BE HONEST. How many of you have thought about running a ‘like and share’ competition on Facebook?

They seem like a pretty good idea, don’t they? Just create a simple graphic with your competition offering on it and tell people they need to like your business page and share the post to be in with a chance of winning.

Simples. Viral message spread for the cost of a bottle of bubbly (or whatever glorious prize you choose to offer).

Trouble is, this kind of post goes directly against Facebook rules… and it’s exactly the kind of marketing that gets your page closed down. Deleted. Deceased. An ex-Facebook page.

Was it worth it? All that hard work and all those contacts GONE for the sake of a fast and cheap marketing ploy?

Here’s the official bit from Facebook: “You must not use Facebook features or functionality (likes, comments, videos, photos, cover photos, etc.) as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant. Similarly, requiring someone to share a post or photo in order to enter a promotion is not allowed.”

And: “Facebook features and functionality, such as the Like button, can’t be used as a voting mechanism in a promotion.”

Sir Spamalot

If you were asked about spam (the annoying online variety, rather than tins of meat), we’re guessing you’d be dead against it. You’d probably say your business would NEVER engage in spamming your audience, right? And yet, by running a like and share competition, that’s exactly what you’re encouraging people to do. Guess what? Very often, it’s people reporting your competition as spam that leads to deletion. Think about it… when people start sharing your post, it very quickly ends up spamming people’s pages multiple times. Would you want that on your page?

Irritation aside, you might decide it’s still a worthy marketing ploy. We all want our messages to go viral, so why not give people some gentle encouragement? Is it worth a calculated risk? We don’t think so. Firstly, you may well end up with eager goody-grabbers liking your page who, otherwise, might have no interest in your product offering – and what’s the point in marketing to them after the event? It just muddies an otherwise targeted list. That aside, you could also end up looking a bit, well, shoddy. In the eyes of your rule-abiding peers, you either don’t know how to use Facebook properly, or you just don’t care. Not great messages, are they?

Fair competition?

Still want more deterrent? Realistically, it’s quite difficult to trace all the individuals who might have shared your page post, so it’s not really a fair competition. Oh, and if you decide to announce the winner through your Facebook page, that’s also a big no-no. Check this out:

Our advice? Follow the rules! Facebook has made it pretty easy for you to run a competition from the page now – they’ve even built a tool to help you promote it. And if you’re determined to try an online competition that doesn’t involve paying for promotion, why not try Twitter? There are lots of options for competitions there, and nowhere near as many rules to abide by!

From time to time, you’ll no doubt see your buddies falling into the Facebook ‘like and share’ competition trap, but remember two wrongs don’t make a right. Maybe they’re ignorant of the rules, maybe they’re just ignoring them, but don’t be tempted to follow suit. After all, when they lose their entire Facebook fanbase due to their own stupidity, your page will still be going strong!

  •  What do you think? Have you tried a ‘like and share’ competition and got away with it? Was it worth the risk? Did you even know you were breaking the rules? Or has your page been blocked or deleted? Let us know… we’d love to hear your views.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: As of August 2013, Facebook has now relaxed its competition rules, so you can now count likes and comments as valid entries. There’s more too… here’s Facebook’s official announcement:


One Reply to “Facebook competition mistakes: don’t risk deletion”

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