Why your ‘Like and Share’ promotion isn’t fair

Dear promoter…

Your Facebook ‘Like and Share’ promotions are driving people crazy. They are SPAM and UNFAIR and let’s be honest here, you really should know better!

Do you realise that:

  • asking entrants to share is against Facebook rules?
  • you can’t access a list of all the sharers, so you can’t choose a winner fairly?
  • incentivised page likes and shares are resulting in users getting Facebook warnings and bans?

People are getting annoyed with constant requests to ‘like and share to enter’, ‘show your friends’ or reminders that ‘sharing is caring’.

Facebook is a place to share relevant photos, news and chat with our friends. Many of us are connected to older (and younger) family members and to workmates on Facebook. If I want to enter a ‘Like & Share’ promotion, I have to share it on the public setting, so the whole world can see your competition post sitting there on my personal timeline. And that sucks!

Some people tell me it’s OK to share just to my friends, or to a list of comping friends. Except it’s not. As a page owner, I know that you can’t see shares that aren’t public – and if I enter a comp, I want to ensure my entry is valid. Watch my video on YouTube showing what type of shares are visible and how it’s impossible to choose a winner fairly from sharers:

Here’s a reminder of what you can and can’t do when it comes to hosting prize draws or competitions on Facebook:

What promoters aren’t allowed to do on Facebook

You can’t ask an entrant to tag their friends in a comment, or ask an entrant to share a post

Facebook terms of use state: “Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” …and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted)”. That means – no like and share comps! And no “tag a friend who would love to win these fantastic tights” either. It’s about respecting people’s privacy – don’t make entrants involve friends and family if they don’t want to.

You can’t ask an entrant to like a page in order to enter a prize draw or competition

Facebook updated their platform policy in November 2014, stating that page owners “must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page”. What that means is that a promoter cannot ask people to Like a page in order to enter a prize draw or competition. That’s because Facebook want people to like pages because they’re actually interested in what they have to say – not simply because they want to win a prize or get a freebie.

OK, so what should promoters be doing?

Ask entrants to like the post and/or comment on the post

It’s absolutely fine to ask us to like a post or comment on a post in order to enter a prize promotion. If I do either of these, it will result in your giveaway photo appearing on my friends’ newsfeeds, so it achieves exactly the same results as a share does – but without your post clogging up my personal profile page!

Asking for a relevant comment is a great way of getting fans interacting with a page – but try to think of something that will result in unique and interesting answers, rather than asking a question with a single correct answer (which will be copied).

It’s easier to notify the winner if entrants have to comment rather than like the post – you can reply to the winner’s comment, tagging their name and asking them to get in contact (note: people don’t always get notifications when tagged by a page, so send a message too).

Make an effort to contact the winner

CAP state that “Promoters must take adequate steps to alert winners to the fact they have won” but in many cases, all we see is a single Facebook post or comment. Facebook reach is low, and the chance of the winner spotting a particular post in their feed is slim. Ideally, you should reply to a winning comment (tagging the winner’s name), post a new status announcing the winner – and send a message to the winner’s inbox.

Be careful – posting “Congratulations Dave Smith, you’re our winner! Email us at sillypromoter@winner.com” as a status is a bad idea – if Dave Smith misses that status, a cheeky chancer could email and claim the prize as ‘Dave’ (yes, it happens!).

Many promoters aren’t happy about sending winning messages as they need to be sent from one of the page admin’s personal accounts. Of course, there’s also the problem of that message going into the Filtered Messages folder on Facebook – which lots of people don’t know exists. So unfortunately messages remain unseen and prizes remain unclaimed – especially if it’s a non-comper that wins, as they don’t have comping friends to tag them. If you use an app for your promotion, that’s much better as you’ll have access to the winner’s email address!

Link to a full set of T&Cs

CAP published guidance on social media prize draws last year, stating that the entrant “must be able to access the full terms and conditions before they enter the promotion” – but how often do we see that with a ‘Like & Share’ promotion? We’re lucky if there’s even a closing date – but it’s essential to include both the closing date and time, as it’s not fair that people continue to enter when the winner has been drawn. Ideally, edit in **CLOSED** at the top of the post when it’s ended – you could even add the winner’s name!

Choose a random winner for a prize draw

Using a free online tool like Fanpage Karma’s Good Luck Fairy, you can choose a winner randomly from Likes or Comments by pasting in the URL of the Facebook post. This is the fair way to conduct a random prize draw – and is better than scrolling through a list choosing a name, photo or comment that you like!

Use judging criteria and an independent judge for a competition

If you’re choosing the winning comment or photo on merit, it’s a competition rather than a prize draw, and you need to explain the judging criteria (eg. most original, funniest, etc.). The CAP Code states you should also use at least one independent judge to help choose the winning entry or entries.

