Facebook contests have been a key feature in many colleges’ social media marketing tool box. Colleges have been using them to help boost the number of leads and likes on your college’s page, reach more users, and gather information about fans. Students, on the other hand, love Facebook contests that make them win cool stuff. Many of our clients have been wary of Facebook contests. Some did not like the idea of using the required third party application. Others were confused over the rules and may have trespassed them without even knowing it. It is now all clearer with the new guidelines published earlier this week.
What has changed?
What was not allowed and is now possible
- Making contests directly through Page Timelines: it used to be necessary to use 3rd-party applications. In order to open contests to smaller businesses that cannot afford 3rd-party services, Facebook now allows every business page to run contests directly from their timeline.
- Using Facebook features in your contests: Till the changes, Facebook had a policy that basically forbade using Facebook features in contests. It was thus forbidden require that one Likes a page to vote for a contest. It is now possible, for a fee, to collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post or to collect entries by having users message the page.
What is not longer/still not allowed
- Inaccurate tagging of photos: As an administrator of your institution’s Facebook page, you can no longer ask people to tag themselves in pictures if they aren’t in them. The point for Facebook is really to make sure that all the tagged photos actually include people who are there.
- It is still forbidden to ask people to take part in a contest by liking, sharing or posting something on their timeline. Facebook explained that that choice by a will to preserve the authentic content on their Homepage and did not want them to be creating fake content to run a chance to win a contest.
- It is also forbidden to ask participants to share the timeline contests.
What does it change for your college?
Not much. The tagging changes will not in any way affect your college’s Facebook tagging campaigns. Indeed, as long as you ask students to tag themselves on pictures, you will be in accordance with the Facebook features.
Creation of a promotion through your timeline will be faster and easier, for a minimal cost. These promotions will also make sure you appear in your participants’ newsfeeds, fostering engagement. But don’t think we are done with applications just yet. Since there is no obligation to be a fan to like a post or comment, running a contest without an application will keep you from gathering more detailed data about new fans. If you choose to use Page Promotions, you will no longer to boost your lead generation nor gather accurate statistics about the success of the contest. Applications are still the best solution to collect data and push the number of fans. They are also still essential to help you design and brand promotions on pages. For higher ed institutions with a large fan base, third-party apps can still help make promotions and contests more personalized.
Finally, according to Facebook specialist Jon Loomer, the coincidental announcement of Facebook’s new contest guidelines and warning against a new newsfeed algorithm that would punish low-quality content may be an indication that Page Contest will soon be considered low-quality content. We may need to wait and see the real impact of these new contest rules in the coming weeks.
Share with us your thoughts on these changes, do you think this will impact your college’s use of promotions on Facebook?