Last night Facebook announced changes to it’s Facebook promotional guidelines. My first reaction was that this is good news for small business. Although there is more to Facebook contests than getting page likes they are hugely effective for doing so. It seemed unfair that it was so complicated for small business to run a competition when bigger business could afford to increase likes with advertising.
Of course once you have a good amount of Likes there is far more you can get from giveaways and contests on Facebook but I’ll talk about that later.
What are the changes?
- You no longer have to run a contest via a third party app (but yes you still can if you want to).
- You CAN get people to comment or like a post in order to enter a competition.
- You CAN get people to post photos or comments to your page.
- You CAN get people to vote using the ‘Like’ function
- You CAN’T ask people to Share a post as part of a competition (Like & Share is still against the rules)
- You CAN’T run a competition via your personal timeline or ask people to post something on their personal timeline as part of a contest.
- You CAN’T ask people in a post that doesn’t depict them (eg you can’t get people to tag themselves or anyone else in a picture of a product)
You still can’t do Like & Share
Like and Share contests have always been against the rules and they still are. Facebook don’t want newsfeeds clogged with poor quality content. Facebook recently announced an upgrade to their algorithm that means that ‘spammy’ or ‘poor quality’ content, and content that asks for likes will be penalised and will be less likely to reach the newsfeed.
So not only are Like and Share contests still not allowed under the new new competition guidelines but your page could be penalised organically by the new algorithm meaning your page likers will be less likely to see your content in future.
What this means for small business
As long as you abide by the rules above you can start running competitions via your business page straight away. I ran my first Facebook competition before the promotional guidelines were in place. A simple 5 word story contest. I got great traction, lots of new fans (as they were called at the time) and one of the winners wrote about it on his blog.
Giving away stuff on your Timeline means that you can offer smaller prizes. You don’t need to invest a huge amount of money as the entry process is really easy people are more likely to get involved even if it’s a small gift. I used to give away bars of organic chocolate, one of the items stocked in my gift hampers.
Types of contest to run
Try and be creative with your competitions, try and engage people in your brand rather than just looking for a like. Here’s some ideas but it’s only a quick list. If you have any suggestions to add, leave me a comment below.
- Tell us a story about ____ in 5 words
- Name our newest product
- Answer a trivia question related to your industry
- Market Research – ‘Like’ your favourite product in a photo album
- Upload a photo of you using our product/holding our logo
- Write us a story about ____ (industry related theme) on our timeline
**Warning – Don’t fall into the trap of rewarding people every time you want them to interact on your page. You may find that they will cease to interact unless there is a prize in future.**
The advantages of using apps
Just because you don’t have to run competitions through an app any more doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.
Apps can help you achieve so much more than just Facebook likes.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective tools for reaching people, by using an app you have the opportunity to collect email addresses from enterents and get their permission to send them a newsletter.
Market research – by using an app you can gather more information from the people who enter. Do you want to ensure enterents are from your local area? Do you want to know what age group they fall into? If so an app can help you easily gather this data.
Lead Generation – If you get your prize right and your entry criteria right you can make sure you are attracting exactly the right people to your contest and then work on turning them from leads into prospects.