In December 2009 Facebook made a few adjustments to its formal policy on competitions and promotions which you no doubt will have heard about.

The net result was that promotions on Facebook can’t hold:

  • Photo contests which require profile photo manipulation
  • Status updates which require posting updates for entry
  • Only contest entries once a user has become a fan of your page

A couple of my clients have been liaising directly with Facebook over this and we have found out that you can actually hold a competition on your page if you support it will £5,000 worth of Facebook advertising. Facebook Promotions Policy

Now I have been involved in quite a few campaigns that have used Facebook advertising as a small element and if you are working for a global brand £5K is not that much. However, if you are a small business looking to run a promotion on your Facebook page you are going to have to be very careful because as Facebook states:

You may not administer any promotion through Facebook, except that you may administer a promotion through the Facebook Platform with our prior written approval. Such written approval may be obtained only through an account representative at Facebook. If you are already working with an account representative, please contact that representative to begin the approval process. If you do not work with an account representative, you can use this contact form to inquire about working with an account representative.

Recently, Facebook has really stepped up its policing of its pages by closing down competitions and promotions that breach its guidelines. So if you are running a competition for your business or your clients, please do be careful and try to be open and transparent with them.

My question is this – does this £5,000 investment in Facebook advertising hurt small businesses that use this network as a channel of communication or is it fair enough that it charges for this?

Competitions and promotions are one of the reasons Facebook grew so quickly because it encouraged fun and engagement and for me this doesn’t quite sit right. Surely as a business Facebook makes enough money from its advertising platform and it is likely to make even more following the launch of its most recent service, Search which it launched today.

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About Chris Norton

Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and an award winning communications consultant with more than twenty years’ experience. He was a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and has had a varied PR career having worked both in-house and in a number of large consultancies. He is an Integrated PR and social media blogger and writes on a wide variety of blogs across a huge amount of topics from digital marketing, social media marketing right through to technology and crisis management.