Facebook updated their promotion rules late 2009 and since that time the majority of competitions I see on small (and large!) business Facebook pages have been in breach of those rules.
In a nutshell - you cannot make the entry of a competition dependent on an action made on Facebook. That's the important part so I will say it again.
You cannot make the entry of a competition dependent on an action on Facebook.
In other words it is against Facebook Promotion rules to have people enter a competition by:
- becoming a 'liker' (or fan)*
- tagging themselves in a photo
- commenting on your wallpage or post
- putting a comment or @ tag in their status
- uploading a photo or video
But what about all the other people that run promotions, why are they allowed to? Well, they're not. They've just flown under the radar, just as we did until earlier in the year when we decided that given the amount of time we put into the Belly Beyond Facebook page, it was simply too big a risk to run and stopped running promotions on the page.
So what am I allowed to do?
- Spread the word
- NOTIFYING WINNERS: Be careful to follow the guidelines about winners notifications. You can't let people know they've won via a Facebook wall post or message. The easiest way is to email the winner, although it appears you can put the winners details on your Facebook page, just not as first line of notification.
- Use a third party application
* Although you can't just say 'like' my page to automatically be entered into a competition you CAN make them like your page in order to access the promotion tab via a Third Party App.
What could happen?
You might be lucky enough to receive a warning. A friend was looking after a very large brand promo on Facebook and received an email from the Facebook-Powers-That-Be giving them 15 minutes to shut the promo down or have the page deleted. If you're not a big brand or aren't near your email when the warning comes in, you may simply find the plug pulled and your page, and all that work, gone.
The official Facebook Promotions Guideline page is here if you'd like it from the horses mouth, so to speak.
Don't set up a separate business page from your personal page because multiple accounts are another no-no. You can just add a business page under your personal profile if you have one.
It used to be that the creator of the page could never be removed. For small businesses where the page is created by the owner this would not normally be an issue however think about how many larger businesses leave their "tech geeks" to look after this side of the business and set everything up. A scary thought when said "tech geek" leaves your employ! So Facebook have changed this slightly and now any page Admin can delete any other Admin including the page creator but this still needs to be carefully managed. Not much fun if you add an Admin to your page only to have them remove YOU at some point!
Do you have a story to share about Facebook promos? Was your page deleted? We'd love to hear about your experiences.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert, just a fanatical Facebook user for our business. This post is simply a summary and by no means gospel. If you believe it to be incorrect or you can improve on it, then please let us know!