There are two big challenges in using Facebook for business: building the number of ‘Likes’ for your Page and getting your posts noticed on a user’s Wall among the numerous posts by a user’s Friends and other Pages that are so easy to ‘Like’ these days. Many businesses are running competitions on Facebook as a way to address these challenges.
Big brands are finding competitions a great way to get to the top of the Facebook numbers game. On December 17, 2010 The UK’s Independent newspaper reported that Kit Kat’s Break by Break competition “in combination with the advertising campaign around the brands 75th birthday has led to fans flocking to the brands’ Facebook page. 20,000 new users ‘liked’ the brand on December 15, as of 12:00 GMT on December 16 Kit Kat has attracted nearly a further 2,000 unique likes and jumped straight to number 8 in the daily fan charts.”
Many smaller businesses, though, are not using these competitions effectively and many are even running them badly, finding themselves in trouble with Facebook and their ‘Fans’. So before you start your Facebook Competition, consider these 5 points:
1) If you don’t follow Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines your Page may be removed by Facebook.
“In addition to our other remedies, we may remove any materials relating to the promotion or disable your Page, application or account if we determine in our sole discretion that you violate any of our policies.” - Facebook Promotions Guidelines
You commonly see Businesses running competitions that are against Facebook’s Guidelines:
- Running competitions directly on their Facebook Page.
You are required to use a competition application must not run a competition directly on your Wall.
- Having users automatically enter by ‘Liking’ a Page.
You may have them first ‘Like’ your Page but this must lead on to entering a properly set up competition.
- Conditioning entry in the promotion upon a user providing content on Facebook, such as posting on a Wall of a Page, uploading a photo, posting a status update (such as asking Friends to ‘Like’ the Page).
Any interaction a user takes must be using the competition application and not directly on your Page.
- Notifying winners on their Facebook Wall. Most people do not realise that Facebook requires that you notify the winner by email or other means, but not using Facebook in any way to do so.
These businesses are either not aware of the Guidelines or feel that their activities will not be picked up by Facebook, but very often a Page owner wakes up to find that his Page has been removed and is then in a panic to appeal to Facebook to have it returned. It’s very hard to convince a small business of this danger when they see so many other businesses in its own industry doing it and building up a large number of ‘Likes’ – somewhat similar to the challenge ‘white hat’ SEO’s have when clients see ‘black hat’ tactics working for competitors.
According to Krishna De, Managing Directory of Biz Growth Media,
“Typically this has happened for significant sized brands with a sizeable community, for example the French retailer http://www.facebook.com/Kiabi.france which was deleted for breach of Facebook promotion guidelines in December. When this happens you can make an appeal to Facebook, and under some circumstances pages have been known to be re-instated as was the case for Kiabi. The reinstatement will not happen within a matter of hours – in a case I was involved in with a client who had breached Facebook Promotion Guidelines, after we made an appeal to Facebook, the Page was eventually reinstated 48 hours later. And you can be sure that was a restless 48 hours for the marketing manager responsible for the Page. It’s highly unlikely that they will breach the promotion guidelines again as they understand the consequences.”
So before you set up a competition that is against Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines, imagine yourself in the position of appealing to Facebook to restore your Page, instead of imagining that Facebook won’t see that you are not following their Guidelines. Also make sure that you check the Promotions Guidelines on a regular basis so that you are up to date when there are any changes.
2) You must also consider legal issues that may apply to your Facebook Competition
In addition to Facebook’s own terms, your competition will need to follow the laws of your own locality and the localities of anyone that you want to enter your draw. For example, in certain jurisdictions you are not allowed to run a sweepstakes – a competition where the winner is selected by chance rather than by skill – so if your competition is a sweepstakes you must ensure that individuals in such countries (currently Belgium, Norway, Sweden and India – according to Facebook) cannot enter.
3) An effective Facebook Competition must fit in with your overall Marketing Plan.
Most of the big brands that are topping the Facebook ‘Like’ charts, like KitKat as noted above, have put a lot of money and resources into their marketing plans and their competitions are inline with their research and other marketing activities. Smaller businesses can still use competitions effectively, but many of these competitions are not hitting the mark.
- Does the competition fit for your target market?