This just in, Facebook has released an update to their Official Promotion Guidelines removing the requirement for promotions to be run in a third party app.
Previously, as many of you know, the rule was: “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or an app on the Page Tab.”
NEW RULE: “Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted?.
This seems like trading one barrier for another, but I suppose change for the sake of change is just the Facebook way.
How do you think this will impact your contests.
I am tired of seeing businesses and organizations set up personal profiles on Facebook to use for business. First of all, using a Facebook Profile for your business is limiting your ability to share and engage with your customers and stakeholders. Besides:
- Profiles are limited to having 5,000 friends (Pages can handle millions!)
- Profiles can’t use Facebook ads or Facebook Insights (measuring ROI?)
- Etc… this list can get pretty long, but I am sure you get the point
For these reasons and more, take the extra time and create a custom Facebook Page for your business, brand, product, special person, etc.
Quick sidebar: Before you can set up a Facebook Business Page for your business or organization you have to have a Facebook Profile (personal). Don’t worry about using your personal profile to set up your business page. You can enable all kinds of privacy setting on your profile and still act as an administrator for a Page. Just remember, if you do not have a Facebook Profile you cannot be added as an Administrator on a Facebook Business Page.
So, without further blathering, let’s create a Facebook Page:
- Log in to your personal Facebook Profile
- Go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages
- Click “Create Page”
- Select the Page type. As you will see, there are several options. If you are uncertain which to choose, click on one and look at the categories in the drop-down box that appears. If you can’t find something that makes sense for your business, choose a different type. Feel free to explore these options until you find the best fit.
- From the drop-down boxes, select the appropriate “category.” In most cases it is pretty obvious which one you should choose based on your business products or services. Again, feel free to explore. This can be changed later so don’t stress out about it.
- Complete the other fields related to the business type. Be honest and don’t type something in one of these fields you would regret. When the page goes live, most of this information is automatically placed in various fields like “about us.”
- Agree to the Facebook Pages Terms by checking the box. It is a quick and easy read.
- Click “Get Started.”
- CONGRATULATIONS! You have a Facebook Business Page. Now take some time and explore your page. Fill out as much information as you can and don’t forget to use keyword rich content. To wrap it all up, link to your Twitter and YouTube profiles.
On December 10, 2010, Facebook released a revised edition of the Facebook Promotion Guidelines. Summarized, these new rules state:
- A contest must not use any part of Facebook such as Liking, status updates, photo tagging, etc.
- A contest must be administered in an “application on the Facebook Platform” (Static FBML, mailchimp, and flickr for example), not directly on a Page Wall.
How serious is Facebook about enforcing these rules?
As you may have guessed, Facebook has outlined consequences for violating these rules. Specifically, “In addition to our other remedies, we may remove any materials relating to the promotion or disable your Page, application or account if we determine in our sole discretion that you violate any of our policies.”
Facebook obviously doesn’t have the time or the resources to constantly police every page to ensure compliance to the Terms of Service; however, considering the consequences, it may be a good idea to follow the rules anyway. If you need more convincing, keep reading.
Should you follow the rules on your Facebook Page?
To really succeed in social media it is important for companies and social media professionals alike to follow the rules and guidelines of social media platforms. Why? Because breaking the rules is bad for your image and leaves the reputation of your company, brand, or person, open to long-term ridicule and damage.
Is it really worth it?
How to run a compliant contest (EASY!)
In this case, following the rules is really not difficult. Use a third-party app where people can “enter” your contest. An entry can be signing up for an email list (mailchimp), submitting a photo (flickr), or visiting your website to complete a specific action. Notice that each of these contest entry ideas requires using an “application on the Facebook Platform,” as stated in the rules. You can’t just say “Like our page to be entered,” or “Like this post to be entered.” That breaks the rules.
The third-party apps I just mentioned are already there, they just need to be added to your page. No technical knowledge or coding required.
If you have tips for running contests that meet the new rules, please leave them in the comments section below.