New Facebook Page Terms Drastically Change Promotions

Facebook just dropped a bomb on the social media marketing world this afternoon. In a completely unexpected move, the social network made all social media marketers and small business owners jump for joy by making it much easier to run promotions on Facebook. How? Read on.

Facebook Now Allows Promotions on Timeline

Facebook Promotions AnnouncementWhen Facebook created Pages what seems like decades ago, brands routinely executed promotions by asking fans to Like, Comment, and Share posts. It was an easy way to host a contest. Unfortunately, this was against Facebook Terms.

Facebook wanted to keep their site usage as genuine as possible and didn’t want users to be “spammed” by businesses and contests/sweepstakes. Many of you may find this ironic given the increased number of ads.

The alternative Facebook offered was to create a tab/app. You could then use your Facebook wall to promote it. Although a fine option, it was generally more complicated, especially for small business owners. Now, that’s all changed.

People Can Enter Promotions by Liking, Commenting, and Posting

This may be the most prominent change stemming from this announcement because many Pages have been administering promotions using these functionalities even against Facebook’s old terms. Now that these methods have the OK from Facebook, we’ll likely see even broader implementation of promotions prompting fans to Like or Comment on a specific post to enter or directing fans to post directly to the Timeline.

Likes Can Now be a Voting Mechanism

Like… the word that has become synonymous with Facebook is now more important than it’s ever been. Likes are now a valid voting mechanism. This change helps marketers eliminate a lot of potential confusion. It takes away the issue of using replacement words such as, “vote,” “choose,” “select,” etc. and replaces it with a universal term.

People Can Enter Promotions by Messaging Pages

Now instead of sending people to a tab or microsite to fill out a form, you can just ask fans to send a message to the brand Page to enter. This doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense for larger brands. I think any promotion that requires a large amount of text (e.g. an essay contest) to enter would be much better served on a microsite that could properly display all of the entries.

Limitations on Tagging

While Facebook has opened a lot of possibilities for promotions, they’ve also issued a clear limitation when it comes to utilizing Tagging in promotions. For example, per the new guidelines:

It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

Unresolved Issues

As wonderful as this update is, there is one big unresolved issue: contacting winners is still very challenging. This creates several problems:

You could ask the user to message the Page, but that puts the onus on the user. Also, big brands get so many messages as it is, the winner could get easily lost in the shuffle.

You can reply within the comment thread and include an email address that the winner can message, but again that leaves you open to whole group of people who will try to take advantage of that. And the real winner could get lost in the mess.

A community manager can message the winner from a personal Facebook account, but only if the user accepts messages from anyone on Facebook.

And Currently, brands can only tag users who have Commented on a Facebook post. So if they have Liked or Shared, but not Commented, you cannot reply to them within that post. That seems to negate the fact that Likes are now valid entries.

A solution to all of these problems is to allow brands to privately message any user who has interacted with the Page in some way. This would allow brands to efficiently contact winners without allowing brands to spam every single person with a Facebook account.

Looking Forward

So, why did Facebook make this change? This is a clear response to brands being very frustrated with significantly declining interaction rates. Done properly, this new flexibility is a real opportunity for brands to increase engagement on their Pages.

This announcement also largely benefits smaller businesses as opposed to bigger brands with million-dollar marketing budgets. It’s nice to see Facebook look out for the little guy again. Here’s to hoping Facebook continues making improvements that depend less on how big your pockets are and depend more on how creative you are.

Frankly, everyone at Ignite Social Media is very excited about the possibilities. What do you think about the new Facebook update?

Ignite Social Media