Is your Facebook Promotion at Risk?

2 Dec

Here is the text of  a newsletter which I was writing for Skandnet in October 2010, and I bring it up here again as it still seems to be a question a lot of people are discussing about at the moment:

Are you running promotions such as contests and sweepstakes on your Facebook wall or through the photo album?

Then you might be at risk that Facebook will close your page down, as you are likely violating Facebook´s policy. Recently, a company we were talking with received a serious warning from Facebook because of these issues and is now looking for a solution.

Is there a risk free Solution for running Promotions?
The answer is yes – The strategy recommended from Facebook’s own guidelines is to run promotions through an application, as an application is a 3rd party platform.

Last week we at SkandNet had the pleasure to meet two Facebook employees from the European Headquarters in Dublin, with whom we are working with closely. Not surprisingly, one of the topics discussed was the delivery of promotions. Here is a short overview.

This Type of Promotion ISN´T allowed:

  • You are not allowed to use the native Facebook tools to run your promotions, such as the Facebook photo app or the wall. Don´t post the promotion or explain the rules there.
  • Do not ask members to contribute content by leaving a comment (such as “leave a comment today at 12am about what you like most about our product and win…)
  • Do not ask people to post photos to your wall or photo album in order to win a prize.
  • Do not ask members to use the ‘like’ thumb to vote for something.

Or more generally: Do not use any “native” Facebook tools to run your promotions! Admittedly, that was quite a few no no’s. But despite this there is a strategy approved by Facebook to run your promotions…

This Type of Promotion IS allowed:

  • You can mention a promotion on your FB page and you can promote it using Facebook ads. You can post a link to a promotion on your website – but in this case you are losing the connection with Facebook and the benefit of all the viral features which will generate additional new followers.
  • The promotion of an application by implementing all the powerful viral features available, such as automated notifications, friend’s invites or share.
  • You can also integrate the application as a tab in your Facebook page and offer it exclusively to fans.
  • You could also for instance run a photo contest, where people upload their photo directly through the application.

Companies which have conducted promotions on the wall will immediately see the benefits of using an application. It is not only within the Facebook guidelines (with Facebook providing you access to their user base and giving your brand the possibility to interact with these users), it also makes the whole promotion much more user friendly, more structured, easier to understand and follow.

Rules aside – what do Facebook Users think about Companies and Promotions on Facebook? Is it worth your Time and Resources?

A study done by ExactTarget brought to us by emarketer shows that 40% of Facebook users are ‘friending’ a company with the motivation of receiving discounts and promotions. Another study estimated this number as being as high as 64%.

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