AS STATED IN THIS ARTICLE, RULES IN SOCIAL MEDIA ARE CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND CHANGING AND THAT IS NOW THE CASE AS OF 12/31/2017. Article updated 1/12/2018.
THERE ARE HOWEVER MANY LOOP HOLES TO KEEP YOU COMPLIANT AND ABLE TO DO THEM 🙂First and foremost! Are Facebook business page competitions “Illegal” or against rules?
There has been much debate about this and even full-blown social media arguments among various business owners and marketers/managers.
The answer is it is more in a grey area, that is to say with conditions and rules, that keep you inline with Facebooks policies and community standards.
It should be noted that while Facebook has in the past frowned upon such competitions, obviously peoples privacy and their paid ads bottom line being key factors. Facebook to date has never penalized any business or charity that we are aware of to date.
There are a few things you can do to stay in the safe zone and absent any negative feedback.
- In the Facebook guidelines, it’s made clear that there should be an “Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.” This no longer enough.
- Ensure your page does not contain fraudulent or misleading content.
- Make sure your terms and conditions are clear and concise.
- You can NOT host a business page promotion on your personal profile. (It must be on your business page.(If people decide to share your content on their timelines, you are not responsible for that and cannot be penalized, as long as your content does not violate Facebook’s community standards,i.e hate speech or fraudulent or misleading content (see https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards )
- You can NOT REQUIRE anyone to like or share or comment in order to be eligible.(You can, however, ask them to CONSIDER or SUGGEST.)
- However, even this can be a grey area and I will explain other ways around it in this article.
- You CAN contact winners via status updates, messages, emails, tweets, tag comments on threads or on your website or blog.
It should be noted that the world of social media is constantly evolving, all social media platforms rules and regulations evolve with it. Facebook is no different and FREQUENTLY change policies.
There are ways around these policies, little what is called in the social media world grey hat techniques. there are 3 levels.
1.Blackhat, which is blatantly against the rules and WILL get you penalized for using them.
2.Gray hat, which is in a grey area, considered more adaptive solutions that are loopholes more than violations.
3.White hat, which is complete to the letter compliance with all codes of conduct and regulations.
We use 90% white hat and 10% gray hat, although the loopholes in this article are more towards 90% gray hat, it does address some of Facebook’s concerns and helps everyone with viable and practical solutions.
We consider this a good balance that keeps us within accepted parameters and benefits our clients via policy compliance while incorporating outside the box thinking.
An example is when we run like and share competitions, we use terms like “Consider following our page and inviting your friends to join us”
This implies, you do not have to and we are not directly asking people to, instead, we are asking them to consider it. The effect is much the same and yields the intended action the majority of the time.
Here is one example we have created. As you can see is we have changed the wording, rather than like and share and comment on this post.
The other thing we have done is used editing software to upload our image then include the text within the image itself. The reason for this is, it is not people scanning the pages it is what is known as algorithms or automated crawlers ( part of a platforms coding and programming, think of your credit card being scanned it is similar. Effectively what happens is this part of Facebook scans all pages for keywords, (like, share, comment etc)
When they are detected the offending post is escalated to another algorithm or support member for further investigation, in some cases penalties are applied automatically.
We will talk about penalties in a moment.
Facebooks algorithms can not scan images (not yet at least but this will no doubt change as most things technology and policy evolve, this is why it pays to have a social media manager that is constantly researching handling your social media presence!
The other and best thing to do to get around this problem is to simply create a video, this is the best option for several reasons.
1.Facebook can not scan videos and it is unlikely they will for a while yet.
2.Videos do much better in paid ads and follower engagement and Facebook favors content that originates on Facebook, so if you upload the video file from your device straight to Facebook it will perform much better and reach more people.
Facebook and followers prefer video over reading as I am sure you will agree after reading all this information 😉 On Facebooks side, they simply appreciate content that does not encourage people to click away from Facebook to other sites.
3.If your competition is in video form (and does not have auto-play enabled), the people that Facebook claims are reporting the competitions as annoying or spammy, actually have to click play to view it and thus have decided they WANT to do so your competition cannot be reported for these things.
A decent social media manager will have software and devices to easily be able to create these videos for every kind of competition.
You can also go one step farther to obtain more reach by boosting your video and targeting the audience you wish to reach, you can also reach out to groups on Facebook and request permission to post them in their group.
We generally suggest only doing so once per competition, in this way members of the target group do not feel spammed, thus negatively affecting the success of the host group, as well it can provide value to the group for the owners.
You can also “cross-market” find another business and partner with them for prizes and promotional purposes. For example, you could write it into your competition, we have partnered with “Freddies pizza and they will be giving 5 large works pizzas to go with our gift cards and cash prize”
Now both businesses will share the competition on their pages and reach both pages followers 😉
While exact rates are not known, and most likely will NOT be made public by Facebook, this is how rule violations will be penalized.
Each offense will see your page demoted, thus your reach will be affected (how much people see your content, page post, and ads) Each offense will result in another demotion. There is the talk of a repeat offender even having their page deleted/banned.
We are unlikely to ever know how many offenses will be required for this to happen, as Facebook will not want people to feel they can see how much they can get away with.
At the end of the day, you want to utilize social media to enhance your brand, while staying compliant, remember Facebook does not want to limit business pages success, but they do have shareholders and the PEOPLE on the site are their bread and butter. As well they have the impossible job of pleasing everyone, which as a free user of the platform, we all need to share in that responsibility, so keep it responsible, make it fun and engaging and offer value for viewing and participation 🙂
How much work is in running a competition?
Simple answer? A LOT! The entire point of these competitions is to create brand awareness, increase page traffic and following/page likes and ENGAGEMENT with the audience to keep people clicking on and sharing your content.
These types of competitions can be used to increase pages likes quite quickly and be great fun for the audience, while showcasing the clients brand and bringing in new customers.
This should be done via comment liking via the various options provided. An engaged social media manager is a valuable asset in this process, not to mention they will know how to promote it effectively and advise on prizes and amounts as well as duration, which all need to be specifically tailored to each various business.
There are very many different variations of competitions and tailored properly can drive traffic and market your business, with better results than any commercial or radio slot ever could alone.
We do encourage utilizing the local radio stations to promote the competitions as they do reach many who are not on social media as often as others while increasing brand recognition and marketing. As well competitions, promotions, and offers can be complemented with small budget post boosts. Many of these changes are happening because Facebook is seeing a drop in its paid ad profits, so it is wise as a business owners that we all contribute to paid ads from time to time on a platform that we are allowed to use for free.
These competitions as we have already stated have many benefits including showing customer appreciation, which should ALWAYS be your number one goal in social media.Set aside a fair portion of your advertising/marketing budget per month for these and you will become very popular on social media, very quickly.
Depending on the client’s size, we offer this service as part of our basic social media management package @ $500 per month for complete page management. A guide to our pricing can be found here, https://finleymediasolutions.com/2017/08/22/pricing-and-packages/
We often do special packages and rates for new and small businesses and start-ups, we also take temporary contracts of a week or more or less to run competitions or just clean up pages presentation, business logos, and content all of which we create as well.
We also don’t mind giving #freeadvice as you can see, our clients’ understand how much work goes into these promotions and management. They simply do not have time to do it themselves. They also know it is VERY hard to find a company to do this much for less money. Plus let us be honest, it shows our brands nature and dedication and that is priceless 😉
Feel free to reach out to use, check out our clients’ reviews and let us know if we can be of assistance! https://www.facebook.com/socialmediaexcellencediscovered/