Facebook just announced that as of now Pages are no longer required to use third party apps to create promotions on Facebook. According to Facebook, this change is made to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to create promotions without breaking Facebook rules.
Until now, quite a few rules had to be follow or businesses potentially risked getting their valuable Facebook pages shut down. This has changed significantly yesterday and the result may be that we will all experience more aggressive use of promotion from now on. Previously Facebook did not allow businesses to encourage users to interact with Posts or Facebook Pages in order to take part in a contest. However, this no longer seems to be an obstacle.
The new Facebook Promotion rules
As of yesterday, as part of a contest businesses are now allowed to:
- Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post.
- Collect entries by having users message the page.
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism.
However, it is still not allowed for businesses to share their contest promotions on personal Timelines.
Furthermore accurate tagging has been highlighted as an area to be aware of, meaning that the Page terms now prohibit pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in.
So, for instance:
- It is OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize.
- It is not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
Though this is great news for small and medium sized businesses, there are still some rules to be followed and as always you need to be aware of these to be safe. For instance, you still need to include an enclosure in every promotion – just as you do in a third party app. For all the changes have a look at the Facebook Promotion Guideline.
Contacting the winner
The new guidelines does not mention anything about contacting the winner. The old rules clearly stated that you were not allowed to contact the winner or any participant through Facebook. However, this might be difficult as the new rules enables you to be in direct contact with the Facebook user which does not leave many options for collecting alternative email addresses or phone numbers. Furthermore, by using Facebook and not a third party app you miss out of the possibility to collect and leverage data for ongoing promotions and marketing efforts.
All in all
I guess this new action from Facebook will serve a good purpose for smaller business that want to promote products and events without spending a huge marketing budget. However, chances are that the number of promotions will explode within the next couple of weeks making your Timeline clutter with promotions. I predict that serious contests will be moved to different platforms such as Instagram or even Google+ as to avoid getting lost in the masses and thus the possibility of marketing budgets being allocated away from Facebook.
To round this up I must remind you that though Facebook now allows you to promote products more broadly, you should always remember to read the marketing laws that is applied in the country you promote your product in. In some countries, some of this is still illegal despite what Facebook states!