No matter how hard we try to spread the word about running competitions by the rules on Facebook, people still blatantly ignore them. But what’s the harm of running a Like & Share contest? Does it really matter that you are breaking the rules?
At Monday’s KLCK Bloggers meeting in a discussion about whether people were abandoning Facebook someone mentioned that when she logged in, her stream was just full of photos for competitions people were sharing. It was ruining the experience for her. Like and Share competitions (where a brand asks you to like and share a photograph to be in with a chance of winning a prize) seem to be spreading like wildfire on Facebook and Facebook don’t seem to be doing anything about it. Businesses see other businesses running these contests and copy them causing a rash of spammy images to spreading across our news feeds. But aside from them being against the rules are they effective? Aren’t Facebook encouraging this sort of thing by focusing our attention on the ‘talking about’ statistic? Lets have a look.
1. You can’t see entries
If you participate in a Like and Share competition you could be wasting your time. Facebook pages can only see the shares that are made publicly. Many of us have our Facebook privacy set to friends only or friends of friends. If you share an image in this mode there is no way of the Facebook page being able to see your entry. You can lift your privacy for an individual post but I’d imagine most people don’t do this.
2. You are encouraging Facebook spam
One of the biggest challenges for Facebook has been getting advertising right. Users don’t like to see adverts in their streams. Each time a more intrusive advert appears people complain. Facebook find it hard to strike the right balance, they need advertising to survive but they need active users to sell the advertising on the back of.
Sending out an image as part of a share and like campaign is low quality advertising. You are filling newsfeeds with adverts that users haven’t asked to see and are of little relevance to them. The same way getting an unsolicited email from a company can rub someone up the wrong way seeing these images on Facebook can have the effect of turning people away from your brand, and from their friends who are doing the sharing. Is annoyance the emotion you really want attached to your brand? Most like and share images aren’t adding value to Facebook, they aren’t designed to make you smile, laugh, get angry, learn something. They are just heavy handed bad advertising.
3. It doesn’t get you quality ‘Likes’
People will tell you they are running a competition to get more Likes on their Facebook page. It used to be the case that someone had to ‘Like’ a page before they could comment or like a post on it. This has changed meaning that someone liking your post equates to nothing on a long term basis, a post like is a one of interaction with you rather than permission to hear more from you in the future. This means that the act of sharing or liking a post no longer means that a user has to Like your page.
More frighteningly a lot of the people who Like your page as part of a contest have no interest in your business, they just like entering contests. These people tend to hide your posts after liking. This sends a signal to Facebook that you are posting low quality content and they will show your posts to less people in the future.
4. It does increase the engagement on your page but…
What does engagement actually mean? You are reaching people but what message are they getting about your brand? Do they want to hear more? Are they potential customers? how are you capturing them as leads? It can be great to see lots of people interacting your page but unless that equates to a solid business goal what is it worth? And lets not forget people are hiding your posts which has a negative impact on your future reach.
5. Doesn’t buy you customer loyalty
When you start social media marketing you need to have a business goal in sight. The only way you can know if you are achieving something from your efforts is to have this in mind. Do you want more leads? more online traffic? more online sales? Do you want to sell more of a particular product or service? Achieving this goal happens over time. Yes it’s great you got someone to share your competition image 100 times but what do you know about those people? What value do they bring? Are they just competition junkies? Of course some of the people entering your contest could be potential customers, some of them will Like your page but many will just like and go. Is risking the loss of reach of futher posts worth it for the return on investment you will see?
The advantage to running a contest by the rules is that you are able to capture more information about your likes, identify potential leads and get permission to stay in touch off Facebook.
Is Facebook To Blame?
Facebook has to take part of the blame for the newsfeed spamming that like & share competitions create. We are encouraged to get people interacting with our pages and the focus has fallen on post interaction instead of just the ‘likes’. I would welcome Facebook enforcing their rules before my newsfeed is totally dominated by these competition posts instead of the great content I want to see from pages and the snapshots of life, the interesting links and the photos that make me smile from my friends.
**Update: I am now seeing less organic shares in my newsfeed. Perhaps this is the Facebook algorithm dealing with rule breakers? On the downside I’m seeing lots of ‘illegal’ competitions pushed by advertising in my newsfeed.**
What do you think? Are you tired of seeing these competitions or do you think they work well for businesses? I’m happy to discuss the pros as well as the cons.