How to Write Facebook Contest Rules & Regulations: 9 Best Practices
Ready to push “go” on your Facebook contest, but unsure of what rules and regulations you need?
You’re in the right place.
In this article I’ll show you nine of the most important rules and regulations that you should include in your Facebook Contest.
In your contest rules and regulations, you’ll want to clearly discuss the following:
#1. Disclaimer of any contest sponsors and/or judges
If a company is sponsoring your contest, you want to be transparent and let prospective entrants know. People want to know any and all organizations that are influencing an event or activity they are looking to participating in.
#2. Requirements for who is eligible to enter the contest
Remember that there are now over one billion people on Facebook. So while your contest may initially just be seen by your local audience, it can easily spread around the world to audiences you never expected.
So be sure to set specific eligibility requirements, especially around age and geography.
You especially want to use geographical restrictions if you only sell through a physical location, like a restaurant or spa, or if you are giving away a physical product and don’t want to have spend hundreds of dollars to ship your product across the world.
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#3. Contest entry and voting periods
Provide the both start and end dates, including exact time and time zone, for when:
- People can enter the contest,
- People can vote on contest entries (if applicable)
- Over what time period judging will occur (if applicable)
- When the winner will be chosen and announced
#4. How the winner is selected
There are four commonly accepted ways to choose a winner for your contest. These can each be used on their own, or in combination with one another:
- Random selection
- Selection by a panel of judges
- Most votes submitted by the public
- Selection by the contest owner of the entry that best exemplifies the entry requirement
One thing you always want to include, no matter which type of winner selection method you choose, is a caveat that you have the right to disqualify any entry. This is important if you need to disqualify an inappropriate or fraudulent entry.
#5. How the winner will be contacted
The best way to contact the winner after a contest is via email. So make sure to ask for email on your entry form and to tell entrants to watch their inbox for an email from you after they enter.
Also, it’s best to tell entrants when you’ll be sending the email - otherwise they may get annoyed that they need to check every day over an extended period of time.
You also need to provide a time limit for how long a winner will have to claim their prize before you skip them and move on to the next entrant.
You want to be able to announce the winner in a timely fashion, or else entrants will forget or start asking you about it. As a general rule, give 3 - 7 days for the winner to respond to your email before selecting another (be sure to let the original winner know you’re doing so by email).
Regulation Tip: Facebook actually requires you to inform the winner of your contest before you can post about it to the other entrants on their platform. Don't forget!
#6. How any personal information will be used
With the tightening of email privacy legislation, such as CAN-SPAM in the U.S. and CASL in Canada, you need to be explicit in telling entrants how their personal and contact information will be used.
If a person enters a contest, you will want to add an optional opt-in checkbox to allow people to opt-in to receive emails from you after your contest is over. You don’t want to just automatically add contest entrants to your newsletter list after they enter.
And if you want to provide the entry list to any contest sponsors, be sure to include an additional checkbox on the entry form so that entrants can opt-in.
#7. How you will deal with suspected contest fraud and cheating
It doesn’t happen very often, but there is a small chance that someone may commit some kind of fraud in order to increase their chances of winning.
The type of fraud we see most often is vote buying: This is when people pay others to vote for their entry when a contest winner is decided by number of votes.
Now, it can be almost impossible to prove 100% that a person has bought votes, but it’s easy to see when someone is doing it. Here are a few warning signs that a person is buying votes:
- One entry has far more votes than any other
- One entry is getting a large number of votes from people who live in different countries.
Here’s one way that you could write your terms of how you will deal with fraud:
We reserve the right to disqualify any entrant that we suspect of vote rigging or vote buying.
#8. Disclaimer that the contest is in no way associated with Facebook
This one is explicitly listed in Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines. You must include a written disclaimer that must include the following:
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
- Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
Here is the one that Wishpond uses by default in all of its Facebook Contest Apps:
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to [Your Company Name] and not to Facebook. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any claims.
#9. Any regional/state/national or international contest laws
Just about every state and national government has their own legislation on how to administer a contest, how contestants can enter and who is eligible to do so. This is generally due to their laws on lotteries and gambling.
This is why in Canada, for example, many national contests cannot be won by residents of Quebec, because they have very strict contest laws that differ from most other Canadian provinces.
While there are many rules for each region, the most common one to steer clear of is charging people for entry to your contest. This is because most governments consider this type of contest a lottery, which can only be administered by approved bodies.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find this useful in writing the rules and regulations for your Facebook Contest.
Are there any rules & regulations that I missed?
Let me know in comments below!
To learn more about Wishpond's contests, check out these free courses from Wishpond Academy:
- How to Create a Sweepstakes
- How to Create a Photo Contest
- How to Create a Vote Contest
- How to Create Referral Contest
- How to Create a Essay Contest
- How to Create a Referral Contest