Is your social media competition breaking the rules?
Building a large social community of engaged followers takes a brand months or even years of hard work. You need to create a continuous stream of entertaining content that resonates well with your audience.
One of the best tried and tested ways to quickly reach new customers and build your social following is to run competitions. Social competitions are free to run (minus the prize cost), low commitment and can help you establish brand awareness. But if you’re not familiar with the platform’s competition guidelines, you could find the business page you’ve been working on for years is deleted and cannot be recovered.
To take the risk out of running competitions on social media, we’ve taken a look at the community guidelines on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep you in the right.
Facebook Competition Rules
Business pages are allowed to run competitions on Facebook as long as they adhere to all of Facebook’s community guidelines and general legalities for competition. These tend to change often so always check the latest guidelines before launching your competition.
- Asking a user to like a post
- Asking a user to comment on a post
- Asking a user to post on your page
- Asking a user to message your page
- Asking a user to like your page
- Asking a user to ‘like’ as a voting mechanism
- You cannot ask someone to share the post on their timeline
- You cannot ask someone to share the post on their friend’s timeline
- You cannot ask someone to tag their friends in the post
If your competition violates these guidelines, your business page could be deleted without warning. Facebook will not reinstate your page, meaning you lose all of your following.
Instagram Competition Rules
Any account on Instagram can run a competition as long as they comply with all general legalities and community guidelines. Instagram is much more relaxed with competition rules than Facebook – read them here.
- Asking a user to follow your account
- Asking a user to comment on an image
- Asking a user to like an image
- Asking a user to repost your image
- Asking a user to tag their friend/friends in the comments
- Asking a user to post their own photo on their account using a specific hashtag
- You cannot ask someone to tag themselves or other people in an image they aren’t in
If you’re seen to be violating Instagram guidelines, you could find your account is disabled or removed.
Twitter Competition Rules
Business pages and individuals can run competitions on their Twitter profile as long as they follow Twitter’s promotions guidelines and the general legalities surrounding competitions. The competition guidelines Twitter has created aim to prevent spam entry mechanisms, such as re-tweeting the same tweet multiple times in a day.
- Asking a user to follow your account
- Asking a user to re-tweet your post
- Asking a user to mention your account using @reply
- Asking a user to include relevant hashtags in their response such as #contest or #companyname
- Drive users to a competition landing page on your website
- You cannot ask a user to create multiple accounts to enter more than once
- You cannot ask a user to post duplicate or near duplicate updates (like saying ‘whoever re-tweets this the most wins’)
Violating these rules could result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of your account.
My competitors are breaking the rules!
Particularly on Facebook, it’s not uncommon to see brands breaking the rules for social competitions. Asking users to share competition posts or tag their friends is a quick and easy way for a brand to boost reach. Whilst frustrating to see competitors doing this, these pages are running the risk of being deleted.
After pouring hours into building your audience, it’s simply not worth the risk to be caught going against the platform’s promotion guidelines. Even if a business page manager is simply unaware of the guidelines, if the page is deleted by the Facebook team it can’t be reinstated and business must start from scratch with zero likes.