New Facebook Contest rules- Pros and Cons

This week, page administrators everywhere went crazy! Facebook announced that contests no longer have to be run with 3rd party apps. If you were unfamiliar, contests that asked fans to like, share and comment in exchange for an entry in a drawing were forbidden. No longer!

I can honestly say it was frustrating watching competitors do giveaways the ‘wrong’ way. But I can see why. You get amazing engagement on your page with all those likes and comments. Why would you give those away to run them on a 3rd party app and inconvenience your fans? Well a few reasons. Here are the pros and cons of running contests directly on your page.

PROS

  1. Increased engagement- many times I see when my friends like something or they share a contest on their wall. You know what happens? I enter the contest too. That’s the point of a giveaway, is to increase likes and hopefully get some new fans. The new rules will allow your page to grow with giveaways.
  2. Easy- it’s easy to click ‘like’. It’s yet another thing to enter a rafflecopter contest. You have to go through this whole verification that you ‘liked’ or ‘tweeted’ or ‘pinned’. 
  3. Everything stays on Facebook- the more steps or pages someone has to click through the less likely they are to finish that contest entry. 
  4. Cheap- unless you pay to promote your post, you can run contests for free. I don’t forsee this always being the case but for now, small business owners can breathe a little. 

CONS

  1. It’s all on Facebook- One of the great things about contests is you could drive traffic to your webpage or your blog if that’s where you were hosting your rafflecopter giveaway. You can still do this, but with everyone running contests just on their Facebook page, you’ll be the difficult one.
  2. Random winner?- If you’ve ever hosted a contest with an app, you know it can pick the winner randomly and it’s a verified result, such as with random.com. Without this, what’s to say the page administrator didn’t just pick their buddy?
  3. Collecting information- if you used and app to host a contest, often times (if you were smart) you collected emails or other information that was a goldmine for market research. Without the app, although you’re increasing traffic, you’re not entirely finding out anything new about the person.

One of my favorite app developers, Shortstack, immediately came out with a solution for some of these problems ( I was amazed at their quick response). I use Shortstack for some of my Facebook page tabs. They also have templates to get photo contests and such up and running. They do charge a fee ( you gotta pay for that development, you think they survive on crackers and water?). Anyhow, they now have an app to export all of those likes and comments, which is handy if you have hundreds or thousands of those likes and comments. This solves the problem of truly picking a random winner and if you’ve asked fans to enter in some other type of information it will import that as well. I hope to try the new app soon!

No matter the new rules, remember, do what’s right for your business. If the purpose is to get email addresses, I would still use an app, as people don’t want their emails on the comments section. If you’re trying to drive traffic to you page, you can also consider embedding the contest post into your page (another new announcement). I think we will see more changes from Facebook regarding contests, but for now, try a giveaway today!

 

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