The changes to Facebook’s rules for contests were discussed in a previous post; this post will show how the new rules can be used to create innovative contests that weren’t allowable in the past. There are also a few tips for how social media marketers can lessen the effect of some of the problems with the new rules.
Like/Comment To Enter Contests
In brief, the new promotion guidelines for Facebook allow businesses to use Facebook’s inherent features such as liking and commenting as part of a contest. This means it’s easier for small businesses to run a simple contest without having to pay for an app and they can promote their contest by using a Promoted Post. For example, a business can write a post that says, “Like this post and you can win _________”. By promoting the post so it’s in the newsfeed of users, businesses can essentially put a contest entry form in the status feeds of potential customers. It’s that simple.
A variation of this type of contest uses comments. A business can promote their new product line by posting an image of the product and say “Tell us what you think in the comments and you can win _______________.” There are several benefits to using comments over likes. Mainly, it requires the user to think more about the brand and what they are doing. However, this benefit can also be a hindrance because fewer people will sign up because they don’t feel like thinking of a comment.
Most Likes Wins
Another way to use the new rules for a promotion is to have a contest where people try to get the most likes for the content they post on a business’s Facebook. For example, a business can post a photo on their page and then ask for captions, and the caption with the most likes wins. The benefit of doing this kind of contest is that it encourages people to involve their friends. Since people know that their friends are the most likely people to like their comment, they would share the post with them. Keep in mind that sharing can not be a voting mechanism, so business’s can’t directly tell people that whoever shares the most wins. But since the person who shares the most is most likely to get the most likes, the end result will be the same.
Tag Yourself To Win
This is a special case. While Facebook has said that using photo tags is acceptable for promotions, they don’t want businesses encourage people to tag themselves in photos they aren’t actually in. Here is an example of a good way to use tags for a contest: host events at certain locations and times, and tell people that if they tag themselves in one of the photos for the event, they will be entered in a contest to win a prize. This is an excellent way to steer potential customers from trade shows, conferences, and events back to the organization’s Facebook page.
Handling the Challenges of New Rules
The biggest issue for many social media marketers is the fact that any contest that is hosted on a timeline can’t be made exclusively for fans. Contest entry forms from apps can be hidden behind fan gates, but with that option unavailable for timelines, marketers have to resort to incentivizing people to become fans. By saying that the contest winners will be announced on the organization’s Facebook page, people who want to know if they won the contest will most likely become fans so they won’t miss the announcement.
While fan gating is a relatively easy issue to get around, logistical challenge of capturing the entries is not. If a marketer wants to use the likes or comments on a post as entries for a contest, these entries would have to be entered by hand into whatever system is doing the random drawing. The only way to see the names of all the people who liked or commented on a post is to look at the information from the post details (either on the post itself or from the insights). The system gives a list that has the name, profile image, and a button for additional option. There is no way to simply copy and paste these listing all at once into another format (there would be a lot of extra code that would need to be removed just to get the name). Doing this one by one may not be a problem for the first few dozen, but if a contest has hundreds of entries, this can be a problem. Using the comments as a entry form can ameliorate the problem because there always fewer comments than likes.
Despite the challenges, the new rules for Facebook can be helpful for small businesses who want to use the power of Facebook to reach new customers. These rules are a game changer for social media marketers and it will take some trial and error to figure out the best way to leverage these new options. Keep in mind that there are still situations where using an app makes sense because its the only way to manage all of the information involved in large contests. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest in social media marketing tips and tricks.