Social Scoop for Business: Is your Facebook contest legal?

    12:17 PM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - By the means of Facebook, we have the incomparable ability to reach incredible amounts of people. As it continues to evolve, so do its guidelines and they're important to be aware of to avoid your business' page being shut down.

    Imagine losing all of your brand's fan base, videos, photos, interactions, and everything else just by not adhering to the social network's guidelines. While you may not have seen a page get shutdown, it does happen, and experts say it actually happens quite often. Many times the business is warned beforehand, but Facebook reserves the right to shut it down without notice if the page is not complying with their guidelines.

    Facebook pages often get
    shut down for these reasons:

    1. Breaking contest guidelines.
    2. Ignoring copyright restrictions for images.
    3. Displaying a cover photo that
    doesn't meet Facebook's rules.
    4. Being offensive.

    In this series, titled "Social Scoop for Business," THV 11's social media coordinator Jessica Johnson will break down each of these, beginning with contest guidelines.

    Facebook's contest guidelines go a little something like this:

    - Contests asking for votes or submissions by the means of comments, liking, sharing, posting photos, or checking-in are prohibited.

    - Contests are not allowed to be posted on the business page's wall, but within the apps. In order to do this, the business must go through a third-party promotional app developer like WooBox, Aptivada, or Offerpop.

    - The promotion must explain that it is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.

    - Finally, businesses can't notify contest winners by means of a Facebook wall post or message.

    It's a pretty common sight on Facebook. "Like (or share) this photo for a chance to be entered into a drawing for a brand new iPhone 5!" or "Tell us your favorite season for a chance to win a trip to Eureka Springs!"

    More often than not, these illegal contests are started by small businesses that maybe don't have an employee whose job is dedicated to social media platforms and their various guidelines. Contests described in the paragraph above are a pretty surefire way to achieve virality, but the more it's liked or shared, the more chances it has to being noticed by Facebook.

    My theory behind this is that as more of these contests successfully skirt under the rules, more will follow. The chances of losing everything, however, for a few new likes should trump a business' decision to disregard Facebook's rules.

    Related Links:

    - When Facebook disables your fan page: The story of a business whose page was shut down by Facebook

    - Inside Facebook: In 2013, many businesses are still running illegal contests

    - Facebook page guidelines

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