Last week’s #mrktchat brought up a few interesting topics: branding, social media, and Facebook Promotional Guidelines. The last of those is what I’d like to…no, what I NEED to address, and I may partly be to blame. Last year I shared a couple of Facebook contests that didn’t quite follow the rules. For the most part, it was simply because I had failed to stay up-to-date on the guidelines. That was my mistake. Neither was too flagrant and, luckily, the Facebook landscape at the time didn’t pose too many threats to pages violating the rules, but the more I’ve research the way things should be done the more I realize ski resorts are failing to do so.
On the heels of a long list of major resorts “doing it wrong” this week, it’s time to revisit the topic before a hard earned list of Facebook fans is nearing 60k one day and starting from scratch the next. Whether you have 80,000 fans or 800, it’s time to be in the know.
Where Contests Are Going Wrong
I’d strongly suggest you read the entire promotional guidelines but let this list be a quick overview of the five areas where resorts are missing the mark:
1. Not using an app for your contest.
Facebook can’t be much clearer than they have. If you are going to hold any sort of contest where someone wins something, you MUST use an app or canvas tab to do so.
2. Failing to remove any affiliation with Facebook
You’ve got to be clear that your contest is in no way affiliated with Facebook or endorsed by them. Every contest I’ve seen violating point #1 has violated this rule as well.
3. Using Facebook functionality (likes, comments, uploads, posts, etc.) to enter.
You can’t simply say “like this to enter” or “share a photo to win…” or “comment to win…”.
4. Notifying winners on Facebook
You cannot notify winners through Facebook. So no wall posts saying “Julie S you won, email me to claim your prize…”
5. Use the right name for your promotion
According to Facebook, “by ‘contest’ or ‘competition’ we mean a promotion that includes a prize of monetary value and a winner determined on the basis of skill…By ‘sweepstakes’ … a winner selected on the basis of chance.” Use the right words.
A Few Bad Examples
I started blurring out the names of the resorts below but, after some deliberation, changed my mind. I don’t want to embarrass or offend anyone and these are resorts and marketers I respect, but I kept the names visible in the hope that it would be extra motivation to make changes and right the ship. Combined, the resorts listed below have well over 200,000 fans. I’d hate to see that hard work wiped out.
Can you see where they went wrong? First and foremost, the promotions were started right on the wall and required Facebook functionality to enter. Once you start that path, it’s virtually impossible to follow the other guidelines as well.
If Facebook takes notice or enough of your fans know the rules and flag the post, your account could be frozen or shut down. I’d have trouble seeing a GM being lenient on his social media crew from losing years worth of work because you simply disregarded the promotional guidelines. No one may ever notice or care. However, if they do, all I can say is…good luck.
I could go on about the risks, but the bottom line that I’ve come to is simply this: getting caught or not, it’s time to follow the rules and do things the right way.
The inevitable question: what apps should you use to run contests? Good question. So as to not overwhelm, let me suggest two I’ve heard the best reviews on:
Be smart, use apps and tabs, and sleep soundly knowing your fans are safe.
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