Over the past week I’ve watched a large brand conduct a ‘Like & Share’ competition on Facebook.  Now what’s interesting is, it is an enterprise size company with a dedicated marketing department ignoring Facebook’s clear guidelines about hosting competitions.

Bottom line, you cannot ask users to enter your competition through a ‘like’ of your page or a ‘share’ of the promotion post to a personal timeline.

Before we go on, let’s look at what the rules are for hosting a promotion on Facebook and to be clear on that, a promotion is when you are giving away a prize or asking users to enter or register for something.

The Rules

What You Can Do

You can collect entries to your competition by having users

  • Post a comment on your page or on a post
  • Like a page post (notice that word ‘post’)

What You Can’t Do

  • Ask users to ‘Like’ your page to enter your competition
  • Share your promotion post on their Timeline

The reasons Facebook give for their rules are the following:

1. They want users to post “authentic quality content” to their Timelines to stay connected with the people they care about.

What they mean is, the user who loves his/her competitions might be driving their friends nuts filling up their news feed with competition shares that they consider as spam.

2. As many Facebook users limit visibility of their Timeline to friends, a page cannot see if the user shares the promotion post or not.

To find a winner, the page administrator has to trawl through entrants to find those who have a public Timeline or be a little creative about nominating the winner –and you know what I mean by that, don’t you?

Declaring the Winner

What happens when the page creatively or otherwise decides on the winner? Like so many other brands, the one I’ve been watching over the past week announced the names of the two winners via a Facebook post.   For legal reasons, Facebook do not want brands doing this instead they want you to announce that you have a winner and add a link to a page elsewhere e.g. your website where the winning name is posted.

There is another downside to announcing the winner in this way.  As the page cannot message the user they can only hope the winner sees the post and contacts them.  If there is a deadline to collect the prize, it has the potential to get very messy as I saw with another large brand.

The Fickle Winner

The idea behind any competition is generally to grow awareness of the brand – and that’s a good objective.  However, what often happens with ‘Like and Share’ competitions is you attract people who have no interest in your brand whatsoever, and once the competition is over, they’re gone.

And that’s so true with the brand page whose competition I’ve been monitoring.  The winners responded to the announcement post which meant I had the opportunity to check them out.  Lo and behold both – one male, one female – have public Timelines and both are ‘Like and Share’ nutters.  On both Timelines I could see endless reams of like and share competitions from brands offering everything from kitchen utensils to cars.

A Winning Format? You Decide

Is this the perfect winner? I don’t believe so. But perhaps you think differently and see Facebook ‘Like and Share’ competitions as having value. It will depend on the objective you have. If it’s all about boosting likes on your page you’re probably going to achieve your goal. Whether those likes have real value is another thing altogether and only time will tell. As I’ve said before when working with business owners, it’s your business and it’s up to you how to run it. Having said that, if you are using Facebook as a tool to promote your business, it’s in your interest to know the terms and conditions of use.

Any comments?  I’d love to hear them so go ahead and post below.


 Carole Smith, SynNeo

Carole Smith is a qualified coach and Social Selling specialist with a background in travel and travel technology.  Carole has presented at conferences, hosted public seminars, delivered training and webinars around the country and is the author of the extensive Irish Travel Industry Digital Trends Report 2013

To contact Carole, E: [email protected] | T: 353 1 547 7884 | W: Synneo

Share Post