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Running a contest on Facebook is a powerful way to generate buzz, increase engagement, boost your fan count and build your email list. But Facebook has rigorous rules governing what campaigns you can and cannot administer and promote on their platform.

For several years, the contest rules were fairly loose and Facebook users and page admins could pretty much administer whatever campaigns they wished within the confines of Facebook’s general terms (now called
Statement of Rights and Responsibilities).

However, in 2009, Facebook severely tightened up their promotion guidelines, causing a great deal of confusion even two years later. To quote Susan Get good on her post about Facebook contests:

Bottom line, Facebook doesn’t want any explicit involvement in ANY of your contests. It’s all about liability, and the Facebook promo guidelines are designed to distance the social network from whatever companies and bloggers do with their contests.

Every day, vast numbers of page admins—from small businesses to major brands—administer promotions that violate Facebook’s rules.  They are running the risk of having their pages disabled completely. I strongly recommend all Facebook page admins become very familiar with how to safely run contests within the rules.

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