Official Rules? Do we need them? Short answer: yes.
This comes up more often than you'd think. "But we're only giving away a T-shirt on Facebook, what's the big deal?!" The big deal is this: Rules protect your brand and your business. They also protect the consumer. They act as a contract. Do X, you could win Y. Otherwise, there are loopholes, and unclear promotions, and at the end of the day, a confused follower could become an upset follower. These days, the old mantra of "a happy customer will tell 1 person about your business and an unhappy one will tell 5 people about your business" still rings true -- but add some zeroes to that number. When you're simply trying to have some fun and give some things away - do it right. Don't open your brand up to potentially upsetting a customer. You certainly didn't mean to - but the whole issue could have been avoided with clear expectations for both parties, and that's where rules come into play.
Not to mention, rules are required by the FTC for any and all promotions. For exactly the reasons above, but mostly for the protection of the consumer. So, not only is it a best practice - it's the law.
We'll spare the gory details for now - but there are different laws for different states (that's why rules tend to be PAGES long - to satisfy ALL of those requirements in 1 document for a national or North American promotion). We've dealt with all sorts of promotions, and they are all different - and the laws are too. Based on the industry, the location of the promotion, the prize, the value of the prize, the type of business you have, etc.
Sounds scary, but really, as long as your "t's" are crossed, your brand will be protected. Still scared? Give us a call - we're here to help!
A great article from Marketing Profs - discussing the same: To support that blog we posted last week :)