Your responsibilities when running competitions and promotions on social media

Today Facebook and Instagram have become the most successful social media sites; with 1.55 billion* and 400 million users respectively (*Facebook, Nov 2015). There is clearly no doubt in the power of marketing your brand on social media. There is also a huge advantage in running or advertising promotional competitions via these channels. However running any form of communication through social media is not without risk – you have no control over what your ‘followers’ post on your page. We at April5 endeavour to provide our clients with tools to mitigate the potential risks of running promotions via social media.

First things first – what are you responsible for on your social media pages? Social media is like any other media in the sense that the laws, regulations and codes still apply.

In the case of social, if you own and run a brand or business page and you are running social promotions, you are generally responsible for any content posted (published) on your page. Yes, this includes those (questionable) posts you receive from consumers.

As the publisher of the content, you are obliged to remove posts that may be defamatory, offensive or misleading – even if the post was written by a consumer. Further, just because they posted the content, does not mean they necessarily own the copyright. In this instance, April5 advises including clauses within your competition T&C’s outlining that as a condition of entering the competition the copyright owner (and others within the photo/content) grant permission to the brand/business to use the image or content, and also clauses that give rights to remove material. You should also be on the lookout for questionable content,which you know is clearly owned by a third party, and not the person posting it, such as music from a famous band.

In order to mitigate potential breaches when running competitions via social media, April5 advocates two golden rules. The first; permits, permits, permits! The rumours are not true – you typically must obtain a permit to run a Game of Chance promotion via social media channels in Australia. Again, the same laws apply to social media as with any other media. The second; Terms and Conditions – these are your competition ‘rules’ and outlines to entrants on how the competition will be run and administered. April5 suggests ensuring that your Terms and Conditions are hosted on your social media page. If this is not possible, we advise providing a link to the Terms and Conditions in the competition copy; or in the ‘About Page’ available throughout each social media channel.

For more information on running promotions on social media, or other channels contact us at April5 Agency on [email protected], or call us  on (02) 9977 6255