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New Facebook Promotion Guidelines help small businesses

By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk

FacebookpromoguidelinesLast week (August 27) Facebook announced some big news by making some changes to their Promotion Guidelines. We have consistently been telling people that if they want to run a sweepstakes or contest promotion on their Facebook page that they had to use a third party application. We all knew however that some pages were running promotions anyhow without the use of an app with the risk of being caught. Well now Facebook states here that you no longer have to use an app and  can run these types of promotions right on your Page’s Timeline by simply asking fans to Comment on or Like a post as a way to enter.

Facebook-timeline-600-300x200Besides now being able to collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post you can also collect entries by having users message the Page. Also you can now utilize likes as a voting mechanism. However, as before, you cannot administer a promotion on a personal Timeline.  This still means that you cannot give additional entries by having someone share on their Timeline or on their friend's Timeline.

So how does this affect businesses that run sweepstakes and contests on Facebook and what exactly does all this really mean? This new change Facebook made to their Promotion Guidelines does makes it easier for small businesses to host promotions and contests on their Timeline. For businesses that may receive hundreds or thousands of entries, i.e. Likes and comments, on their page, organizing the valuable data they collect from fans, such as their email addresses, and randomly selecting a winner(s) may be very difficult to do.

Facebook-Promos-300x156To help manage promotions that you would like to run right on your page we now can offer clients the new Comment/Like Importer feature from our Facebook app partner, Shortstack.  You can now collect all the Comments and Likes from your Status Updates and store them in a database.  This works similar to using our Facebook app, however, people no longer have to click on a separate Facebook tab from your page and accept the apps permission. This new tool will collect the fan's profile information and their name. It will also collect the fan's comments if they made one.

Now what you can do is run a sweepstakes promotion and offer fans the chance to gain extra entries by using two methods of entry.  For example. entrants can enter directly on your page Timeline by "Liking" the sweepstakes post and can then also receive an extra entry by submitting information on the sweepstakes Facebook application. Entrants must fill out all required fields on the entry form to receive the extra entry. into the contest.

Creating a promotion with a Page is faster and easier then using a third party app and may be perfect for those types of promotions that have short promotion periods and are giving away low value prizes.  However, you can't make someone like the page first to participate, you can't collect email addresses and it also can be challenging when trying to contact the winners.

By using an app on Facebook to create a promotion it allows you to create a more personalized experience and integrate your branding strategy. Apps also provide more space and flexibility for content than Page posts alone and promotions run through apps can collect data in a secure, structured way that many brands will still require.  Plus with an app you can still create the content for fans only therefore making it mandatory that they Like the page first in order to participate.

So again, one of the main objectives in running promotions is to collect user data so that you can engage more directly with your customers and prospective customers.  Therefore the use of apps on Facebook to achieve this is still a great tactic to use. As with any marketing strategy, you need to first define clearly what you're trying to achieve in order decide what type of promotion you want to run.

Next week I'm heading down to New York to attend the ACI's 2nd Annual Summit on Social Media, Sweepstakes & Promotions Digital Compliance. Allison Hendrix, Attorney for Facebook Platform Operations, will be a speaker. So I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say on this topic and why Facebook made the decision to make this change now.

I will be glad to speak to any of you directly to review the changes and options now available and what I learn from the conference next week, so feel free to leave me a comment or contact me directly.


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