Want to have a contest or promotion on Facebook? Before you do, read the Facebook Promotions Guidelines. You don’t want black helicopters showing up at your house one night and confiscating your Facebook business page. You may find the rules a bit difficult to understand. However, I speak Facebook and I will translate them for you. First, the guidelines, then my translation is below.
1. Translation: You cannot just post a promotion in your status updates. You must do it through a third-party app.
2. Translation: It’s called CYA. Facebook is doing it here. You must tell everyone that Facebook has nothing to do with your promotion. They only want you to attract people to their website so that people will click on their ads.
3. Translation: You cannot use a Facebook promotion to do what you really want it to do – Get fan page likes and check-ins at your place.
4. Translation: A contradiction of #3 (a committee must have put this together). Basically you cannot require any action for people to enter your contest other than for them to say “I want to enter your contest….through a third-party app.
5. Translation: See #s 3 and 4 above. We’re just taking up more space to make these rules look super important.
6. Translation: Use telepathy to notify the winners…or a telephone call, or old-fashioned email.
7. Translation: When you refer to a promotion on our website, you cannot say our name. Instead, just refer to us as “that site Mark Zuckerberg created,” and you must do it with an air of reverence. After all, we are that site that Mark Zuckerberg created.
8. Translation: Because we’ve confused you above, we’re going to confuse you a little more here.
Definitions. Translation: “We are smarter than you.” AND “We have lawyers working for us.”
Notice the extensive use of “you must not use Facebook.” and “you may not use Facebook.” Inviting, huh?
Contests and Promotions on Facebook
What Facebook is saying in these guidelines is that they don’t really want you to have contests and promotions on your Facebook page. There are just too many business pages for them to police and so they would rather you just not do it. They can’t say that, because they want the big brands have promotions. It’s one of the ways Facebook makes money. You cannot cry “foul” or “that’s not fair” because it’s Facebook’s playground and they get to make up the rules.
It’s just another reason to own your own space on the Internet with a website. Use your Facebook page to have conversations with your fans and to direct traffic to your playground: your website.
**Note: Thanks to Erin Shephard of Lone Star Pin-up for sending me the new guidelines.