Facebook Promotions Made Simpler with a Few Guidelines Change
So here is where I would usually rant about how, in typical Facebook fashion, Facebook announced a major change with no warning or regard for the promotions industry or Facebook developers. But this change is too good to really complain about from a client perspective. This time they have totally shifted the mindset for running promotions on Facebook and made it simpler and easier.
And while this may mean that promotional marketers are reeling a bit about what this means for our current and ongoing projects, anyone can see that this change will allow users to engage with brands without overcomplicating it.
I have had a few people in our office already stop by and ask what the changes mean, and we still have lots of questions that need to be sorted out, but here is what we know for sure:
The new promotional guidelines were posted yesterday, August 27, 2013 to the following pages:
What used to be a long list of do’s and don’ts is now simplified into four basic rules:
1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
a. The official rules;
b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).
4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.
Point #3 is the key change to the guidelines.
Unlike in the past, simple promotions can now be run on your business page without a third party app. For example you can ask your fans to comment on a picture for an entry into a sweepstakes, cast a vote by “liking” one photo over another, or post a comment as a contest essay.
There are quite a few implications of these changes:
1. Cost and time to launch can be significantly reduced for these types of promotions and is great news, especially for small businesses on a budget.
2. The changes do seem to imply that you can now contact winners via the Facebook messaging system which was not allowed in the past.
3. Sharing for an entry is still a no-no. Getting entries for sharing to a person’s personal Timeline page or to an entrant’s Timeline page is explicitly against the guidelines – but any other action on a business page (liking, commenting, posting a photo or video, etc) are all fair game. I have seen some threads that are debating whether a share in a private message could be an entry, but until this gets clarified we wouldn’t advise on using it in your promotion just yet.
4. You also still need to have full, complete, legally compliant Official Rules that include verbiage that Facebook does not endorse your promotion and that by entering participants acknowledge that Facebook is not a part of the promotion.
5. Another clarification was made (not in the Facebook promotions guidelines section of the changes) regarding tagging. These changes state:
You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (ex: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).
This is important to keep in mind for promotions since you can’t encourage your entrants to tag themselves or tag others in your photos, which precludes entries from being obtained by this method.
Facebook Promotions Going Forward
All of these changes are very exciting – but keep in mind that there is a trade-off for running a simple “like” or “comment” type promotion. If your goal is to engage your audience with your brand, increase Facebook traffic and likes then this simple promotion is for you. But if you are in a highly regulated industry (banking, alcohol, marketing to children, etc.) you may still want to go the third party app route. Only with a third party app will you be able to collect email addresses for email optin lists, sales contact info, allow for age-gating or match up actual customers with visitors.
If you are planning on running a Facebook promotion contact us for help on mapping out what route will be best for you to meet your goals. We can help you keep it is as simple or as comprehensive as it needs to be to meet your needs.
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