Focus on fan engagement

You can’t collect email addresses from promotions hosted on Facebook timelines, and can’t ask for page likes. Instead, focus on creating engaging content that resonates with fans. Share photos, recipes and ideas that will make people smile – and ask fans to do the same.


And finally…

Most compers will share your promotion anyway, just because they like to share! Suggesting ‘it would be great if you shared this with your friends’ is fine – and  ‘Like our page if you don’t want to miss out on future promotions!’ works too. But please – don’t make it a condition of entry!

A note to compers

If you’re fed up of share comps, why not send a polite message to the page pointing out that their giveaway is breaking Facebook rules and send them a link to this post?

Do you run prize promotions on your website or blog? Check out my book Blog Giveaways: How to run successful competitions, contests and prize draws on your blog, available for download from Amazon.

24 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    This needs resurrecting everyone and again so thanks Di. I have just had my knuckles rapped for not sharing a post, although I did like and comment, so you can see how far we have to go on this topic. At least they have read my entry.

  2. Pretty Prizes says:

    Very helpful post. I’ve contacted page owners before about their entry rules, but it makes it so much easier to provide them with a single link to relevant information. That said, I sent a link to this page to five companies between 28-29 January. One replied and thanked me; the other four – all of whom read my message – neither replied nor changed the entry requirements for their competitions.

    Incidentally, Di, although the Platform Policy seems to make it clear that asking for page likes is not permitted, page owners are being advised by the Facebook Help Team that it’s okay to do so; see these posts:



    I’ve commented to the reply on the second post, so it will be interesting to see what the response is.

  3. carole hiscock says:

    I’ve just messaged a company doing exactly this, I await their response x

  4. crazyvicky says:

    i just privately messaged a company with a link to this, the poor guys are getting quite a lot of flack, and im hoping this might help them resolve the issues. x

  5. dmderosa2k says:

    Quit being a crybaby idiot.

  6. Faridah Brooker says:

    Well Di, I have won a competition on FB from one of the pages I sent your link to! Squires Garden Centres. I didn’t share the comp, but just liked the post.

  7. Christine Caple says:

    I would just like to say that for me personally, like and share and any other simple to enter comps are a godsend. Due to damage in part of my brain (MS related), I am unable to do any comps which are in any way complicated, and yes I know they’re against the rules, but they’re great for me. Just saying……

    • Thanks for your comment! Do you win much on them Christine? You might find Twitter RT comps easy to do as well!

      • Christine Caple says:

        I do win on them sometimes, but it’s getting less and less as with all comps with so many more people entering. Thanks for the tip on Twitter comps, I have been putting off trying to master Twitter yet as I can find more than enough comps to enter anyway at the moment.

  8. Faridah Brooker says:

    I have had a reply back from one page so far and they have said thanks and I am still in the draw even though I have told them I will not be sharing.

  9. Julie Lorraine thomas says:

    Good points Di, wish page owners would take note! I’ve missed prizes as tagging hasn’t worked and had prizes picked up by people who have got to the winning announcement before me so I am always happier entering via an app, just wish more pages used them.

  10. Nikki Hayes says:

    Great article, I hate like and share comps but can’t seem to resist doing some. I’ve even won some but its one of my least favourite types of competitions.

    • I’ve won some too – but interestingly, I’ve shared to ‘Only me’ (and changed to public after winning, in case it’s queried, so it’s on my timeline!) – proving that promoters aren’t picking fairly from sharers!

  11. Christine Smith says:

    Hmmm – love Di’s advice but can’t help noticing how keen she is to recommend hosting the type of comps she likes and is extremely good at…

    • True! But the comps I like (and am good at) are the comps that give EVERYONE the best chance of a win compared to sharing or easy prize draws! 🙂

  12. Faridah Brooker says:

    I have sent this link to one page and will wait and see if they take it any further!

  13. jayne hall says:

    all comps on facebook ask you to like and share as a condition of entry which i wrong

  14. sar09 says:

    totally agree as well gave up doing them as I thought ages ago they were a bit of a con.

  15. Natalie Crossan says:

    You know me, I do like a good share now and then but I’m almost physically sick when I see.. “Tag 6 friends”… I mean, really?

  16. Louise says:

    Completely agree, I was put in facebook jail recently, funnily enough I have hardly been doing any competitions for about 4 months so I was quite surprised, I assume it was from oversharing last year. I know loads of us got banned but why do the pages running these comps never seem to get a slap on the wrist? I reported one page which was running fake competitions constantly and facebook simply advised me to stop following them, the page continued on, as did the comps they were posting about once an hour.

  17. Laura says:

    Really really helpful. I had no idea about those rules!

  18. Vicki Macdonald says:

    100% agree with every word 🙂

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