Facebook have relaxed their rules requiring third party apps to be used by brands wishing to post competitions or promotions to their Facebook page.

Hurrah! Cheaper Facebook promotion! Or so you may think…  Although this will no doubt be seen as a positive step by some, if you are serious about social media engagement, you need to consider this change in guidelines carefully, before discarding your campaign apps.

5 reasons why relaxing the Facebook competition guidelines is a bad move

By relaxing their competition rules, Facebook are showing wavering commitment to the purity of the excellent brand they have created. This move will encourage more spam, lower quality of ‘likes’, lower engagement scores and an exodus from your Facebook page after your campaign has ended.

1. Spam spam spam spam
I witnessed a competition the other day run on a small businesses’ Facebook page where they asked entrants to comment under their post with the number of beads in a bracelet, in order to win the bracelet.

At the time, this was against guidelines but not anymore. This is an awful campaign mechanic because once someone had commented on the post, their newsfeed then got clogged up with everyone else commenting on the post and the comments were simply numbers, 1234, 6792, 4769 (these aren’t my card PINs by the way).

This is not meaningful engagement and I suspect that many people simply ‘unliked’ the page the next day, to stop this spamming of their news feeds.

2. Pointless interaction
The great thing about the 3rd party Apps we would select for a client’s social media campaign, is that they are interactive, engaging and fun.

They drive more sharing, more likes and give a much higher quality of interaction than simply ‘like this page’ – which quite frankly – is dull. Additionally, they deliver better commercial value for our clients, enabling the capture of email addresses, market research data, customer content and more.

overload3. Facebook are doing this for the wrong reasons
I feel that Facebook haven’t done this because they want to open up the network and empower small businesses. They have done this because they probably don’t have the resources (or inclination) to penalise the businesses that have been doing it the wrong way.

Rather than safeguard the quality of interaction brands can have with their fans, they have watered down their effective guidelines simply because they can’t police them.

4. If someone gives you something for free, you think it’s worth nothing!
This mantra rings true for Facebook campaigns. There is a balance to be achieved in acquiring new ‘likes’. Asking your entrants to design a car (as one brand we have spoken to did) is way too much of a time investment.

At the same time, if you oversimplify access to your brilliantly managed, content rich and engaging Facebook page – you are underselling what you are offering them on this page. Put another way, ‘like our page to enter’ is far too simple a mechanic to inspire anyone to explore your brand on Facebook more.

5. Sharing
Most good 3rd Party Facebook Apps gives the option for entrants to share directly with their friends and post to their timeline – this is essential.

When your campaign is shared on the entrants timeline or direct on their friends – your brand is presented in a more attractive way, than if they simply ‘like’ the page.

Using a good campaign App therefore drives more click-throughs to your Facebook Page. This is a better way of making your campaign go viral, rather than your fans connections seeing that they simply ‘like’ a page.

My 3 predictions of what will happen to brands that solely use Facebook’s native features and functions to run your campaigns is as follows:

  1. Credibility
    Using a 3rd party App Vs using Facebook functions for your campaigns will subconsciously become a defining feature of new users measuring the quality and credibility of your brand.
  2. Exodus
    Campaigns using Facebook only features will see a significant drop off of ‘likes’ after the campaign has ended, as less relevant fans become connected with your communities  and people will get fed up of seeing random people’s comments in their own timeline.
  3. Facebook will listen to this blog post and retract this new rule… OK, maybe not, but I thought I’d leave you with some humour.

Have a look at how using 3rd party apps can increase engagement by 400+%, increase your likes by 1800% and drive direct sales for your business through Digital Visitor’s award winning Social Media Campaigns.

I welcome your comments and look forwards to continuing this debate…