Social media promotions, including sweepstakes and contests, are a great option to allow brands to be more social and dynamic.  They offer a unique channel for interaction with followers as well as the added benefit of email sign ups, added engagement, or any other stipulation you’ve placed on entry.  The problem is, there can be legal issues that can arise if you’re not careful.  This is true of any business or brand running a promotion.  When you take these promotions online, it becomes a little hazier.

First things first, consider what you are calling your campaign. Is it a “sweepstakes” or a “contest”?  This distinction is important because they have different regulations and guidelines.  These words are not synonyms.  Do a little research into what you want your campaign to achieve for you and how people need to enter, before you decide to label your campaign. This will help you to avoid legal issues.

To further muddy the waters, different social media networks have different rules when it comes to running promotions.  These rules change frequently as well.

So, what’s a social media marketer to do? You should absolutely NOT shy away from promotions altogether! They are a great way to build engagement and more.  You just have to be diligent and do your research. 

Here is what you need to investigate before creating your campaign:

What are guidelines for the city and state that you are posting from?

What are the promotion rules/guidelines for the social media networking you are posting on?

What are the full official rules? These need to be clear and laid out for the users to see.

What are the new FTC guidelines?

Re-check this list each and every time you run a promotion. Laws change, guidelines on social media networks change, and times change. You don’t want to be stuck in a legal issue for no reason.  Taking appropriate steps to protect yourself before you launch a campaign is the easiest way to prevent any hassles from happening.

What have your experiences been running a contest or sweepstakes on different social media platforms? Have you run into any legal issues? What is something you’re concerned about before launching a campaign? Comment below!