Chances are that by now you’ve seen the news: Facebook no longer requires Pages to use third-party apps to conduct contests and promotions. Now, users can like/comment in order to enter a giveaway or similar promotion. While this does expand the number of entrants due to increased convenience, and it certainly makes things easier on the coordinator, here are three things to keep in mind as you take advantage of these new, less strict regulations.
1. Sharing Onto Personal Timelines Is Still Forbidden.
Unfortunately, there is still one button that cannot be the form of entry into a promotion – the “Share” button. Having that option certainly would make the promotion more successful from a marketing standpoint; if your fans publish your promotion onto their own Timelines, then all of their friends will be exposed to your brand, possibly liking your Page and entering the contest themselves. Blogs and forums have been broadcasting that Facebook’s restrictions have completely disappeared, and that this function is now allowed to be a fan’s point of entry.
Do not be fooled, though! Facebook has not lifted the restrictions entirely. The rule is clearly listed on the Facebook website:
“Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).”
In all reality, Facebook will likely never lift this particular restriction, and for good reason. While sharing onto personal Timelines may be a great tool for marketers, it actually harms Facebook because it clutters accounts with promotional spam, dissuading users from interacting as much with each other and therefore undermining Facebook’s actual purpose. Users may still choose to share promotions of their own volition, but it cannot be required.
2. Third-Party Apps Still Gather More Info.
The truth is, having a user like or comment on a post still tells you very little about them. Yes, they have to like your Page in order to do these things, and yes, you can see their profiles. However, if your promotions are at the scale you want them to be, sifting through a huge number of profiles to gather usable data about your audience would take an unreasonable and unrealistic amount of time.
Third-party apps can solve this issue. They collect that usable data from your fans whenever they enter a promotion, and then they often compile that data into reports with actionable insights into the nature and desires of your fans.
3. Third-Party Apps Make Cross-Platform Promotions Easier.
Another important consideration is the number of platforms you are using. Many third-party apps are compatible with multiple different platforms. This means that your promotions coordinator or social media manager doesn’t have to tap into every individual account to scrounge up data but can instead receive a summary, detailed or overview, of all the entries across every platform over which you choose to promote.
Third-party apps also help choose a winner across multiple sites. The volume of participants in your promotions will likely increase with this change in regulations (if you take advantage of it), and when combined with Retweets, Pins, etc., the number of entries to compile can be overwhelming. They can usually compile the entries and select a random winner as opposed to having to manually enter every entrant’s information into a randomization tool.
The Bottom Line.
Facebook’s changes are exciting if for no other reason than the increase in convenience with which Facebook users can enter your promotions. However, attention to the fine print is imperative, and your new approach should not be applications-be-damned. Third-party apps still bring a lot of value to social media promotions, and they should be used to help you manage and gain insight from your Page.
About the Author: Samantha Gale is a writer and account manager at 60 Second Communications, a full-service marketing agency that helps well-known brands turn their marketing investment into new customers. @SamanthaJGale