bases. Additional limitations can include disclaimers stating that you have the right to adjust or shut down the contest at any time and you have the right to investigate possible cheating or tampering before you determine a winner.
#9: Let your fans know if (and how) their information will be used
If you’re collecting data about your fans, include in your rules that by participating, each participant is granting your business permission to use his/her/business name, contest entry, likeness or comments for publicity purposes.
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