Breaking Bad? New Facebook Promotion Terms Eliminate Requirement for App
When Facebook announces a change in Page Terms, businesses listen. Big time.
With nearly 50 million Facebook pages estimated to be in existence today, changes can have rippling effects. Considering that the total number of connections between local businesses and users is approximated to be at 2 billion, it’s easy to understand why businesses want to be certain they’re in the know.
On August 27, 2013, Facebook made a significant change to promotions (e.g. contests or sweepstakes) held on business pages by eliminating the restriction that contests and promotions needed to be run through an application.
Businesses can now create and administer promotions on their page timeline. Note, this applies to business pages only and as before you cannot administer promotions on personal timelines.
In this article we’ll take a look at: what the timeline changes mean for businesses; advantages and disadvantages of timeline contests; promotion ideas; and how two businesses have quickly responded to Facebook’s call to action and generated timeline contests within days of the announcement.
Understanding the Changes in Facebook Page Terms
Andrea Vahl sums up the changes nicely in her recent article: Businesses can now:
- Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post
- Collect entries by having users message the page
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
- Facebook’s update also includes stricter regulations on tagging, Terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in.
- As before, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.
- Facebook’s update also includes stricter regulations on tagging, terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in.
As Jessica Lee points out, “Creating a promotion with a Page is faster and easier. Additionally, as with all Page posts, Page posts about promotions are eligible to be displayed in the News Feeds of the people who like the Page and can be promoted to a broader audience. Businesses always have the option of using both an app and their Page to administer a promotion.”
What Do You Gain, What Do You Lose?
Antavo’s infographic, Timeline Contests vs App Contests? – Facebook Promotion Guidelines Update provides an excellent resource to help businesses compare the advantages and disadvantages of both types of contests. Take time reviewing to make sure you understand what you gain and conversely, what you may lose with one option over the other.
Source: Antavo http://antavo.com/en/
See full infographic
Need a jump-start on ideas? Here are some resources to help you get started:
Kim Garst took the bull by the horn and generated a list of 30 Facebook Timeline Contests Ideas to Drive Likes and Comments
1. We’re almost to 40,000 fans. Click like to celebrate! The 100th like will get a free [INCENTIVE]
2. Comment “Coupon” below to get 20% off your next purchase at [FAN PAGE NAME]. Enter before 5pm EST tomorrow!
3. We’d love getting to know you as well as your best friend knows you! Leave a comment below and attach a picture of you and your best friend for your chance to win [INCENTIVE]. We’ll pick a winner at noon PST tomorrow.
4. Comment below for your chance to win a free T-Shirt: The best kind of [INSERT] is _____________. Get the most likes on your comment by 2pm EST tomorrow to win!
5. Comment below, what year was [FAN PAGE NAME] founded in? The first person to guess it right gets [INCENTIVE]
6. On a scale 0-10+ what do you think of our new product pictured below? The person who leaves the best feedback in the comments will win the product totally free! Winner chosen at 2pm EST tomorrow.
See the complete list
Andrea Vahl offers these best practices:
- Have a good picture describing the basics of your contest. A picture is more engaging and shareable than a text post and the text will travel with the picture as it’s shared.
- Require a comment. If you require a comment, you can tag the person who wins in a comment (usually—sometimes tagging isn’t working) when you select the winner.
- Make the rules clear in the post. Give people the basics of the rules. If you need more space, you may want to host the rules on a website and refer people there with a link.
- Pin your post to the top of your page for more visibility.
- Make the length of a timeline contest fairly short. Since it’s hard to re-post the link, make the length of the contest a week at most.
- Use an app for bigger prizes or for when you want to collect emails and leads. Apps are easier to promote and you can even connect some apps directly to your email provider for easy synchronization.
Heyo has created a tool, Timeline Content Creator where you enter your business name, the kind of timeline contest you want to run (giveaway, photo contest, coupon) and the tool will generate the promotion text for you.
They also have created a sentence architecture for making timeline contests relevant to your brand, by following the formula below:
Call to Action + Incentive + Time + Rules and Regs + Amplify entries w/ App
Picking Random Winners
Andrea Vahl writes, “One of the things marketers will be concerned about with the new timeline contests is how to pick a random winner from all of the people who like or comment on a post to enter.”
While we won’t go into detail in this article on tools to assist in the random winner selection process, we suggest checking out the list Andrea mentions as part of your contest planning efforts: Contest Capture, ShortStack Comment and Like Importer, Woobox, and a host of random number generators.
Facebook Timeline Contest Examples
We checked in with two businesses, Far Reach and E&A Credit Union, who didn’t waste any time getting up and running with Facebook timeline contests. We were very impressed not only with the speed in which they were able to come up with an idea but also with their ingenuity.
Far Reach launched a timeline contest, “Spot the Difference Challenge” on August 30, 2013, three days after the new Facebook terms went into effect. Their call to action, spot 6+ of the 9 changes from photo 1 to photo 2, was incentivized for a chance to win a Far Reach shirt. The contest took place from the beginning of work day until close of business, 5 pm, when the winner would be announced.
Megan Horn, Far Reach’s Media Specialist, spoke with us about the motivation for the contest, “We ran our Facebook timeline contest to celebrate the new Facebook guidelines and because it was timely with the regulation updates. The contest was something we could develop and conduct in one day.”
Megan further explained how they chose the winner by using Excel’s random function. Far Reach then commented on the photo announcing the winner and asked him to contact them via a private page message.
When asked about Far Reach’s experience with the timeline contest, Megan explained, “I think timeline contests and app-based contests have their time and place. Timeline contests are quicker and timelier. While app-based contest are longer term and more of a ‘campaign.’ I will likely run both timeline contests and app-based contests, depending on goals and audiences.”
E&A Credit Union
E & A Credit Union launched a timeline contest on September 1, 2013. The call to action, was “post the name and website of a local business on the EACU Facebook page. The incentive, free advertising on their website. Time for comment entries was set for September 1-September 15, 2013.
On September 16th, as promised, E&A posted the names of every business entered with the call to action instructions for participants to “Post their (business entry) name with your account OR like another person’s post (you cannot be counted twice). This must be done in THIS thread only. No other threads or post will count.”
The contest will end on September 27, 2013 at 12 p.m. and the winner will be contacted.
The E&A Credit Union, as James Pond of James and Matthew and Company points out, “received well over 100 comments, likes and shares” on their Facebook page. James says, “Using the timeline-based contest is thus far a massive improvement, as it allows us to promote better engagement and boost the amount of people that are interacting with the brand. Most of the apps that were out there did a fair/poor job at this.”
While some businesses may feel the ease of use of timeline contests won’t be an equal replacement for capturing the more detailed information you can collect about participants through app-based contests (e.g. email address, where people are entering and where they come from), James Pond doesn’t see things that way for the E&A contest. He says, “We were not really looking to collect remarketing info from our fans. The goal was to keep interaction fluid and easy, again this is something that the timeline contest does well.”
The E&A Credit Union contest gave people 15 days to post their favorite business and will provide 10 days to vote. “This generates at least two interaction points for each content entry, plus allows us to be seen on the pages of people that like/comment on that post to vote,” says Pond.
In terms of how they will pick random winners, the plan is to place a number value on posts and likes. And, then use a random number generator to select the winner.
Share Your Thoughts
Have you created a timeline contest yet? If so, tell us about your call to action, incentives and what you think about the new option for businesses.
If not, do you think you will?