It’s a beautiful day in the social media marketing neighborhood – Facebook has eliminated its longtime, relatively stringent regulations on promotions. Now, running contests can happen right on brand Timelines, making the entire process much more simple and cost-effective.
As of this week, brands no longer need to use third-party contest apps like Wildfire and Offerpop to stay on the up and up with Facebook’s guidelines. While apps are still an option, previously banned actions like wall posts, comments, “Likes,” and private messages can be used as a vote or an entry. In another update, Facebook has officially put the kibosh on using tagging as an entry mechanism. According to the social network’s business-centric blog, brands cannot urge their fans to tag themselves in posts or photos that don’t feature them “in order to maintain the accuracy of Page content.” With these changes, brands can save the funds previously shelled out on third-party price tags and funnel their budgets into marketing efforts with a bit more of an ROI. One could also argue that if engagement is the endgame of your promotion, fans will be much more likely to interact when they don’t have to step away from Facebook.
However, in addition to the obvious drawbacks for app providers, there are a few potential issues for brands as well. As Giancarlo Massaro points out in a recent Social Media Today piece, losing third-party apps also loses the ability to capture valuable data, like email addresses and preferences. The increased ease of entry may also tempt a larger number of fake fans to flock to brand accounts, driving fake engagement that won’t last past the promotion.
As you start to suss out this new Facebook frontier, we’d recommend taking a mix and match approach to your promotions for a while. If you’re looking for a boost in engagement, don’t want to integrate your contest with other social networks, or want to focus your social marketing budgets on other things, give it a go. However, although it’s more than likely these changes signal enhanced native capabilities that will support data capture or multi-channel execution, stick with third-party apps if those are your immediate goals. Once you’ve run a few contests, take an extra thorough look at your analytics to determine if in-page promos are working for you.