Your Checklist For Running Facebook/Twitter Contests

by Jennifer Dancy


Social media is a great tool that allows you to interact and engage with your customer bases. Even better, using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to run contests or promotions is a highly effective way to establish your brand, reward your customers, generate sales, and build an ongoing relationship with your larger network. This means that if you’re not running contests already (or not running them correctly), you may get left behind.

Why You Should Run Contests

If you have been thinking about running a contest or promotion but haven’t done one yet, now is the time. Since Facebook and Twitter are the most socially used media platforms, we would recommend starting there. Facebook has 845 million monthly active users, and Twitter has over 100 million. But more specifically, Facebook reaches about 44 percent of all Internet users on a daily basis and Twitter reaches about 8.6 percent of all Internet users daily, according to web analytics company What does this mean for you? That means you have the attention of a lot of people, each and every day. By using social media to send out promotions, you not only get to interact in a meaningful way (by offering them something they want and encouraging participation), you will likely gain new fans — it’s the best of both worlds.

Running a simple enter-to-win contest, offering discounts to those who promote to friends, or showing off your sense of humor by encouraging creative submissions are all great ways to interact with your customers. However, before you plan to run the promotion, verify that it complies with both Facebook and Twitter contest guidelines. Use these checklists to ensure you are following the rules for every promotion.

Contest Checklist for Facebook

Facebook emphasizes that it is up to you to ensure any contest or promotion you are running is legal, in addition to meeting the following guidelines:

  • Promotions must to be run though Apps on, either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab.
  • Each entrant must release Facebook of any liability.
  • You must acknowledge that the contest it is no way associated with Facebook.
  • Participants must know and acknowledge that they any information given for the contest is given to your business, not Facebook.
  • Facebook’s tools can’t be used for the contest, meaning you cannot encourage participantsto enter by “liking” a page or using check-in. You also can’t require them to use FB features to be eligible (e.g., no requesting photo uploads, likes, wall posts). And the like button may not be used as a voting mechanism.
  • The contest must have its own registration or entry form.
  • You can’t notify winners through Facebook.
  • Ads can’t imply that Facebook endorses or partners in any way.

Contest Checklist for Twitter

Twitter also has its own specifications regarding contests and promotions, including:

  • Verify that the contest or promotion follows all laws and regulations.
  • Discourage users from creating multiple accounts to enter the contest more than once — your account can be suspended if you encourage this.
  • Don’t ask for retweets for contest eligibility. Posting the same tweet repeatedly is against Twitter’s rules, and can result in followers being filtered out of the Twitter search.
  • Use current and relevant hashtag topics (not #contest or #companyname)—this can also violate Twitter rules.

As long as your contest complies with these specific rules, then you can get started. Remember, make the contests creative and fun to draw more people in. Maybe encourage them to submit photos, videos, or essays that include your product in use. Remember: the more engaging the contest, the better the results will be.

Do you run contests or promotions on your social networks? Tell us how they work for you in the comments below.