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So, it seems really easy.  You’d like to get more fans and interaction for your Facebook Page, why not run a nice little competition?  For example, a free giveaway to one of the next 50 people to like your Page.  Or a prize for the best photo posted on your Wall.

Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as that, at least if you want to keep within Facebook’s own Promotions Guidelines.  They can seem a bit baffling at first, but when you realise that the purpose of them is for Facebook to avoid responsibility for any dodgy promotions that Page owners may run, and let’s face it we all know a few of those, then it gets a lot easier to understand.

In a nutshell, you can’t run a competition on your Facebook Page unless you use a third party app.  Every day I see Pages running promotions without an app, and all these Pages are running the risk that Facebook may find out and take their Page down – without warning.  Sure, they might well get away with it, but is it worth it?

And what does ‘running a competition on your Facebook Page’ actually mean?  It means using Facebook’s functionality to administer the promotion – for example by requiring likes, comments or posts to enter the competition, or by announcing the winners on your Page.

Here’s what you can do though:

1)  Use an app which allows you to run the kind of competition you want.  I’ve used Wildfire which is great, and there are many more, including Easypromos and Offerpop.  These offer some free options albeit with more limited functions, but the paid for versions are not expensive.

2)  Run a competition on your website or blog, and use your Facebook page to promote it.  This has the added benefit of driving traffic to your website.

3)  Run a ‘Featured Fan’ promotion using an app like Fan of the Week.  This allows you to increase engagement on your page by putting one of your fan’s profiles ‘in lights’, rewarding them for their activity.

4)  Incentivise Likes by giving away a fan-only freebie on a custom landing page.  This has the added benefit of enabling you to collect email addresses from your fans.

So there is a lot you can do to promote your Page, you just have to do it in the right way.  This Social Media Examiner blog post gives you some more information as well, it’s well worth reading.

How about you?  Have you run competitions on your Page, and how did it work out?  Do you have any questions about it?  Do share below.