During the last week, we’ve had lots of our users inquire about the new Facebook Promotion Guidelines. We wrote a lengthy post about best practices using the new guidelines, and we gave our users the scoop about our awesome new Comment/Like Importer feature.
In this post, we’ll address some of the questions our users have posted on our blog and on our Facebook Page (some have been edited for length). Please know that we’re learning as we go and we expect some of these rules and best practices will change in the coming weeks and months.
1. Q from Twenty21: If we run a Timeline contest post without the facility of something like Shortstack’s Comment/Like Importer, what is the most efficient way to contact contest winners? Is it now “legal” to announce the name of winners on the Page Timeline?
If you’re not using our Comment/Like Importer then the most efficient way to contact contest winners is to create a post on your Timeline and announce your winner in it. It’s not a best practice to contact your winner via a private message because when they come from a private source they are marked as spam so the winner might not see your message. Finally, within your announcement post, congratulate the winner and then give them instructions for how to contact you. For example, the post would read: “Congrats Winner Name! You’ve won our awesome prize. To claim it, email us at ‘Contest@yourcompany.com.’ You have 48 hours to claim your prize. We will choose another winner if we don’t hear from you by then.”
This is how we chose to announce winners for our recent t-shirt contest:
By the way, we initially tried to tag the winners using their @name but Facebook does not allow business Pages to tag users, even if they have liked the page. In the future we will use Comment or Comment and Like as the way to enter. This way we will be able to tag the winner within the Comment stream.
If you don’t like this process, you can require entrants to visit your app and enter an email address. You could also include in your contest rules that only entrants who’ve submitted their email addresses will be selected as winners.
2. Q from Greg Cooper: Any suggestions on how to incorporate, “This contest is not associated with Facebook… etc.”?
Yep, your Timeline contest post can get pretty lengthy when you include all that Facebook requires you say when you host a contest on the platform. You can include your rules and regulations within the post. Or you can link users to an app that hosts all your contest rules and Facebook’s required disclaimers. That’s what we did here (http://on.fb.me/193FT7s ) and it seemed to work pretty well.
3. Q from Emma: Can you please clarify something: you state that “FB still does not allow Pages to require users to Like their Pages in order to be able to enter a contest.” So you suggest that “the only way to really drive Page Likes within a Facebook contest or promotion is to host the contest using a fan-gated app.” Does this mean that FB rules about not allowing users to Like Pages in order to enter a contest do NOT apply when the contest is run with a fan-gated app, despite the app being run within FB?
Liking a Page is not allowed to be a form of entry into a business’s promotion, but you can use a fan-gated app to hide app content so that non-fans have to Like your Page to get access to your promotion — this is how you drive new Page Likes with a contest. It’s not against FB’s rules! You’re allowed to have an app that reveals contest information only to fans — and people who have just liked your Page. It’s actually a best practice to fan-gate apps to drive new Page Likes Let me know if you have any more questions!
4. Q from Alison: One feature I’d really like to see is the ability to record the number of likes on a comment – the comp that I ran was asking people to comment and then awarding the prize based on the number of likes the comments got (to encourage sharing). Any chance of that feature being added?
Good news, we just made this update to our Comment/Like Importer tool so you can now import comment Likes
5. Q from Robyn McCormack and Sean Swentek: What is your recommendation for best practices regarding contest rules and regulations with the change that allows Timeline Promotions? I’m considering creating an app that houses a PDF with general rules and regulations that can be altered to whatever the current giveaway is, and placing a link to that app in any post I make about the contest?
Facebook still requires that Page admins include rules and guidelines for a Facebook Timeline contest. You can, indeed, house a PDF on your blog or website that contains the rules, or link to it in your contest post. Our suggestion is to host the rules on an app :) and link to the app so you can use the app to drive Page Likes, incentivize sharing, and easily build an email list via your Timeline Contest/Promotion.
6. Q from AKA Virtual PA: What are the pros and cons of using a third-party app?
Read Facebook expert Jon Loomer’s post about the pros and cons (he gives an unbiased assessment) and our AllFacebook guest post, “10 Reasons Apps make Facebook Contests and Promotions More Powerful” (it’s not quite as unbiased ).
7. Q from Fabio Molle: Is it legal or safe to ask entrants to leave their email addresses on Facebook?
It’s legal — but unlikely that many people will want to post their email addresses in public, no matter how great your prize. We don’t recommend it. Plus, if you ask for this kind of information, Facebook requires that you let your contest entrants know that you will not misuse their information and that the information is not going to Facebook but to you. Listing this information might complicate your contest rules, making the rules quite lengthy for a Timeline Promotion.
8. Q rom Fred van Schie, Ann McKenna Hand and Edna Campos: Can you contact winners through a Facebook message?
Yes. According to Facebook’s new guidelines, there are no longer restrictions about how to contact winners. See Q 1 for details.
9. Q from Twenty21: Is it against Facebook rules to “force” non fans to like my page in order to answer a question? Liking a Page is not allowed as a form of entry into a business’s promotion (the way a Comment or Like for a Timeline promotion can be). But you can use a fan-gated app to hide app content — including a contest or promotion entry — so that non-fans have to Like your Page to get access to your promotion. This is how you can drive new Page Likes with a contest. You’re allowed to have an app that reveals contest information only to fans — and people who have just liked your Page. It’s actually a best practice to fan-gate apps to drive new Page Likes. For more best practices, read our post from last week.
If you have any more questions about Facebook’s latest guidelines regarding promotions and contests, please leave them in the comments below and we’ll answer them for you. Cheers!