10.09.2013 Our guide to the Facebook competition rule changes

Facebook recently announced big changes to its promotional guidelines. Whether you’re a small business or big brand, marketing director or social media community manager, you need to know about these changes and what they mean for how you run competitions.

So what’s changed?

  • The big change is that you no longer have to run a competition using a purpose-built third party app (but you still can if you want to – and there are many benefits of doing so, which we cover later).
  • You CAN now ask people to comment on or like a post in order to enter a competition.
  • You CAN ask people to vote using the ‘Like’ function
  • You CAN ask people to post photos or comments to your page.
  • You still CANNOT ask people to Share a post as part of a competition (Like & Share is still against the rules – more below)
  • You CANNOT ask people to post something on their personal timeline to enter a competition
  • You CANNOT ask people to tag themselves or others in a post that clearly doesn’t feature those people (i.e. you can’t get people to tag themselves or anyone else in a picture of a product)

Why can’t you ask people to Like & Share? 

Like and Share based competitions have always been against the rules and they still are.

Why? Because Facebook don’t want newsfeeds clogged up with poor quality/spammy content.

Why? Because they want people to hang around on Facebook for as long as possible. That’s how they make their advertising revenue. The more users they have, and the longer they spend on the site, the more they can charge advertisers for reaching these users. Poor quality content on newsfeeds puts people off.

Facebook recently announced an upgrade to its algorithm that means ‘spammy’ content that asks for likes will be penalised, and less likely to reach the newsfeed. So not only do Like & Share competitions break the rules (which could result in your page being shut down, losing all those hard-earned Likes) but your page could be penalised organically by the new algorithm, which meaning your page likers will be much less likely to even see your content in future.

Forget Like & Share competitions, is our advice. It’s just not worth the risk.

What the changes mean for brands

If you’re a small business, charity or brand without a social budget to burn, the changes are great news.

As long as you stick by the new rules, you can start running competitions on your corporate page straight away.

Giving away prizes on your Timeline, without the expense of having a bespoke app developed, means you can offer smaller prizes and more often. As the entry process is now more simple, more people are likely to enter.


Competition format ideas

The changes to the rules present an opportunity to be creative with your Facebook competitions. Why not try and get people to engage with your brand, rather than just chasing after likes?

Here are some of our ideas for Facebook competitions you could run. As always with social media, it’s worth experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t, but the good news is it’s now easier than ever to try different ideas, prizes and entry mechanisms out.

  1. Write us a story about X in 10 words or less (brand-related topic?)

  2. Answer a trivia question related to the company website/landing page (name our newest product/service/team member?)

  3. ‘Like’ your favourite widget in a photo album (great for market research!)

  4. Upload a photo of yourself using our widget

  5. Caption this company-related photograph

Is the Facebook competition app now dead?

Just because you don’t have to run competitions through an app any more, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.

Anyone who has already used apps to run competitions will tell you that they can help you achieve so much more than just Facebook likes. When it comes to capturing data on your entrants, an app is a must-have.

Using an app gives you the opportunity to collect email addresses, to find out where your entrants live and what age categories they fall into. For this reason, it’s a great tool for lead generation.

The downside to apps is that they don’t work on mobile, which is where increasing amounts of people are accessing Facebook, so may impact engagement levels.

For more information on running Facebook competitions, or creating maximum impact with your social media activity drop us a line. We love to talk social!