Many small retail businesses choose to run a Facebook contest for the holidays and there are certainly a lot of good reasons to do so. A well run contest can be an excellent way to promote your holiday wares, pad out your email lists and to engage your audience at a time when all kinds of businesses, causes and people are vying for both their attention and their money.
Facebook threw a little wrench in the works this season though, as of November 5, 2014 the rules governing Facebook contests have changed again and this time quite significantly. Also unlike some other occasions when the guidelines have been tweaked pages are already being actively punished for violations. Those punishments vary from a request to remove the contest and a 24-28 hour page ban to the outright removal of an account altogether.
With all of this in mind we put together this FAQ that will help you make sure your contest is fully compliant before you launch it.
What Exactly Has Facebook Changed that is So Significant?
As of November 5, 2014 page admins running a contest of any kind can no longer require that a user like anything in order to enter, which puts an end to the popular practice of ‘like gating’. Any contest on Facebook must now be open to any Facebook user who meets your age and geographical requirements (which must be clearly stated). Page admins can also no longer require that a contest entrant share a status update of any kind in order to enter.
Why Did Facebook Make This Change?
According to Mark Zuckerberg, answering questions during a recent ‘Town Hall’ style meeting the idea behind offering businesses the chance to create dedicated fan pages in order to engage ‘interested parties’. The idea of soliciting likes in order to enter a contest tends to go against this idea as many of the likes gathered during a contest are from people interested in winning something but not really that interested in the entity running the promotion. So while the ‘like count’ would go up in the past the number of useful, engaged fans gained was questionable.
So I Can’t Ask People to Like My Page Anymore?
You absolutely can and you certainly should, you can simply no longer require a like in order for people to enter your contest. There is nothing wrong with posting something like ‘don’t forget to like our page for contest updates’ to encourage contest entrants to click that ‘like’ button anyway, even though no one is requiring them to.
I Have Always Relied on Facebook Contests to Gain Likes. What is the Point Now?
At first it may seem like this move was rather anti small business and one that made it far less appealing to run a Facebook contest now. That need not be the case though. any likes garnered from a contest now are more likely to be from people who have a genuine interest in your company, likes that are far more valuable than those from people simply interested in winning a prize rather than what you have to say.
Now that ‘likegating’ has been outlawed Facebook contests really are all about engagement and providing great content which for most businesses will actually be far more beneficial in the long run.
Consider Cross Platform Promotion This Year
The chances are that you have more than just a Facebook page to represent your business in the social media realm, so why limit your holiday contests to just that single platform? It can seem that running a contest via Twitter, G+, Instagram or Pinterest is harder than Facebook but that is not the case at all and in fact if you run a cross platform contest the benefits gained from it can be significantly higher.
Try a service like Rafflecopter which allows you to run a contest directly from your website that then encourages social sharing actions across a number of different social media accounts in order for entrants to gain additional chances to win. An initial promotion is ‘free to try’ so you can actually take advantage for the holidays with zero risk.Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.