BREAKING: Facebook Contest Changes (How They Help the Little Guy)

One of my popular articles includes how to prevent your Facebook fan pages from being shut down. These ways used to include the no no’s on contests, but as of yesterday, this news has changed – and it could be HUGE for your small business or author page. Before, pages were not allowed to host contests and select winners by asking for Shares, Likes, or Comments. However:

“Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:
  • 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”

I’m guessing it’s because I went all Hermione on them and started reporting all the pages that were rule-breaking. I’m only sort of kidding – I’m usually one to ignore what everyone else is doing and keep chugging along with my own thing. But do you know how frustrating it is for a major brand to get away with breaking the rules, yet the tiny guys who can’t afford ads are doing it all right and still missing out on primo opportunities? It’s hard enough to break into any business, but it drove me crazy to see all those rule-breakers getting away with it (kind of like when that jerk tailing your bumper zips around you in traffic and still gets by the waiting cop car!).

However, I can breathe a sigh of relief and put the focus back on my own page. Facebook announced that their rules for contests have been upgraded. Now fan pages may now host contests through their main pages, as opposed to third party apps that may seem too daunting for some of your fans (for example, one of the magazine pages I run has an older generation of readers who simply could not understand tabs or third-party apps).

Don’t get me wrong – third party applications (Woobox, Wufoo, and Rafflecopter are still the jam IMO) will continue to be a great way to brand your tabs and collect user data (emails, etc.). You want that contact with customers even after the contest is over and hopefully collecting that information and keeping them updated makes them lifelong customers.

But for those of us simply looking to host a tiny contest and give away a copy of our book, we can now do that with Shares, Likes, and Comments, straight off the Newsfeed. This is GREAT news for the little guys! The Heyo Hub blog has a great summary of the changes and why they mean good things for small businesses (saving time and money).

Of course, Facebook’s announcement does include a few hitches. I highly recommend reading the Rafflecopter blog’s article which includes the new rules (a release of FB from each participant, acknowledgment that FB does not endorse your contest, and 7 changes you should know right now before you go contest-crazy).

“As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.”

This means that you cannot ask people to post anything on their personal timelines in order to win a prize (which seems sort of obvious, right, since fan pages can’t see a person’s personal timeline, so how would you follow up?).

“In order to maintain the accuracy of Page content, our Pages 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’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”

That means, for example, I can’t ask fans to post and tag photos of themselves with my books or swag in exchange for a prize.

Still a way sweeter deal than before, if you ask me. Personally, I can’t wait to host contests this way now. It’s going to save me time and prevent readers from falling down a rabbit hole of different pages, plus help me reach a wider crowd when people catch it in their newsfeeds. If you ask me, this is a total win-win for the little guy.

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