Facebook recently changed its promotional guidelines, allowing business to run a contest on Facebook right from their timeline, but exactly how does it affect your Facebook Marketing strategy? Should businesses continue to use Facebook apps to run contests and promotions or switch to just begin conducting them from their timeline?
We are here to weigh the pros and cons for both the approaches in order to identify the best way forward for you, to ensure you get maximised results from your Facebook contests and promotions.
How does running a contest on my Facebook page timeline help my business?
1) It is super simple. Just post an update on your Facebook brand page, ask fans to like or comment on it. Or just request them to post their response to your timeline or Message it to your via your FB page, and choose from among the people that have completed either of these steps.
2) You don’t need to get a Facebook contest application in order to host Facebook contests and promotions. You still CAN, however, it’s your choice entirely.
3) These contests are free to run – unless you advertise.
4) Timeline contests are mobile friendly, while a lot of Facebook Applications are not.
…and well, that’s all there’s to it.
So, what’s wrong with running a contest on my timeline?
1) Diminished Virality: While you can use the ‘Like’, ‘Comment’, and ‘Message’ or ‘Post to Timeline’ features for a Facebook contest, Facebook still doesn’t allow ‘Sharing’ as a contest option, so you can not ask your participants to share your page post. Sharing is the most viral of all the Facebook features there are, and not using it means that the reach of your contest will be limited to your fans unless you decide to run ads (which seems to be the key motivation behind this change in Facebook Guidelines).
2) No Terms and Conditions: Every contests has certain caveats attached to it, some rules and regulations. You can’t display these contest rules when you are running a contest on your timeline. You can create a note with the contest rules and share them with your fans. However, most people will participate in your contests by commenting or liking from their Newsfeed directly. Most of them will not even be able to see the the terms and conditions, resulting in fans dissatisfied with the result of the contest. In the worst case scenario, you may get slapped with a lawsuit and, in the best case, disgruntled fans.
3) Difficult to Manage Entries: On of the objectives of running a contest is to increase page engagement, by getting as many likes and comments on your posts as possible. Once you receive over 50 comments or likes, it is impossible to sort through these entries, let alone manage them. If you have a page with tens of thousands of fans, this number can get unimaginably high, and so will this challenge.
4) You Gain Less Fans: When a running a promotion on your timeline, even non-fans can comment or like you post in order to participate, without ever having to like your page. When using a Facebook contest app, you can fan-gate the contest, which means visitors have to like your page before participating – giving you the chance to grow your fan base.
5) No Lead Generation: The primary objective of running a Facebook contest or promotion is to have your fans join your brand’s network by registering with you. When using a Facebook application for contests or promotions, you can ask the participants to share their name, email and other demographic detail which you can use for future promotions. Running aa contest from your timeline doesn’t allow you to do that.
6) Limited Reach (even to your own fans): When you use an app for Facebook promotions or contests, you can create multiple updates with a link to your app and promote your contest as often as you want. Since your updates only reach a small percentage of your fans at a time, this ensures that over a certain period, all your fans get to know about your contest. If you are running a contest on your timeline, you can only promote it once using the actual post that talks about your contest. Simply put, this means your post will not even reach all your fans, unless, of course, you advertise.
How are Facebook Contest apps any better?
Apart from addressing all the issues listed above, these are some additional benefits you stand to gain from using contest applications:
1) Social-sharing: Lend your contest or promotion additional virality by allowing your fans to share the contest to their Twitter, Google Plus profile or their own Facebook profile.
2) Social stories: Every time users interacts with your app, a Newsfeed story is generated visible to all their friends, grabbing more eyeballs for your brand.
3) Customised fan experience: Use custom graphics, videos, slideshows, voting or other capabilities to make your contest into a showcase for your brand, and create increased brand recall.
So, in the battle between contests hosted on your timeline and the ones hosted on an app – apps clearly are the winner. However, you can combine the advantages of hosting a contest from both by using a Timeline Contest app. This app will let you manage your contest entries, sort them as per your set parameters (comment with most likes, comment with most replies, all likes, all comments), let you display contest rules, as well as have participants submit their details. The app is mobile-friendly and lets incorporates all other features mentioned here, letting you have the best of both worlds.
In an effort to help businesses understand how the running a contest on your timeline with the Timeline App can change the game entirely, Apps Mav is launching a Facebook timeline contest of its own. Participants need to Like the Apps Mav Facebook page, submit their contacts, and leave a comment on their post with an awesome catchphrase for Apps Mav. The comments that get the most likes stand to get the chance to win some amazing prizes like a brand new iPad Mini, $200 Amazon Gift Cards, and much more! As far as contests on Facebook go, this contest will be a definite clutter-breaker. Watch this space for updates on when and how you can participate, while also seeing the Timeline app in action.