Social Media Contests - What is Actually Allowed?

Everybody knows, there is no better way to engage an audience on social media than a contest. People love give-a-ways, and they love the thrill of possibly getting something for free. However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding social media promotions. Facebook has recently begun implementing rules about what contests are and are not allowed on business pages. Businesses that break those rules could be risking their page getting shut down and losing all of their followers. Below we're breaking down some of the contests you CAN run as well as some ideas to help you make the most out of your next social media contest.

1. Like To Win (PAGE) - Currently, Facebook allows you to collect page likes in exchange for contest entries. This is one of my favorite contest types. Not only will you get people interacting with your page for your contest, but they will continue to see your updates after the contest is over. To encourage shares and to spread the contest even further, I like to create a "tipping point" in order to win. As an example, if a page is hovering around 1,500 likes, the contest would have a contingency that says it will be activated when it reaches 2,000 likes. With this contingency, entrants are more likely to share with their friends and family to participate to activate the contest and win the great prize you're offering. 

2. Like To Win (POST) - Similar to the "Page Like" contest, you can also ask participants to "like" a certain post to enter the contest. To me, this is a little less effective as it doesn't encourage long term engagement with a Facebook page. However, it's extremely easy for someone to just "like" a post so this technique tends to encourage a lot of entries. This type of contest is great if you have a smaller prize that isn't tempting enough for a more difficult entry process.

3. Comment - These require a little bit more work by the entrant but can be a great way to get your contest (and subsequently your business) in front of someone's friend list (since what they're commenting on tends to show up in newsfeeds). You can encourage comments in a few ways. You could ask people to comment on a photo with their best caption idea. You could ask for help naming a product or to come up with a new, creative idea. (As an added bonus you now get to utilize the new name or ideas provided by your audience). Or you could write a sentence and ask entrants to fill in the blank.

4. Run a Poll/Vote - This works by asking a question and asking people to vote (either through comments or through a 3rd Party App like Poll on Facebook). These are great ways get feedback from your audience while offering an incentive for them to do so. Another idea is asking for entries that will then be voted on. You could run anything from a "Cutest Baby Photo" contest to a "Fan Of The Week" contest. This will encourage those who have entered to share their photo or entry to encourage more votes, which means more eyes on your brand.

5. Tag The Photo - This one is a little different and I haven't seen it done many times, however, may be worth trying out. Your business could post a picture and ask entrance to "tag" themselves in the picture with a piece they identify with. As an example, a jewelry store could post a picture of different ring styles and ask women to tag themselves in the style they like the best. This photo tag will now post to each entrants timeline and will show to all of their Facebook friends.

As a general rule of thumb, the biggest thing that can make or break a contest is the prize. Make sure the value of your prize is in line with the amount of work a participant has to do to enter. The more steps that are involved the better the prize must be, or a user it more likely to keep scrolling.