The bad news: Unless you make sure your competition follows the new rules and regulations, Facebook can shut down your page completely. They have basically created these rules so that they could not be held financially responsible for any issues that come out of a businesses’ handling of a contest.
Here is an overview of the new guidelines for promotions run on Facebook outlining the things that Page owners can and cannot do when running promotions on Facebook.
#1 You must use a third- party application to create and promote your contest
Basically what this rule says is that you cannot run your competition on Facebook alone, as it was the case before. You have two solutions. One is to create a competition application yourself, which many people cannot usually do. So unless you are a large enough company that can spend money on an IT guy who can do this, you will need another solution. The good thing is there are a lot of good applications connected to Facebook. Depending on budget and on how you want your contest to be, you can take a pick. A very popular choice is Wildfire, which offers a variety of applications from video to photo contests. Also, North Social and Offer Pop are common, but these have both important disadvantages. The first offers ‘enter name and win’ type of competitions only, while the second offers a price structure based around the number of Facebook Likes your page has. If you want quality for less money, you can successfully choose a cheap, simple to use and quite efficient application called Top Tab Contest.
#2: Your users can’t enter your competition using Facebook
This is where the rules are getting a bit confusing on Facebook. Many business specialists have commented on this rule, arguing they are hazily explained. All you need to know is the bottom line and that is: an user can ‘like’ a page and ‘check-in’ to a place as part of the entry or registration process but this must not be the only action the user takes to enter your competition. Still confused? To put it even clearer, you will use a third party application to install a competitions tab on your Facebook Page. Then, when you put down the sweepstakes rules, tell your competition users they must ‘Like’ the page and then enter their details on your competitions tab.
#3 Voting on winners and winner announcement cannot be made through Facebook.
Basically, you aren’t allowed to notify winners by using Facebook means such as chat, messages or posts. What you have to do is announce it on your company website, in a newsletter or email. Also, other fans cannot use the LIKE button to vote for a winner.
Luckily, any third party application you’d use can provide the functionality to contact your winners through its own data capture system.
#4 Make sure that you don’t in any way imply that your promotion is run by Facebook
This is very important for you, and you need to make sure you are legally covered when launching a competition. Basically, Facebook creators require that you indemnify them from any legal issues and that you take responsibility for all legal aspects of the promotion. So, somewhere down the page where you specify rules and regulations for your contest, you need to mention that users are sending their data to you and not Facebook and Facebook has nothing to do your competition. To make it more professional, you will require a disclaimer. So, make sure the application you use to create and manage your contest offers a disclaimer model. Or, if you want to create your own, make sure you seek legal counsel for this, so your information is up to date and accurate.