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Facebook makes it easier to run Contests, Sweepstakes and Giveaways

Breaking news:   August 28th, 2013, Facebook threw the entire community into a spin by changing the Promotional Guidelines.

I was just about to step on stage and speak to 120 people about “Using Social Media to increase your Sales”  and Facebook went into a melt down.  People were tagging me, sending messages, asking for comments, my iphone was going crazy!  donna_speaking_YIAH

In short, the changes to the Promotional Guidelines now mean that you can run a contest on your Facebook Business Page Timeline. (ie.  do a post, add the required rules and disclaimers),  then people can Click Like or Comment as a way of entering.

Ps… from now on let’s call this type of  Contest an “OnPage Contests” for an easy reference.

The craziness has continued ever since the announcement.  As a business owner who started using contests as a way of growing my page,  I can see the benefits of getting instant engagement using an OnPage Contests. AND for those who have been breaking the rules for so long, they can now breathe a sigh of relief as they no longer run the risk of having their page shutdown.

But are these changes really of any benefit to a Page Owner who is using Facebook ?  Correct me if I am wrong, but the majority of us use this tool ie. Facebook as a way to grow our business and ultimately make money.  

If this is not the reason why you are here then please close this window and continue using Facebook as you were!

I started using Facebook Contests as a tool to help grow my social proof, create brand awareness but more importantly because they allowed me to build a list, which I then used to sell my products and services. 


By running OnPage Contests you don’t get to build social proof  (people are not required to Like your Page to enter) nor do they have to add their names to anything, so you don’t get the benefit of growing a database of potential leads.

So let’s take a look at the Pro’s and Con’s of using OnPage Contests:

The Pro’s –

  • It’s free to set up.
  • It’s quick to set up – create an image and post it.
  • Easy entry for your fans and non fans.
  • Great way to get “quick engagement” on your Page.

The Con’s –

  • People don’t have to put any effort into entering; you’ll attract a lot of seagulls ie. those who swoop in to take the prize.
  • Managing it can be rather time consuming.
  • Stopping people from cheating will be a nightmare.
  • Drawing a winner will have its challenges.
  • Ensuring it’s fair and that everyone is happy with the results could give you some headaches.
  • Big one – contacting the winner when it’s over (unless they are active on your Page or reading your posts, they might even miss their name being shouted out).  Don’t laugh this is already happening!


So what do these new changes mean to YOU when it comes to running a Contest?  After posting your new OnPage Contest, entrants are now able to:

1. Enter via commenting on the Page Post,
2. Enter via liking the Page Post,
3. Enter via messaging the Page, AND
4. People can now click LIKE as a voting mechanism.

(Ps people do not need to be a fan of your page to be able to like and comment).


There are still a couple of things you cannot do!

1. Run an OnPage Contest on your Personal Profile (Contests are only for Business Pages).

2. Tagging – You cannot ask users to tag themselves in images in order to enter the contest.

3. Asking fans to share your post.

4. Asking fans to post something to their own profile to qualify.

 Word of Warning:  You still need to add the disclaimers and releases for Facebook to be compliant with the guidelines.

It’s all still new, but very few businesses are getting these new rules right. They are totally ignoring the rules, releases & disclaimers. Why?  Because most have no idea what it means and how to do it!

(Here’s an example of a Page that ticked all the boxes, including adding rules and disclaimers for their OnPage Contest).


I believe OnPage Contests will have their place for businesses who want to run a quick short time contest to get “instant impact” or helping with “brand awareness” by doing quick giveaways for example;

  • Businesses who are new to Facebook and are testing the waters by giving away a quick prize will boost engagement.
  • Businesses who want to get known ie. when we reach 100 likers we will give away [insert prize].
  • Or how about … I have 2 free tickets to XYZ event, comment below and we’ll draw a winner in the next 24 hours.  
  • We are at the show this weekend, click Like to be in the draw to win tickets!

So the Question on everyone’s lips is:  Would you still use a contest app for running a Contest?

The Answer:  YES

When setting up a contest you need to have a strategy:  Why are you doing this? What do you want to achieve out of it? How will a contest benefit my page?  After answering these questions, then decide on the type of Contest that will work for your strategy.  I use different contests for different prizes and different goals that I want to achieve that month.

My opinion is that OnPage Contests are very basic, they don’t have features that you can access by using a third party apps such as collecting emails, the ability to customise a contest, collection of data that is relevant to your business.  OnPage Contests are much harder to manage and very time consuming for Page Admins. Constant commenting on a post can leave your Page open to spam and turn off your Likers.

Before running any type of Contest, Sweepstakes or Giveaway don’t forget your local or state rules for contests ==>  Read this article “Does your Facebook Contest meet the Local or State Rules”?

Both Contest strategies have a place, it comes down to your goals and the overall marketing strategy and objectives of your business.

At Fanpage Competitions – we have added an OnPage Contest Tool to our suite of Contest Apps, giving our customers the opportunity to manage an OnPage Contest easily or to continue using our simple Sweepstake Apps. 


Facebook’s Updated Guidelines:  https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php#promotionsguidelines

Facebook’s Release on the new Guidelines:  https://www.facebook.com/facebookforbusiness/news/page-promotions-terms

Links to local State Rules:  http://fanpagecompetitions.com/facebook_contest_rules/

Fanpage Competitions Ninja App (including OnPage Contest Tool)  ==>  click here

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