Launching a Social Media Contest? Here are the Legal Considerations You Need to Know

Launching a Social Media Contest? Here are the Legal Considerations You Need to Know

Launching a Social Media Contest? Here are the Legal Considerations You Need to Know

Most businesses are now relying on online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to increase their brand awareness. Today, social media contests have become a common practice for brands that aim to reach wider audiences. However, you can’t simply run one without knowing the legal considerations.

In order to launch a contest without getting into trouble, it’s important to understand the laws that cover it. We highlighted everything you need to know:

Legal Considerations When Running a Social Media Contest

A lottery mainly consists of three elements:

Chance - a process wherein the winners are randomly selected.

Consideration - a fee -- either monetary or non-monetary -- required to enter.

Non-monetary is often the time and effort expended to enter.

Prize - anything of value the winner is awarded with.

To avoid running an illegal contest, you must eliminate one of these factors.

For example, a contest may involve a chance to win a prize, but it cannot require considerations in entering. However, since a consideration can be more than a monetary fee, a contest can still be considered an illegal lottery if there are too many qualifications to join.

Conversely, the element of chance can also be eliminated by awarding prizes based on skill. A good example of this contest is an art competition. Such an activity allows you to require considerations for entry.

Social Media Rules

In addition to those rules, most social media platforms have their own set of guidelines on the subject of contests and promotions.


Out of all social media platforms, Facebook has the most stringent contest guidelines. The general rules include:

a.  Compliance with all applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion

b.  Acknowledgement that the platform is in no way associated with the promotion

c.   Enforcing terms and eligibility requirements

Additionally, Facebook also requires that promotions may only be administered on pages or within apps in Facebook. Contests that require considerations such as “Share on Your Timeline,” or “Tag Your Friends in this Post” to enter are not permitted. Facebook regulations regularly update so it’s important to check these beforehand.


Twitter keeps its guidelines brief and simple:

a.      Observe general Twitter rules

b.      Discourage creation of multiple accounts to enter your contest

c.       Discourage sending the same tweet repeatedly


The photo-sharing app also keeps its guidelines simple. However, it clearly takes after some of the serious points of its parent company, Facebook:

a.      Take full responsibility for the lawful administration of the promotion

b.      Do not encourage users to inaccurately tag content

c.       Acknowledge that Instagram is in no way associated with the promotion


Lastly, Pinterest appears to have the most relaxed contest rules. Actually, it doesn’t have specific rules for contests -- all that’s left for you to do is to follow its general rubrics.

The rules may sometimes seem demanding, but don’t let these discourage you from running online contests. Successful social media initiatives are always worth it in the end.

Need help with your social media contest? A digital marketing company can help your brand become a success on the online platform. Contact us today!