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It’s pretty confusing trying to work out what’s allowed and what’s not when it comes to posting competitions on social media and the competition rules of each platform. For example, in August 2013, Facebook updated their competition rules to “make it easier for businesses of all sizes to create and administer promotions on Facebook” and it’s true, it is now much easier to run a competition but the problem is that there are a lot of outdated articles that pop up on google when you search ‘facebook competition rules’ that refer to the old competition rules, leaving you confused and uncertain about what to believe.

So we thought we’d clear up the confusion around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest competition rules once and for all. If there’s another network you’d like us to cover, please leave a comment below and we’ll add it!


Facebook competition rules.


Facebook’s rules are our favourite, they’re precise, clear and most importantly, they’re short and sweet. Make sure you link to your competition’s terms and conditions, obtain the necessary licences, include a sentence or two releasing Facebook from association and liability and don’t ask people to tag friends to enter, share on their timeline to enter or share on their friends’ timeline to enter. Easy!

View Facebook’s promotion policy here:


Twitter competition rules.

In other words

Twitter’s rules are the longest by far, but we forgive them because they share a great tip – encourage the use of @companyname mentions or #companyname hashtags so you can easily find your entries. Twitter can be used to run a competition by asking people to tweet a particular update, follow a particular user or post an update containing a particular hashtag. They do stipulate that you must not encourage people to create multiple accounts (to get multiple entries for example), you must not encourage multiple retweets (again to get multiple entries) and you must not encourage the use of hashtags irrelevant to the update (to avoid violating Twitter rules). Just like Facebook, Twitter requests you abide by local laws and regulations (i.e. get yourself some T&Cs and relevant licences/permits).

View Twitter’s guidelines for promotions here:


Instagram competition rules.


Instagram’s rules are very much like Facebook’s rules (which is to be expected seeing as Facebook owns Instagram…) with one important exception: Instagram DOESN’T forbid the use of tagging or sharing as an entry method. Important things to note: make sure you link to your official rules/T&Cs, get the necessary licences and permits, don’t ask people to tag themselves in photos they’re not in and release Instagram from liability and association with the competition. Again, pretty straight forward – thankfully!

View Instagram’s promotion guidelines here:


Pinterest competition rules.


Pinterest’s rules don’t give a huge amount away, they’re pretty general which is a good thing, but could also leave room for error. The main points are to make sure you don’t ask entrants to pin/save a specific image as this will leave to spamming of the same image, multiple entry is not permitted and don’t suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses your competition. They also ask you to take a peek at their brand guidelines.

View Pinterest’s acceptable use policy here:


Key takeaways:

As with every social network (and indeed any content) the emphasis must be on giving the best user experience possible. Asking people to use unrelated hashtags or create multiple accounts or pin the same image over and over to enter a competition creates too much poor quality and duplicate content and therefore results in a bad user experience, so you’ll be penalised as a result. With that in mind, here are your key takeaways:

  • Keep it simple: one entry per person (if you want multiple entries to encourage sharing, use Facebook in conjunction with a third party app)
  • Write a set of T&Cs (or rules) and clearly link to them
  • Make sure you have the relevant licences/permits! I know we say this all the time but it’s crucial! Even the social media platforms think so.
  • Don’t ask people to tag themselves in content they’re not in.
  • Avoid ‘tag a friend’, ‘share with your friends’ and ‘share on your timeline’ if you’re using Facebook.
  • Do not under any circumstances imply that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest endorse, sponsor or are in any way affiliated with your competition.
  • Make it easy to find your entries when it comes to picking a winner, use @mentions or collect email addresses through a landing page – trust us, it’ll make your life so much easier.
  • Final tip: put your customers and their experience first. If you have a long, complicated entry process; they won’t enter! Make it easy enough that your gran could enter. Make it fun for them, your customers will love you and the social media platform will love you as they won’t have to bother telling you off!


Now you know exactly what’s allowed and exactly what’s going to get your competition shut down, you can go confidently in the direction of your competition dreams without fear of breaking the competition rules.

If you’re following all the rules and ticked all the boxes, but just need help with those T&Cs and licences/permits – get in touch, it’s what we do best!

Suki Harrison

Author Suki Harrison

Suki is the founder and Chief Paper Folder at OrigamiGlobe. She is passionate about all things competition, giveaway and marketing. Suki has worked with many well-known and much-loved brands such as Woolworths, AAMI, Doritos and Disney, helping create and manage incredible prizes you would have seen in-store, in your inbox and on TV. She now uses all that knowledge to help small businesses and startups run competitions that get real results.

More posts by Suki Harrison

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