Contests are big business on Facebook. Customers love them because they could win cool stuff. Businesses love them because they attract new customers. But if you run a business page on Facebook, you probably know how much of a pain Page-based contests can be to set up and manage. Some good news: Today, Facebook amended its promotions policy to simplify the process.
Previously, Facebook's terms prohibited businesses from using any of the website's inherent activities as an entry into a contest or promotion. That meant customers couldn't do things such as liking, commenting on, or sharing a post in order to earn a chance to win. To follow the letter of the terms of service, businesses instead had to rely on apps to collect entries, which can be cumbersome and which some customers mistrust.
The biggest problem was that many small businesses had no idea that was the rule. The practice of holding a "comment to enter" or "like to enter" contest was common. Many people don't feel comfortable entering their personal information into a third-party app, and would shy away from a contest using one, thus defeating the purpose.
With today's changes to promotions, Facebook seems to have acceded to the ease and simplicity of what most people were already doing anyway. Now business pages can administer contests and sweepstakes on Page Timelines as well as in apps. Businesses are now permitted to use comments, likes or messages as entries, and use likes as a voting mechanism. The two things they may not do are encourage users to tag themselves in content they are not actually depicted in, which Facebook says will "maintain the accuracy of Page content," or require users to share posts on their personal timeline or those of their friends.
Businesses are still responsible for the "lawful operation of [the] promotion," which includes official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements, compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Promotions must also include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant, and acknowledgement that the promotion isn't endorsed by Facebook.