When was the last time you ran a contest or sweepstakes? Running a contest or sweepstakes is a fun and effective way to introduce your business to new customers, increase your list of email subscribers and get new followers on your most valuable social networks.
Sounds fun, right?
Yes, it is! Just make sure that your contest isn’t breaking any laws where you live, and that it’s not in violation of the regulations most social media networks have in place.
Of course, we recommend embedding your contest or sweepstakes on your website, or hosting it as a landing page — and then promoting the link on your social networks — so you don’t have to worry about breaking rules individual platforms’ regulations.
Current regulations for the most popular platforms are listed below:
Facebook Promotion Guidelines
1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
a. The official rules;
b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).
4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.
Twitter Promotion Guidelines
Businesses, organizations, and even some creative individuals have hosted contests and sweepstakes through their Twitter profile. Contests and sweepstakes on Twitter may offer prizes for tweeting a particular update, for following a particular user, or for posting updates with a specific hashtag. If you’ve been thinking about hosting a contest using your Twitter profile, here are some simple guidelines to follow to ensure your contest doesn’t ask anyone to violate any of Twitter’s rules or guidelines:
1. Discourage the creation of multiple accounts
If users make lots of accounts in order to enter a contest more than once, they’re liable to get all of their accounts suspended. Please be sure to include a rule stating that anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible.
2. Discourage posting the same Tweet repeatedly
Posting duplicate, or near duplicate, updates or links is a violation of the Twitter Rules and jeopardizes search quality. Please don’t set rules to encourage lots of duplicate updates (like saying, “whoever retweets this the most wins”). Your contest or sweepstakes could cause users to be automatically filtered out of Twitter search. Plus, instead of their followers seeing your cool contest or sweepstakes, their followers might start getting annoyed by your contest. You might want to set a clear contest rule stating that multiple entries in a single day will not be accepted.
3. Ask users to include an @reply to you in their update so you can see all the entries
When it comes to picking a winner, you’ll want to see all the contestants. If the updates include @username mention to you, you’ll be able to see all the updates in your Mentions timeline (see here for more information on replies and mentions). Just doing a public search may not show every single update, and some contestants may be filtered from search for quality.
4. Encourage the use of topics relevant to the contest
You might decide to have users include relevant hashtag topics along with the updates (like #contest or #yourcompanyname). Keep in mind that hashtag topics need to be relevant to the update; encouraging users to add your hashtag to totally unrelated updates might cause them to violate the Twitter Rules.
5. Follow The Twitter Rules
While these guidelines should help keep your contest entrants in good standing, please make sure you also review both the Twitter Rules and our search best practices before starting your contest. If you’re a business on Twitter, you might also want to check out business.twitter.com for more information and tips.
6. Applicable Laws and Regulations
In addition, before starting any contests or sweepstakes please ensure that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Compliance with such laws and regulations is your responsibility; please consult with an attorney if you have questions about legal compliance.
Instagram Promotion Guidelines
If you use Instagram to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
The official rules;
1. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
2. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
3. You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (ex: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).
Promotions on Instagram must include the following:
4. A complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant.
5. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
6. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion and cannot advise you on whether consent is required for use of user content or on how to obtain any necessary consent.
7. You agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.
Pinterest Promotion Guidelines
If you run a contest or other type of promotion on Pinterest, please encourage authentic behavior, keep Pinterest spam-free and be sure to comply with all relevant laws and regulations. In addition, please:
1. Don’t require participants to Pin a specific image
2. Don’t allow more than one entry per participant
3. Don’t suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses you or the promotion
Snapchat Promotions Rules
If you use Snapchat as part of any type of promotion, contest, or sweepstakes (all referred to on this page as a ‘Promotion’), you are responsible for ensuring that your Promotion complies with all legal requirements. This includes writing the official rules, terms, and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions), and complying with marketing regulations (ex: registration and disclosure requirements and regulatory approvals). Legal requirements for Promotions can vary from place to place, so please work with a lawyer or other expert to ensure you won’t violate any applicable laws. Snapchat is not responsible or liable to you in any way if you use the Snapchat App as part of your Promotion.
In addition, if you plan to run a Promotion on Snapchat, please adhere to the following Snapchat Promotions Rules.
1. Make it easy to get involved with clear and simple instructions
2. Provide official rules for your Promotion
3. Expressly state in your Promotion official rules that each entrant or participant completely releases Snapchat from all claims based on, related to, or arising from the Promotion
4. Expressly state in your Promotion official rules, and make clear through the presentation of your Promotion, that your Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Snapchat
1. Use Snapchat’s name, trademarks, logo or other intellectual property except as necessary to comply with these Promotions Rules
2. Encourage illegal or illicit behavior
3. Encourage spammy behavior, such as asking participants to send Snaps to friends
YouTube’s Contest Policies and Guidelines
YouTube does not allow contests to be run through ad units, but you can engage users in contests through your content on the platform, provided that the contest conforms with the below rules.
I. General Restrictions and Requirements:
You are solely responsible for your contest.
Your contest on YouTube must comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, including U.S. sanctions.
Your contest cannot infringe upon or encourage the infringement of any third party rights or the participation in any unlawful activity.
You cannot ask the user to give all rights for, or transfer the ownership of, their entry to you.
Your contest must be free to enter (don’t forget to check your local lottery laws!)
You may not pay a third party or parties to manipulate metrics on the YouTube Service, including numbers of views, likes, dislikes, or subscribers such that those metrics fail to reflect genuine user engagement with the YouTube Service.
You cannot associate or affiliate YouTube with your contest without YouTube’s prior written consent. This prohibits, among other things, expressly stating, or doing anything that suggests, that YouTube is involved with or has endorsed your contest in any way.
II. Your Official Contest Rules:
You must have a set of “Official Rules” which:
a. include links to the YouTube Community Guidelines and indicate entries which don’t comply will be disqualified.
b. state all disclosures required by all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, including U.S. sanctions.
c. are wholly compliant and consistent with the YouTube Terms of Service.
Your contest must be conducted, and all prizes awarded as outlined in your Official Rules.
You are responsible for your rules and all aspects of your contest administration.
Your rules must clearly state that YouTube is not a sponsor of your contest and require users to release YouTube from any and all liability related to your contest.
You must include a legally compliant privacy notice in your Official Rules which explains how you will use any personal data you collect for the contest and adhere to that use.