Updated: June 19, 2018

If you’ve been using social media to engage your customers for any length of time, you probably remember the days when running Facebook contests was a confusing morass of rules, restrictions and third-party apps with bewildering interfaces.

Back in the day, Facebook contests were a minefield so fraught with danger that many companies — especially small, family-run businesses — didn’t even bother. Thankfully, today’s rules are much simpler. Companies can actually run contests on Facebook the simple way, without awkward integrated apps.

Still, there are certain things your Whatcom County business shouldn’t do, and we’ll do our best to explain. If you’re hoping to use Facebook contests and promotions to reward (and build) your audience, this post is for you.

What not to do with Facebook contests

Regarding the list of don’ts, the most important thing to remember is that you can’t ask people to involve others or to share anything on their personal timelines. For example, you can’t write:

  • “Share on your timeline to enter.”
  • “Share on your friend’s timeline to get additional entries.”
  • “Tag your friends in this post to enter.”

How to engage your fans with Facebook contests

What you can do, though, is ask people to interact directly with your page. (That’s what you want them to be doing anyway, right?) For example, the following statements are OK:

  • “Like this post to enter.”
  • “Comment below to put your name in the hat.”
  • “Contest open to people who like the PRC Facebook page.”
  • “Write your favorite Bellingham business in the comments below, and we’ll give a gift card to one commenter at random.”

Another thing you must do, according to Facebook, is include “a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant” and an “acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.” Here’s a great template for those statements and any other official rules that you might want to govern your contest.

Oh, and here’s one huge point to remember: When it comes to prizes, your audience might prefer experiences over things. Younger people, especially, would rather win entrance to an event, for example, than a physical prize. If your audience is largely millennials, you might consider offering museum or music tickets, for example, instead of T-shirts. With all of the amazing events and experiences available in Bellingham, Lynden and throughout Whatcom County, you have lots of options to choose from.

If any of this sounds overwhelming, you might consider the value of having a professional and experienced marketing team handle this for you. PRC can help! Just give us a call at 360-305-3720 or reach out online.

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