By Brian McNeil-Smith
Whether you are running a promotion for the first time or a seasoned pro, it’s time to Facebook promo ‘app up’ and make your promos Facebook compliant, but also save yourself time and money in the process.
A few years back Facebook decided on a set of rules regarding promotions and contests, one of which is the requirement to use an application (aka: app). Facebook’s Promotion Rules, when you cut to the chase, make sense and here is some insight as to why:
Facebook doesn’t want any connection to your contest, it’s in your hands, and yours to manage and ensure it meets external guidelines such as promotions laws. In addition, Facebook is a place where friends meet up, and to preserve this culture it is important to reduce unnecessary spam. Play within these rules and you have a magnificent opportunity to be a big hit on the world’s largest social stage.
So you’ve got your app in hand, actually installed directly to your Facebook page having automatically created a new tab in, oh, say 30 seconds. To get your contest up and running you create a nice graphic design max width of 810 px and upload it as a gif or jpg right into the app. Then you type directly or copy and paste your title and description and terms into the apps admin panel. The app supports some 23 languages so it’s quite versatile depending on where you are in the world.
Now you spend about 10 more minutes clicking a few boxes to activate the features you fancy, whether you are running a sweepstakes, quiz, photo contest, voting, etc. Next, select your start and end dates and voila your promotion is live and it looks great.
Your app will auto detect if users already like your page or not upon entry, and you can require non likers to like your page. Your entry form collects and captures entrant data in an exportable CSV file so you can load this information into your CRM or email program for further follow up and marketing activities.
Once your app is up and running you don’t have much to do other than ensure your time is spent on worthwhile promotion activities.
Some of the best promotion activities are completely out of your hands as your entrants make use of the ‘share features’ built right into the app. Conveniently located share buttons have your users sharing your contest via Twitter, Facebook, and email or other platforms in seconds and these shares can be attractive, eye catching and targeted to the right audience.
Respect Facebook’s rules
Be sure to stay within Facebook’s promotion rules and do not reward people for sharing. This is often overlooked by many admins. You can trust people will share. They have the tools all throughout the app but rewarding them to share is considered spamming and counter to the intent of Facebook. And if you create a voting contest your users will send messages to their friends to attract vote and your app can collect likes from these voters.
How to Make Your Promotion Work
In order to make your promotion work, you’ll need the following:
- Graphic design to highlight the important aspects of your contest.
- Title and description
- Terms and Conditions – who can enter and win, contest limitations, process for selecting a winner, etc.
- Start and Finish date and time.
- A plan to promote your promotion.
- A means to pick your winner.
- A great app that automates everything, gives you control over your user data and is compliant with Facebook rules.
- Creativity and the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your entrants.
Not all contests are the same, meaning you should have the flexibility to run sweepstakes, or quiz’s or photo contests within the same app as well as easily select a variety of features by activating or deactivating them to suit your preferences.
If you are new to contests we suggest you start small, keep it basic and after one or two contests you will quickly grasp what does and doesn’t work, you’ll also get the creative juices flowing and see opportunities you didn’t previously see. Mixing up different types of promotions throughout the year is a healthy way to create engagement.
Where to Start?
A good example of starting small is to run a sweepstakes for a prize that is desirable to your audience. We’ve seen companies offer up a T-shirt with huge success. The prize doesn’t have to be a $1000 cash reward and sometimes a T-shirt type of prize is more suitable to attracting relevant audiences. It also doesn’t make sense to give away $1000 if you don’t have a large enough budget to do the types of promotional activities to really get the word out that your contest even exists.
Avoid getting trapped by tunnel vision.
Many admins focus one or two aspects of the contest or are emotionally overwhelmed by what they perceive to be restrictive Facebook rules.
For example, an admin may feel they didn’t receive enough entries to justify giving away an iPad. They didn’t believe or understand the contest is really truly in their control and that they could have simply stated in the terms and conditions 300 entrants are required for the contest to be valid.
When I explain this to admins, a light bulb goes off in their head as they realize they establish the terms of their contest, terms that make sense for their business.
We had an admin who created a winning contest by offering to give away a can of pet food to the local shelter for every entry in his contest. He figured he’d get 50 entrants. So rather than think to cap the contest at 50 entrants, 900 cans later he was the shelter’s best friend and scratching his head at the same time.
So, you as admin can set the rules as you deem necessary so you don’t extend yourself beyond your budget and you don’t give away the farm unless the results are there. It all depends on how you state your rules.
The important thing is to state what the contest represents and then represent the contest as you have stated it. If you say the winner will be selected on Tuesday the 2nd at 12:00 pm by a jury appointed by the admin then do exactly that. If you state otherwise, then follow your script.
More about Brian: Expert in the field of Facebook Promotions, Director North America Easypromos, supported over 60,000 promotions working with agencies and businesses of all sizes. Lover of the outdoors can be found in the forest or canoes and kayaks.
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