Sunday, May 16, 2010

No Comps on Facebook!

OK so a great way to attract new ‘Fans/Likers’ is by having a competition, right? Well sure, people love the possibility of a freebee, but the risk you run is having your page shut down altogether. A risk I doubt you should be willing to take.

And yes, it is a very real risk. I know pages which have been shut down for this very reason and have struggled to re-establish new pages again; never getting back all the followers they had before. Heart-breaking! Some of them as small as under 500 followers; some of them as large as 5,000+ followers.

So perhaps this is news to you, or perhaps you heard about it, but reading the Facebook Terms of Service sent you mental trying to make sense of it all. Before you kick and scream that Facebook are being big meanies, let’s break it down and look at it reasonably.

The Terms of Service State that you can’t have a Sweepstake or Competition on your page. An explanation of these, in relation to FB are:
Sweepstakes - just becoming a fan/liker enters you into the draw.
Competition - some participation is required, such as answering a question, writing a response, or another demonstration of skill of some kind.

Why do you think that is? My belief is that it is impossible for Facebook to govern or regulate these competitions in accordance with local, state and federal laws throughout the world. They can’t guarantee that your competition isn’t in violation of law; they can’t verify that you have the required permits; and they can’t guarantee that the winner will actually get their promised goodies.

So what can you do instead? Well, I quote Facebook with this response:
“The Pages with the freshest, most engaging content stand to gain the most from this new product—since each track played, video viewed, review written and event attended can generate News Feed stories that propagate through the social graph. Facebook will accelerate the rate at which unknown entities become popular, and it will also fortify the position of those who are already recognized highly among users. Whether large or small, all artists, businesses, and brands have the potential for exponential distribution through the graph if they can engage users. Powerful reporting and insight tools are provided free to Page Admins.”

In other words: be interesting, be engaging and find a way to stand out from the crowd. Offer a quality product, well thought out ideas, opportunities, connections - whatever you do, do it well with thought and professionalism. Use your contacts, talk to people, network. Share their pages with your followers and most times they will do the same for you. But do it with class.

And finally, if you really want to hold a competition to get attention, then do it on a third party platform such as a blog or Twitter. You can promote the competition on Facebook as long as you don't indicate in any way that 'Facebook is a sponsor or administrator of the promotion or mention Facebook in any way in the rules or materials relating to the promotion.' No can you require participants to take any action within Facebook to participate - such as 'liking'.

But' we're all creatives. We can come up with lots of other fun ways to get attention!

Cheers, Chicken

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  1. Wow, thats made me really stop and think about what i offer through Fb! Thanks for the valid info and saving me reading the never ending speil in their terms & conditions :)

  2. I know it's been a while since this was posted, but I am still seeing so many FB business pages conducting competitions on a regular basis on their FB pages. I am going to share this link again as I'd really hate to see these pages shut down. Thanks so mcuh for spelling it out clearly - the rules and regs on FB can be very confusing.


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