Every month, Google emails me a summary of how people found OrigamiGlobe through search in the past month. I’ve already explained why I’m a total fangirl for Google Analytics when it comes to competitions; but here’s why I love this monthly email…

From our monthly Google Search Console Performance email.

It literally tells me exactly what people are searching for when they end up on our site… so if we don’t already have a piece of content on that subject, I can craft the perfect post to help answer your competition question.

This month, the idea of a ‘fair’ social media competition drove a lot of new traffic to our site. Since you’re searching for it, it must be important to you, and since we don’t have a dedicated post on fair social media competitions, I decided to write you one.

So let’s dive in to how you run a fair competition on social media.

1. Treat all entries equally and without bias.

EVERY ENTRY SHOULD HAVE AN EQUAL CHANCE TO WIN

First things first, what does ‘fair’ actually mean?

Two dictionary definitions that work well in this context are:

“treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination.”

And

“without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage.”

When it comes to competitions, fair essentially means that everyone has an equal chance of winning the prize and neither party (the company running the competition or the entrant entering the competition) can act inappropriately to influence the outcome of the competition. That means that in a fair competition, entrants shouldn’t be able to game the system and the company running the competition can’t just pick their friend as the winner.

WHAT ABOUT GAMES OF SKILL?

As you may know, there are two different types of competitions, games of skill and games of chance. In a game of chance, legally you must ensure that all entries have a fair and equal chance of winning and no entry has a higher chance than another of being chosen as the winner.

In a game of skill, however, a winner is usually chosen based on the skill or talent they display in their entry, for example a post your photo in the comments to win or a comment below to win competition, so how do you ensure all entries have an equal chance of winning in a game of skill?

Here are our top tips:

  • Set pre-defined criteria against which all entries will be judged and make sure you have these listed clearly in your terms and conditions
  • Ensure all entries are collated together in one place before judging begins
  • Treat all entries equally and with the same consideration, don’t exclude or give extra credit to entries based on who has submitted them
  • If possible, assemble a panel of judges who will decide as a group who the winner should be
  • To help with overwhelm, exclude entries that don’t meet your judging criteria, then create a shortlist from the remaining eligible entries. From the shortlist it should be easier to choose your winner.

2. Obey the social media platform’s rules.

THAT MEANS NO TAG AND SHARE COMPETITIONS

A fair social media competition is also one that obeys the rules of the social platform the competition is being hosted on.

That means no ‘tag and share’ competitions on Facebook and no asking entrants to tag themselves or your brand in photos they/you are not in on Instagram.

Photo by peter bucks on Unsplash.

Ensuring your competition is fair by obeying social media platform rules, means you’re not asking entrants to break the terms of use of the platform or engage in spammy activity and you’re not putting your brand at risk by breaking the page terms and potentially getting your business (and personal) profiles shut down.

We’ve written a quick reference guide to social media platform competition rules here, so be sure to check it out and obey the rules.

3. Ensure your competition is legal.

BY APPLYING FOR RELEVANT LICENCES AND PERMITS

I suppose the word ‘fair’ in this context could also be translated as ‘legal’.

The government bodies that issue and monitor competition licences are responsible for protecting consumers from unfair and misleading competitions; so it stands to reason that if you obey their rules and ensure you apply for the relevant licences and permits your competition needs, your competition will therefore be fair.

Again, we’ve written a thoroughly comprehensive guide to competition permits and licences, so I won’t repeat the information here; except to say that here in Australia, if you’re running a game of skill, you won’t need any licences or permits. If you’re running a game of chance, you’ll at least need a licence for NSW – and that’s regardless of your prize value.

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4. Carefully consider your entry method.

AND HOW YOU’LL COLLATE YOUR ENTRIES

This tip encompasses both running a fair competition and making your competition life easier.

The idea of a comment below to enter competition may sound very tempting indeed – imagine all the engagement on your posts, what if you go viral, surely it’s good for that mysterious algorithm, right?

No one has the algorithm figured out, not even Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Well, possibly, yes… but think about what it means for the fairness and integrity of your competition and how you’ll actually collate your entries and draw your winner.

Facebook, for example, does not allow you to export all comments from a post, nor do they make it easy for third party tools to do so. Since you need to ensure all entries are treated fairly and given equal consideration, if your entries are scattered across multiple posts – or worse – across multiple channels such as on Facebook posts as well as Instagram posts; you must collate all entries in one place first, in order to fairly pick your winner.

This is not as easy as it sounds, as we’re about to find out.

5. Fairly and legally pick your winner.

YOU MAY NEED A TOOL TO HELP…

There are tools that will pick one or more winners from the likes and/or comments on an Instagram or Facebook post, but they can be a little clunky (or look a little suss).

The problem, however, comes when you have multiple competition posts that contain competition entries because you’ve been promoting the hell out of your competition, of course. I’m afraid I don’t have a magical solution for this one or a one-size-fits-all tool that will do it all for you…

The fairest way to pick a winner across multiple posts is to get real friendly with your favourite spreadsheet programme and copy and paste each and every entry/comment/liker name into a new line on that spreadsheet. Repeat for every post you have entries on until you have one spreadsheet containing all of your entries from all of your competition posts.

Once that’s done, you can follow our guide to picking a winner for your competition (at least that bit’s easy and done for you!).

It’s by no means an easy or quick process, but copying and pasting all eligible entries into a spreadsheet is technically the fairest way to run a social media competition and pick your winner. After all, the title of this post is how to run a fair competition on social media not how to run an easy competition on social media…

So there you have it, you asked and we answered. A fair competition is one that treats all entries equally and doesn’t allow anyone any special advantages, even in a game of skill. Running a fair competition also means running a legal competition, so obey those social media platform rules and apply for your licences. Finally, a fair competition also means choosing an entry method that’s fair to all entrants and doesn’t make your life too much of a nightmare.

If you’re ready to run a fair social media competition and need a hand to do so, our T&Cs, Rules and Licences package could be just what you’re looking for. Otherwise if you want us to do it for you or have a quick question for us, please call us, email us, or fill out the form on our contact page and we’ll be happy to help!

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