To Bloggers: How to Run a Facebook Contest
While all bloggers know that without visitors to their sites, they only end up talking to themselves, they may not always know how to increase their readership. One easy method is having a contest on Facebook.
Now some of you may be asking yourself what the advantages are to having a contest on Facebook apart from on your own blog – why do it? Hosting a contest on your blog is nice because the entrants are already visiting on your site, but they are more likely to be people who are already readers of your blog. Hosting a contest on Facebook gives it a better chance to go viral and reach people who are not already aware of you or your site because of the ease of sharing. There are other factors that make hosting a contest through Facebook a more attractive path, including the maintenance that comes with hosting a contest on your own blog, but the biggest incentive has to be the ability to get your brand in front of new readers.
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There are several advantages to having a Facebook contest besides those that set it apart from a blog hosted contest. Contests help the blogger generate sizable amounts of content for their blog. Even better, this is reader-generated content. It allows your subscribers to tell your story for you. Facebook contests can also reactivate stagnant subscribers, increase reader engagement, and produce a large following.
There are two sides of a successful Facebook contest. The first is the contest itself, and the second is ensuring that you follow all FTC and Facebook regulations concerning promotions of this type. For the first half, make sure your contest is simple and easy to understand. Readers are more likely to participate if they understand what you are asking them to do. Don’t forget to make the contest about your subscribers and not about the blog owner. For the blogger, a contest that produces reader generated content is typically the most successful.
Facebook is also very specific about what can and cannot be done when a blogger is running a contest. Failure to follow these regulations can result in losing your Facebook page. As social media is an important element for bloggers, it is vital that all rules are followed.
The same FTC rules for offline advertising apply to online advertising. According to the FTC, you must include and specify for your readers the following:
- Entry procedures
- Deadlines and duration
- General disclaimers
- When and how winners will be selected
- Sponsor’s name and contract information
- Statement that no purchase is necessary
- Requirements for eligibility – age, residence
- Prize description(s)
- Method of distributing unclaimed prizes
- Liability release
- Statement that contest is void where prohibited by law
Table of Contents
Third Party Applications
Facebook requires bloggers’ contests to be run on a third party application. It is important to make it clear that Facebook is in no way affiliated with the blogger’s contest. Facebook regulations establish, “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab.” Facebook section 4.1 Publicizing a Promotion on Facebook continues, “You will not directly or indirectly indicate that Facebook is a sponsor or administrator of the promotion or mention Facebook in any way in the rules or materials relating to the promotion.”
The proper language that is required by the FTC will typically be supplied by the third party application. The language usually states, “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to (3rd party app name) and not to Facebook. The information you provide will be used for the purposes of conducting this promotion and as consented to by you.”
Utilizing Your Own Application
If a blogger would prefer not to use a third party application, they do have the alternative of building their own application to use on Facebook. Wildfire, Fanappz, and iframes are all programs which provide services for the blogger to design an application to facilitate a contest on Facebook. An “enter now” button will be placed on a newly created contest tab on the blogger’s Facebook page. The page will also state that Facebook is in no way affiliated with the blogger’s contest. As stated before, participants can “like” your contest page, but liking a page cannot be a form of entry.
Promotion of the Facebook Contest
As stated before, Facebook contests can be a great way to increase readership of your blog. It is allowable to use the available options to promote your contest – encouraging social sharing of your contest with updates, creating events, and posting on users’ walls are all within acceptable practices, as long as you remember it is against the regulations to use them as forms of entry into the contest. Facebook’s rules state: “For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.”
Additional information bloggers need to be familiar with in Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines
- A “complete release of Facebook” from the contest by the entrants or participants.
- “Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.”
- There must be some acknowledgement that Facebook is in no way associated with the contest.
Winners – When and How to Notify
Winners of Facebook contests must be notified by email, phone, or the postal service. At no time is the blogger allowed to use any of Facebook’s features to notify winners. According to Facebook’s regulations, “You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.”
Keeping your contest simple and straight forward and closely following both FTC and Facebook regulations will serve you well when running your contest. With a properly run contest, bloggers will find an increase in readership and subscribers a goal that is within their reach.
This article was written by Anne Barlow in affiliation with Global Compliance. As a provider of compliance and ethics training solutions, Global Compliance is proud to provide clients with AB 1825 online training, workplace diversity training, and training resources, like their sexual harassment powerpoint training resource.
This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute the provision of legal advice. Review of this material is not a substitute for substantive legal advice from a qualified attorney. Please consult with an attorney to assure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.