A lot of people have been asking me about Like & Share competitions on Facebook recently. Are they still against Facebook’s terms? How come we see so many businesses using them? What will happen if Facebook catch you at it?
According to Facebook’s promotional guidelines you cannot:
It’s quite clear then that asking for a share as part of a contest is still banned.
So why do we still see so many in our newsfeeds?
A lot of people don’t know about the rule or assume there is no penalty for breaking it. However there are a few of key reasons you should avoid them.
1. They Don’t Get Much Organic Distribution
Facebook have always been notoriously bad at enforcing the promotional guidelines. They were enforcing but not enough to be prohibitive to those who wanted to take the risk. There were so many people breaking the rules that keeping up with warnings and page removals must have been a big task so they started using the newsfeed algorithm.
At the beginning of the year, Facebook publically introduced a tweak to their algorithm that limited the reach of promotional posts. What most people missed was that they also limited reach to:
“Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context”
This means your Like & Share contests or any competition that relies on a simple action to enter probably won’t get much organic distribution. In fact, I’ve noticed that I rarely see a Like & Share post in my newsfeed as a result of a friend sharing. The only time I do see them is when they are ‘sponsored’. In other words, the page is paying for distribution of the post.
2. Negative Feeback
Advertising your competition posts has its own problems. Facebook users are becoming more discerning. When they see content they don’t like in their newsfeed they will hide it, or hide all content from the page that posted it.
Get enough of this sort of reaction (negative feedback) and Facebook will assume that your page is distributing poor quality content and limit the organic reach of all your future posts.
3. Bad Value For Money
So Like & Share contests could be killing your organic Facebook reach. They are also bad value for money. To get a good reaction you will need to invest in a good prize and pay for a Facebook ad to reach enough people.
The best case scenario is that you will get a heap of new Likes to your page and a lot of interaction on your competition post. There is not guarantee that the new Likers have an interest in your business, there are many people who enter every competition they find regardless of the business or prize.
Instead of investing your money in a Like & Share contest I’d recommend running a lead capture contest, or a competition that really engages your existing fan base. You’ll find lots of examples here.
You could even spend the money on building a targeted audience using Facebook ads. It’s amazing what you can get for a low budget.
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