By Elana Harari
Running competitions and giveaways is a proven way to increase your engagement, build databases and create relationships with your community. Giving people who like your business the opportunity to win something can be a win for you when it comes to social media and making friends.
Unfortunately, running a competition isn’t always sunshine and lollypops. When you decide to run a giveaway, you will witness a new type of social media person: trolls, serial contest entrants, people who will cheat to win, and people who will ‘spoil the fun’ for everyone else just so that they can get something.
This is the down side of social media and it must be said that, more often than not, these people are not part of your community. They are people that look around to get ‘something for nothing’ and are willing to do what they can to win.
So, how do you stop this from happening to you? What can you do to protect your community from the negativity of these people, while also protecting your business?
Terms and conditions (or T&Cs) are the answer. They are the terms that your community agrees to when they enter your contest. There are many ways to go about this, however if your competition is run through a third-party app on Facebook, having T&Cs is required. If you are running a wall contest it is strongly recommended that you include T&Cs so that everyone knows where they stand.
Beyond trolls and spammers, why are T&Cs so important?
For Your Community
Your community will no doubt have questions and if you can answer them upfront in the T&Cs, you will keep (almost) everyone happy. These elements include dates and times for closing entries and announcing the winner, non-negotiables for entry (e.g. email address), outlining any specific information about entry elements, and letting them know how the information will be used.
For your community, the T&Cs should act as a FAQ on the contest, as well as informing the entrants about how and where any information that they provide will be used.
For Your Business
T&Cs are equally as important for your business, maybe even more so. Your contest T&Cs will protect your business from any troll in the community who wants to create trouble for you online. The T&Cs are legally binding, so what you put out there has to be adhered to.
Ensuring that you have provided all of the information around entry, winning, outcome, and disputes is a necessity. You should also share how the information is going to be used; is it for promotional needs or for the contest only? Whatever you decide on must be outlined in the T&Cs, so people understand how their details are being used.
Beyond this, what happens if the prize isn’t claimed? What happens if an entrant is unhappy with the outcome and disputes this? Is there an opt-in for your promotional information? Does your contest meet all of the legal requirements in each state? Is your prize allowed to be won be everyone, or do restrictions exist?
The list for your T&Cs could go on and on, so getting professional assistance to set them up is recommended. Once you have a base, you can add and remove additional information as required and inline with the giveaway.
While it might not seem like a priority for your business right now, if you are ever faced with a troll, someone who will do anything to win, or a legal dispute from a disgruntled entrant, you will be happy that you covered your real community members and yourself with the contest T&Cs.
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