Originally posted on May 8th, 2014, and amazingly, with all the social media changes, this advice has not changed.

Hi Carolyn – my biggest question right now is regarding Facebook contests and ‘sharing’…  When you have to ‘share’ a post for an entry, can you just share with ‘Friends’, or does it have to be with the ‘Public’? I’d appreciate clarification as the contest sponsors NEVER specify!

Hi Monica,
I love your question as it has a multi-layered answer.

As Facebook changes its algorithm reducing the company’s organic reach, more companies are hosting Facebook contests in an attempt to increase that reach without paying Facebook to boost their posts.

There are two types of sharing going on with Facebook contests:

  1. promotional app giveaways
  2. timeline contests.

The first is when you enter a contest hosted by a promotional app such as Woobox, ShortStack, Strutta, OfferPop, etc. By sharing the promotion on your Facebook wall, when one of your friends enters via your share, you garner extra entries.  You should have the share viable to friends, at a minimum, because if it’s private no one will see it and you won’t benefit.

The second is when a company posts a contest on their own timeline asking you to Like, Comment, and Share to be in to win.  The share should be public because the sponsor won’t be able to verify the share if it’s only visible to you and/or your friends.

As an aside, Like and Comment timeline contests follow Facebook’s Page Guidelines, sharing does not.

Do you enter giveaways on Facebook?