June 30, 2020 Jaclyn Bickerton
TikTok recently posted advertising guidelines for the US and EU, which don’t give a lot of guidance about contest guidelines, but that doesn’t mean that there are no rules to follow. To keep your TikTok Contest or Sweepstakes legal you should adhere to these seven basic recommendations for running a promotion on a social platform:
1. Use a unique hashtag to track entries: to track entries for a TikTok contest or sweepstakes, create and utilize a unique hashtag. Any post that is made during the posted timeframe of the promotion that has the predetermined hashtag is considered an entry. Consider creating your own branded hashtag challenge to engage your audience.
2. Include official rules: Official rules are one of the few things the TikTok ad guidelines specify that you need. Official rules need to be included, outlining the campaign start and end date, who can enter, how to enter, prizing and the value of prizing. You must include in your rules an acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, TikTok. The rules need to be posted prominently as a link anywhere you post about your TikTok contest, including in your own video about the contest, the video caption or social ad, or as a link on your social bio.
3. Watch out for copyright infringement: You can’t require or allow a contestant in your TikTok contest to use music, photos, brand logos or any other copyrighted material to produce their entry.
4. Ensure you follow all laws and social guidelines: Each US state, and the province of Quebec in Canada have unique laws and guidelines for sweepstakes and giveaways. In other countries, giveaway laws can be even more strict. Additionally, each social platform has unique guidelines that you must follow. There are also federal laws and strict FTC guidelines regarding using the word “ad” or “contest” or “Sweepstakes” in your call to action and in the program hashtags themselves. Do your homework or hire a professional that knows all about legalities of running a social media sweepstakes or contest. Read more on how to ensure your contest or sweepstakes is legal with compliant rules.
5. Keep the entry dates reasonable: To maximize the number of entries you receive, your promotion entry period shouldn’t be too short, nor should it drag on for too long. Depending on your goals, a contest with a few prizes a week may be long enough. If your promotion is more complex, for example, you have multiple prizes and different tiers of winners, you might consider running a month-long promotion. Additionally, be sure to allow for ample time to judge entries for a contest if you’re not pulling winners by random drawings.
6. Limit the length of each video for your contest: When judging entries, you don’t want to be required to watch 1,000 ten-minute videos once your contest wraps up. Generally, we recommend that 30 seconds to 1 minute is more than enough time to evaluate the quality of a contestant.
7. Give away a great prize (or multiple prizes): If you want your contest or sweepstakes to circulate quickly, handpicking a prize your audience will want to share is critical. Knowing what your end objective is and understanding your target persona will help with selecting the ideal prize that your audience will be inclined to share. Some options include: 1) Offering your own branded products; 2) An unrelated, but HOT item; 3) Cash; 4) An experience. It’s important to consider and plan for prize fulfillment as well.
With so many considerations, hiring a professional promotion agency can help ensure that your contest or sweepstakes is a success and ensure that you avoid breaking any laws along the way.
For more information, check out our Sweepstakes Checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
Read more about Registration and Bonding Requirements across North America.
Jaclyn Bickerton, Oakville, Ontario, June 2020