Be careful with contests

‘Tis the season for giveaways, contests, and special deals.

When you’re using social media to publicize those incentives, be careful, there are rules that most people don’t know about.

If you only remember one rule though, remember this one:

You cannot offer anything in exchange for a like, share, or comment.

This means you can’t say, like our page to be entered to win, or comment and tag a friend, or share this post to be entered to win.

This happens a lot, but it is still against the terms of service for Facebook and Instagram.



Asking for engagement (likes, comments, and shares) while offering a potential pay off for it is essentially paying for engagement. Facebook has ads designed for this and wants you to use those instead.

Facebook has to protect how they make money, but also, contests were reported as not being conducted with fair practices. There’s no guarantee that anyone will actually win what is promised, or that it’s not being given to a family member or friend of the page admin for show.

To protect their users Facebook restricted the use of contests to grow a brand’s presence.

A safe alternative is to create a poll, and then everyone who participates is entered to win. This is also a great opportunity to learn about your audience by asking them a question you’d like the answer to, like which product they prefer. Win-win.