Posted in: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Social Media, Success Stories, Twitter

Know the rules of social media competitions

Posted: January 10, 2014 11:00 am EDT Updated: April 20, 2015 11:00 am EDT Know the rules of social media competitions

Photo courtesy of: Facebook.

With people easing back into work, we think summer is the perfect time to get your competitions going in social media. Each platform has terms and conditions or policies of sign up and although it’s another thing on your to do list, take the time to read them. It could save you from a world of pain later.

And of course, get your own competition terms and conditions water-tight (thanks Anna Connell). Our tip is have a look at those done by telcos and banks in New Zealand and around the world. They’ve had some fine legal eyes pass over them and revise them often.

Facebook eased up on its previously very strict terms and policies and page guidelines. But it still observes rules and and if you get your Facebook brand presence alive and kicking you don’t want to slip up and have them delete your page – because they have and it will. Facebook competitions are called “promotions” and you must abide by the rules (III. Page Features, E. Promotions). It’s part of liability issue (Facebook don’t want to be liable for someone else’s competition stuff-ups and be sued because of it).

Example: You can’t get followers to inaccurately tag one of your images as themselves when it is clearly not a photo of them:

II.    Page Management, D.    Tagging

You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (ex: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).

Facebook previously required that page admins use third-party apps to administer competitions. These can still be great to make your promotion more professional looking. A couple of apps to look at are Wildfire – created by Kiwi entrepreneur Victoria Ransom and sold to Google in 2012 – and North Social. At About Us, there is still huge value in using these apps if you have coins to spare as they’re time-tested and will walk you through the set-up of your competitions and have the advantage of being branded up to suit your business. If you get stuck, leap on Wildfire‘s or North Social’s YouTube channel and search for set-up tips.

Part of Facebook competition changes means you can now giveaway stuff in a status update – from movie tickets to $1million – and announce your winner there. And you can run ‘Like to win’ competitions. But you still cannot ask fans to “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”At About Us, we think it’s important that before you dip into competitions that you consider how, say, a ‘Like our page to win’ or ‘Like our status to win’ competition impacts the value of your brand. If you want your numbers to grow, asking people to like your page is a quick fix. And if you want interaction to grow, again, a like our status update will get that. But if you want to gather a crew of like-minded, engaged followers that could turn into your loyal customers, your proposition for them to enter your competition needs to be more compelling – and a whole lot less desperate. 

With any competition, we think anything that contributes to the value of your page being a great place to visit is the smartest way to go. So photo caption competitions are all good by us, and can make for some hilarious reading. And remember, nothing that targets under-13-years-olds who are prohibited from using Facebook.

As a final read, know your own legal rights and responsibilities in using Facebook.

Twitter’s contest guidelines are basically a set of terms that ensure that your contest doesn’t compromise anyone entering by asking them to break Twitter’s rules. Twitter is a great platform for quick, fun, rewarding giveaways, and people love winning anything from caps and t-shirts to show tickets, not just the big stuff. Short one-hour competitions add value to users and will grow your engaged followers. In thinking about Twitter competitions, consider how your followers – by entering your competition – can add to the quality of Twitter content. Pay-it-forward competitions, where you reward another Twitter follower, for example, can increase your following and are a good read for other users. For example:

@brandname I want to reward my sister @sistersname because she broke her ankle while saving whales. #competitionhashtag #payitforward.

Positive all the way and a whole lot better than gimme, gimme, gimme.

“Pin it to win it” is a popular theme for Pinterest competitions. There are plenty of blogs out there about how to get your competitions rolling on Pinterest. Here’s one we found that will help you plan your competition goals. Pinterest terms of service don’t have a specific set of guidelines around competitions. To dream up your own competition, take a prompt from competitions that already exist. Just type into Google : “Pinterest contests” or “Pinterest competitions”. Here’s an example of what you might find. you can also use Twitter in your Pinterest competitions by using #PintoWin as a hashtag to reach a broad audience with each pin (you can tweet pins). Bear in mind too that Pinterest is prohibited from use by under 13-year-olds.

Similarly, Instagram’s terms of use stipulate users must be over 13 years old so don’t design your competition around the under 13s. Instagram provides very basic guidelines on how to Host a Photo Campaign with great examples to look at. In New Zealand, Auckland’s Big Little City ran three-month June to September 453 Reasons to #LoveyourcityBLC campaign (not competition) where people were invited to upload photos at a location within Auckland’s central city using the hashtag #loveyourcityblc. Within its first month it had more than 4,000 uploads with the very best forming part of an exhibition in Auckland’s Art Week October 11-20. We think this is a smart way to run an Instagram campaign especially with the real life exhibition to round it off. While not a competition as such, it rewards the best entries with being part of live exhibition. Here’s what The Social Skinny thinks about how and why to run an Instagram contest.

Like all platforms, Google+ has Pages Contest and Promotions Policies with the bottom line being you can’t run competitions on Google+. You can post a link to a competition hosted on another platform, however but you cannot use any Google+ functionality, such as the +1 button as part of competition activity.