Facebook Contest Rules

Facebook contests are a great way to give your fans a reason to visit your Fan Page. But ever since Facebook published its new Promotions Guidelines last fall, clients have been asking how they can run a contest and still operate within Facebook accepted practices.

A Note from your Mommy

According to the new guidelines, companies must obtain explicit written permission from their Facebook Sales Representative if they want to run a contest.

And, in order to have a Facebook Sales Rep, you have to spend $10,000 per month on Facebook advertising.

At first blush it would seem that the little guy is out of luck.

There is a way around this, however. And it is totally legal. (in the U.S. and in Facebook land)

Use a Third Party Application

When you run your contest on a third party application, you don’t need prior written approval from Facebook.

The Facebook Sales and Legal team has approved campaigns where the entry form process occurs outside the confines of Facebook, on a microsite that is integrated with Facebook Connect.
This is what third party applications in effect do – they send the registrant to a microsite that is not technically on the Facebook platform.
You can have your participants enter your promotion through your Facebook Page, post news items to their Facebook walls, and invite their Facebook friends to participate in the contest.
When you run a promotion through a third party application, you don’t need written approval. Because the contest is taking place on a microsite that the third party app hosts.

There are a few third party applications doing this, but my favorite is Wildfire.

Why I like Wildfire

  • It has reasonable pricing, especially for small businesses or non-profits. You can run a promotion through Wildfire for less than $35 per month.
  • Wildfire has a strong relationship with Facebook, so it is in their best interest to play by Facebook’s rules.
  • It has secured both angel and  Series A funding. It has been profitable since it started and appears to be on solid ground, not a fly-by-night operation.
  • Wildfire is responsive. (I wish I could say the same about Facebook) If you post a message on their forum or send a question via email, a Wildfire rep will answer you quickly, honestly and without BS.

Want more information on Facebook Contests? Check out Facebook for Arts Organizations or Engage your People with Facebook.

11 Comments to Facebook Contest Rules

  1. at | Permalink


    This is awesome information- I don’t think I’m ready for it now but it’s awesome to know this information exists. Thanks!

  2. at | Permalink

    This is a great post– thanks for being so positive about Wildfire, it really means a lot to us when we see the support of our friends, fans, and users. Did you happen to see that we have a new case study library? You should definitely give it a look, and if you have suggestions for other cases we should write up, you can always shoot us a note or give us a ring. The library is at “http://www.wildfireapp.com/customers/entertainment”

    Community Manager

  3. at | Permalink

    Wow, thank you SO much! Great info and I would not have known this otherwise. Nice to know there’s a loophole — it’s hard to decipher all the “rules” these days. xo

  4. at | Permalink

    Thank you for the informative post. We are in the process of deciding to have a contest via Facebook or Twitter to generate more traffic to our web site. this post was very helpful. If this page has a follow attribute expect alot of link love from our social network.

  5. at | Permalink

    A couple of things about Wildfire that escaped your attention:

    1. When a user clicks on a promo on your FB page he/she is immediately redirected to Wildfire page, so at this moment your user becomes their user.

    2. The second your user allows Wildfire app, he/she is subscribed to Wildfire’s email advertising and starts receiving their spam messages.

    Not all page admins are aware how Wildfire works, so FYI :)

Get your slice via e-mail

MEET Jacquelyn

  • I like pies, but I don't make them. I help organizations bake up social web strategy.

    (and it's quite delicious)

Stay Connected: