The importance of having terms and conditions for competitions



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 win-win when it comes to social media and making friends. Unfortunately, running a competition, giving something away and giving people the chance to win isn’t always sunshine and lollypops. As a business, you will get people who want to win no matter what. When you decide to run a giveaway, you will witness a new type of social media person: trolls, serial content 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 unfortunate reality of social media and it must be said that, more often than not, these people are not part of your community. They are people to look around for that ‘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 so that you protect your community from the negativity of these people, while also protecting your business?

Terms and conditions (or T&Cs) are the terms that your community agrees to when they enter your contest. There are many ways to go about this, however if it’s run through a third-party app on Facebook they are a non-negotiable, and 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 has questions and if you can answer them upfront and in the T&Cs you will keep (almost) everyone happy. These elements include dates and times for closing and winner announce, non-negotiables for entry (ie: email address), if there are several elements for entry outlining any order or specific information about each piece 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. You contest T&Cs will protect your business from any troll in the community who wants to create trouble for you online. More than this, these 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 – for promotional needs? Online and in social? Never again? Whatever you decided on must be outlined in the T&Cs.

Beyond this, what happens is 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 is a big one and 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 as required and inline with the giveaway. While it might not seem like a priority for you business right now, if you ever are faced with a troll or someone who will do anything to win, you will be happy that you covered your real community members, and yourself with the contest T&Cs.

Have your say: Do you have terms and conditions on your social media pages?

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