I've advised too many people for too long on this that it needed to be a blog post.

Read the FINE print!

Too many people are running Facebook Fan Pages under the guidance of social media experts, gurus, ninjas… whatever are running the risk of getting their page banned by Facebook. Facebook provides a Promotion Guidelines which clearly state what you can and cannot do.  If you or your social media advisor is too lazy or incompetent to read it then please read on.

Banned – Do not even go here!

Kids are off limits

2.1 The promotion is open or marketed to individuals who are under the age of 18;

You can't run any promotion through Facebook to children, that not promoted to, that is open to!

Gambling, Tobacco, Firearms are bad for you & your Fan Page

2.4 The promotion’s objective is to promote any of the following product categories: gambling, tobacco, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline;

You cannot promote gambling through a Facebook promotion.  This one is big for sporting teams & leagues and they are associated with sports betting partners.  Asking your fans to use, like or bet with a sports betting operation could be seen by Facebook as a violation.

Where's the Cheese?

Although it was mooted to change Facebook continues to disallow diary-based prizes due to quirky US “state laws that impose penalties for distributing dairy at a discounted rate.”

Take note alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or prescription drugs are not allowed to be offered as prizes either.

Facebook is a platform not a partner or sponsor

Facebook goes to great lengths in the promotion guidelines to state that your promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  Facebook is no more a partner with your promotion than a TV commercial is with a TV advert.

Running through Facebook Platforms

Section 3 details running a promotion through the Facebook platform and more importantly it requires approval from Facebook.  You can get approval by committing to spend $10,000 in Facebook advertising, it is Facebook's way of protecting themselves.

Promoting on Facebook

However, this do not preclude smaller budget promotions being publicized via Facebook as a far cheaper alternative.

You can do promotions on you Fan Page using third-party applications.

Here is the line that will get most Facebook promotions banned.

4.2 In the rules of the promotion, or otherwise, you will not condition entry to the promotion upon taking any action on Facebook, for example, updating a status, posting on a profile or Page, or uploading a photo.

Examples of Facebook promotions violations

  • The first 10 people to comment on this post win tickets.
  • Upload a photo to our wall to enter and win!
  • Press Like on this comment to win a prize.
  • 25th fan will win a slab of beer!
  • Tag yourself in this photo and win tickets.
  • Mention our page in your status to win a prize

I'm not finished

One more setting for those thinking they want to separate their Facebook business and personal streams using multiple accounts, another big NO.  Facebook's response to multiple accounts:

Please be aware that managing multiple accounts is a serious violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use. If we determine that an individual has more than one account, we reserve the right to terminate all of their accounts.

Good articles on Facebook Promotions

Want to run a legit promotion via your Facebook Fan Page?

You can.  If you follow the rules, contact Sports Geek we'll show you how it's done.

If you got to the end of this post I hope you read the Facebook Promotion Guidelines as well.