Back in the days of the digital wild, wild west – also referred to as the early aughts, when social media was just getting a foothold in popular culture – running Facebook promotions was pretty easy, mainly because there weren’t many rules.  But in 2009, Facebook changed their promotion guidelines with a slew of complicated requirements – from how to run a promotion, to where you could run it within the platform.

The new rules were fairly opaque (nevermind the Draconian prerequisite permission needed from Facebook and high monthly spending requirements).  If you didn’t have a legal team at your side to suss out the details, chances were you were breaking the rules.   And leaving your company page subject to Facebook’s removal.

Since then, Facebook has become more lax about their promotion rules.  In the summer of 2013, they not only removed the rule that all promotions had to be administered via a third party app, they also opened up Page Timelines as a viable location to run your promotions.  Previously, Page Timelines were a no-promotion zone.  This means it is now much easier to run a Facebook promotion as a small business.  No spending requirements.  No having to pay for a third-party app.

Facebook promotions include contests, giveaways, and any other promotion that requires users to perform an action in order to participate in the promotion.  Here are the most pertinent new guidelines for running a promotion on Facebook post-2013:

  • Admins may administer promotions on Company Page Timelines and Tabs, in addition to third party apps (but not on personal Timelines)
  • Admins may require and collect entries by having users post on their Page, engage with a Page post (such as commenting or liking), or by having users message the Page.
  • Admins cannot, however, automatically enter people who have Liked their page.  They also cannot collect entries by requiring users to:

a) share content
b) post on their personal timeline or the timeline of their friends
c) tag themselves in a photo

  • Admins can now utilize Likes as a voting mechanism, including on-page Likes and a Like button plugin on a third party website.
  • Admins cannot, however, require photo-tagging as a voting mechanism.
  • Admins can now announce and notify promotional winners on their Page

If you are considering running a Facebook promotion for your business, but are not sure whether to use your Company Page or a third party app, Social Media Examiner does a great job of breaking down the pros and cons of each option, here.

And don’t forget to do your legal homework – see attorney Sara F. Hawkins’ helpful post on the legal implications of Facebook’s new promotional guidelines, here.

Happy promoting!