Have you ever promoted an offer on your Facebook page for the first xx number of people to like or comment on the post or page? Do you give prizes away to a random fan when you’ve reached a milestone number of fans? Have you seen posts announcing competition winners on Facebook pages? What about the competitions that ask you to share photos on a page wall and the photo with the most ‘likes’ will win a prize?

If you’ve answered YES to any of these questions, you or the page owner could be in breach of Facebook Terms and Conditions and risk having the page removed by Facebook!

It is fair to say that theofficial guidance from Facebook is ambiguous but a high number of Facebook page owners and administrators are not even aware that such restrictions exist. Over the past few days I have spoken to five page owners who are breaching these T&Cs to try and prevent them losing what they’ve worked so hard to build up. I figured it was time to write a Blog to help more business owners to avoid the trap.

The short interpretation of Facebook’s Promotions guidance is that any offer, sweepstake or competition must not;

  • Use Facebook functionality (likes, wall posts, comments etc) as the entry process
  • Provide any benefit to a selected few of the fans (available to everyone or not at all)
  • Announce or contact winners via Facebook either by status update or Facebook messaging.

In addition, Promoters must

  • State publicly that the promotion is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook
  • Post a disclaimer advising that all information provided by applicants is shared with the Promoter and not Facebook

So how can you run a promotion on your Facebook Page?

You can use Facebook to promote a competition that is being hosted outside of Facebook. (E.g. on your website) Providing the entry process doesn’t rely on any of Facebook’s functionality and you don’t use Facebook to contact or promote the winner.

There are Facebook Apps available (e.g. Wildfire) that you can use to host your promotion which will keep you within the rules.

Here is the official guidance again. Please read it and bookmark the page so you can refer back to the T&Cs before you run your next promotion. If you come across a Facebook Page which appears to be unaware of these rules, please share this Blog with the Page owner/administrator too.