3 things you're doing wrong with your Facebook Competition

Like and Share my page for your chance to win free stuff!

Just kidding, there's no competition on my Facebook page where you can win free stuff and even if there was a competition on my Facebook page, I wouldn’t have conditions of entry like those above.

We have all seen those posts, you know the ones

We are running a competition here on Facebook to win an amazing blue thing.. And to enter the competition all you have to do is

  • Like this post
  • Like our page
  • Tag a friend and then
  • Share on your timeline.

Simple huh…

And they seem to work….

You get lots of engagement, you get more page likes, but do you achieve your actual outcome and is it worth the risk?


Risk - what risk?

Outcome? Of course I got the outcome, I got lots of new page likers.

Well let’s break that down a little further.

First up, there is the risk of having your page shut down at worse or having your page feed throttled to zero visibility at best.

I know.

I know you see people run these kinds of competitions all the time, but what does Facebook actually say about them.

Facebook considers pages asking people to like a page and share that page as part of a competition or simply as part of a strategy to build an audience as gaming the system.

Think of a post you may have seen recently, something like

Like if you think cats are best, Share if you think dogs are best.

Either option is a strict no-no in Facebook’s book.

Facebook Promotion Rules

This is what Facebook specifically says about promotions inside the Facebook platform.

Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook.

Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted)

Now I know that there are lots of rule breakers out there who simply ignore this but, there are consequences if you get caught.

Your page could be taken down. You may have your page cancelled altogether.

Your already dismal organic page reach will be further reduced for all your posts.

In reality, you are not likely to have your page shut down for running a competition incorrectly a few times BUT it can and does happen.

What about the objectives of a Facebook competition?

Are we looking to build an audience of people that are genuinely interested in our product and hence will engage with our page over the longer term, or are they just in it to win it?

Can you honestly say that each time you tagged a friend in a post to win a free handbag, pair of shoes or a gift voucher that you would actually seek to be a long term follower of a brand?

Put your marketing hat on,  What do we want as outcomes from competitions?

  • Future customers
  • Email List subscribers
  • Brand advocates
  • Brand awareness

Possibly all of those things, but what happens when we incorrectly use Facebook to run a competition? We tend to attract lots of competition hunters only and maybe not our best long-term likers, lovers or even lurkers.

We can’t really leverage all of that brand exposure in the longer term to our benefit. It may seem like a benefit when we look at the vanity metrics that the increased engagement on that one past may generate - but what happens 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 months after the competition?

Are we continuing to grow a relationship with these new followers? Are they being brought into our world on a regular basis (ie via say email)

3 mistakes you are making with your Facebook competitions

Here are the 3 things you absolutely cannot do with your Facebook competitions (plus some ideas for what you can do instead)

  • You CANNOT Ask people to share your post on their timeline. You CAN encourage people to share your post, but it CANNOT be a condition of entry into a competition.
  • You CANNOT tag a friend in the comment as a condition of entry. You can ask people to comment on the post as a condition of entry but it cannot be to tag their friends
  • You CANNOT ask people to like your page to enter. You CAN ask them to like the post.
The do's and don'ts of Facebook competitions.png

Facebook competition guidelines

So why do people continue to flaunt the rules?

To be honest, I think a lot of businesses just don’t realise that there are rules governing how Facebook operates, especially around competitions. You can read the full list of policies here - https://www.facebook.com/policies/pages_groups_events/

As we all know in business, when things are free, often people don’t get the true value of the free thing they are using. We maybe don’t realise or appreciate the value that we have been given.

Facebook is completely free for us to use.

This fantastic business tool is 100% free. Our generation has been blessed with powerful social media tools that have enabled us to reach so many of our customers each day, right in their hand (ie their mobile) and we can do this all day everyday if we like, for nothing but our time.

Use it wisely.