How to run a contest on Facebook

Many small business owners hold online promotional giveaways to increase their presence in the e-commerce sphere. By holding contests and offering promotional items to a digital audience, an entrepreneur can ensure that his or her company can reach out to consumers around the world, instead of being limited to the local area. 

Some professionals try to generate synergy between marking channels by holding giveaways on Facebook to increase their social media following. This can be a beneficial approach as it encourages interaction - a key element of creating a successful online advertising campaign. 

However, running a promotion on Facebook isn't as simple as creating a page and writing that consumers have to take certain actions to participate. The social network has strict rules and regulations regarding contests and giveaways, all of which small business owners must comply with in order to avoid having their pages deleted. 

Understanding all of Facebook's guidelines is a necessity for entrepreneurs who want to integrate social media marketing and giveaways. The following is a look at all of Facebook's various rules for contests and promotions. 

How to host
Facebook explains that promotions can be hosted with a canvas page, which "is quite literally a blank canvas" that entrepreneurs can use to build apps. Essentially, small business owners upload a URL that features the HTML, JavaScript or CSS for the app and then Facebook builds the program into the social network's interface. This is so that page creators can generate any type of content they want before Facebook functionality is included. 

Further, the Social Media Examiner explains that it's almost impossible to run a Facebook promotion without a third-party app. This is mainly due to the lengthy list of restrictions that the social network imposes on these promotions. Ultimately, small business owners are practically forced to seek outside assistance for their online marketing events. 

What can't be used
One common issue is that entrepreneurs try to capitalize on Facebook's integrated features for their contests. Unfortunately, this practice is strictly prohibited by the social network in all forms. According to Facebook's official guidelines, features such as liking a page cannot be featured in a promotion. For instance, consumers can't be entered into a competition just by following a company's profiles and Facebook likes can't be used as votes in polls. 

This is why small business owners essentially have to turn to apps in order to run contests. Everything on Facebook is basically off limits so entrepreneurs have to build their own platforms and then host them through the social network. 

Additionally, Facebook can't be associated with the contest in any way, shape or form. Though the promotion is held on the website, the social network doesn't allow small business owners to capitalize on its brand in order to generate interest and drive traffic to a page. 

What's more, Facebook can't be the channel through which entrepreneurs tell customers if they've won. The rules expressly forbid small business owners from contacting winners via chat, messages and profile posts. As a result, companies have to find alternate means of reaching out to their clients. Email may be the best option as most Facebook users put their addresses in their profiles. 

AllFacebook points out that this restriction is in place to prevent scams from flooding the website. The news source explains that if winners could be announced via status updates, there would be numerous frauds posting messages like "you're a winner, click here to claim your prize." Winners can be named in statuses after small businesses have reached out through a non-Facebook channel. 

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