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Facebook has announced changes to its promotional guidelines which will make it easier for businesses to run competitions from its page. Gone are the strict rules surrounding app-only promotions as now post likes and comments can all count towards competition entries.

Facebook has said that it’s made the changes to allow businesses of all sizes to take advantage of running competitions and promotions, and it has a point. A lot of companies have capitalised on the fact that many small and medium sized businesses have been unable to build apps to run competitions in-house, a simple promotion can set them back hundreds of pounds, and that’s before any money’s been spent on advertising.

So what do the new changes mean?

In a nutshell,

  • You don’t HAVE to run a promotion via a third-party app anymore (although you can if you want to)
  • You CAN get people to comment or like a post to enter a promotion
  • You CAN get people to post comments or photos to enter a promotion
  • You CAN use likes as a voting mechanic
  • You CAN’T ask people to share a post as part of a competition
  • You CAN’T run a promotion on a personal timeline
  • You CAN’T ask people to tag themselves in a photo that they’re not in
  • You CAN’T ask people to like and share to enter a promotion

What does this mean for businesses?

As we’ve already mentioned these changes now allow small businesses who don’t have the budget for app builds to begin creating promotions to increase page engagement, fans and reach. While this is a good thing for business owners, they need to be extremely careful not to fall into the spam trap. What do we mean by this? Let’s show you. Since the guidelines changed we’ve already seen several businesses create competitions where they’ve bent the rules and reduced the quality of posts.


Here these companies, while not strictly going against the guidelines have requested not only a like, but a comment and page share for entry. For page fans we understand that winning something from a favoured brand is probably quite relevant, however to everyone else who’s had friends interact with it, when it pops up in their newsfeed it’ll likely come across as extremely spammy and doesn’t do anything for business credibility.

So, what can businesses do to ensure their posts get traction with their audience?

As with everything on social media, it all comes down to quality and relevance. The posts and content that you share have to serve a purpose and have to be relevant to your audience. While you may want to extend page reach by inviting people to ‘share’ a competition, never forget the end user. Imagine the following scenarios,

  • Scenario 1: You scroll down your newsfeed and see that a friend has interacted with a ‘like to win’ promotion, the topic isn’t relevant to you but you have seen dogfoodheaven’s post which has 500 likes all in a bid to win a year’s supply of dog food.
  • Scenario 2: You scroll down your newsfeed and see that a friend has interacted with a post fromdogfoodheaven, the topic isn’t relevant to you but you’ve spotted the post content which is a link out to a blog post titled 5 reasons why I wouldn’t give cheap dog food to my pet.

Which of the two are you likely to interact with? We know which one our mouse would hover over.

Now we’re not saying that promotions shouldn’t be ran, but just remember that every single post you put out there is reflective of your brand. If you can afford to spend a couple of hundred pounds building an app that people are likely to enjoy and share because it’s fun then that’ll add far more value to your business than any number of ‘like to win’ fans.

Sometimes it’s worth the investment for the return you receive. What are your thoughts? Have you tried out the new Facebook post promotion? Has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us

AUTHOR: Harriet Rhodes
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