Social Media: The New Face of Sweepstakes and Promotions
Social media and user generated content continue to be an important part of most contests and sweepstakes. New websites and apps--like Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook--are constantly being used for the latest promotions. Marketers in the know appreciate this. Successful social media promotions are possible, as long as you have defined goals and an understanding of the ever-changing rules.
At Olshan, our sweepstakes law attorneys help clients structure online social media campaigns that achieve their business objectives while minimizing the risk of legal repercussions. We provide a full scope of legal services, including the development of:
- Overall promotion structure and integrity,
- Official and abbreviated sweepstakes rules,
- Entry forms and viable alternative methods of entry,
- Disclosures and disclaimers,
- Limitations on submissions,
- Privacy policies,
- Judging policies,
- Entry and winner selection supervision practices,
- Security issues,
- Winner issues,
- International issues,
- Conduct background checks on winners, and
- Policies relating to minors/COPPA.
Without properly structuring your online promotion, you can run the risk of:
- Reclassification of your game of chance (sweepstakes) into an illegal lottery,
- Competitor, USPS, or FTC charges of deceptive advertising,
- Consumer class action lawsuits from disgruntled or enterprising participants, and
- Bad publicity — the exact opposite of the goals of targeted engagement that most companies hope to achieve with their social media promotion.
Third Parties Have Their Own Terms and Conditions
Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest each has its own set of promotion guidelines. If Facebook is an element of your social media promotion campaign, you need to understand the Facebook promotion guidelines as well as the state and federal contest and promotion laws.
When you work with Olshan, you can have confidence that not only have your promotional goals been taken into consideration, but that someone is working toward protecting your legal bases.
Starting Your Promotional Campaign Right
- Do you want to own rights in the submissions; what are the downsides in doing so; will you want to continue to use this content for marketing purposes after the contest is over?
- Do you intend to display the entry during the promotion only?
- Do you intend to treat the winning entries differently?
- What is your contingency plan should something unexpectedly go wrong?
What if a contestant uses third-party materials in the creation of their entry? Can your company be held liable for copyright violations?
These are just a few of the issues that must be contemplated in order to draft contest rules before your promotional campaign begins.
Before you begin your next social media campaign, contact us to meet with an experienced online sweepstakes attorney at Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, who understands the business of marketing and promotions. Our sweepstakes lawyers will help you ensure your promotion is in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations.
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