What experts are saying about the changes in Facebook’s promotion and contest guidelines

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Facebook recently made it easier for businesses to manage contests and promotions from their Facebook page, cutting out the need to go through a third-party app and making it easier to collect entries through posts.

Several industry experts weighed in on these changes to Inside Facebook, offering suggestions for the best ways for brands to take advantage of these changes.

Emeric Ernoult, Founder and CEO, AgoraPulse:

If you have a small audience and want to offer a prize, it’s now super simple, post to your page that people may just post/message the page or like/comment a post of the page and tell them you’ll pick a winner among the ones who have done so.

Super fast, super easy and free! You can even pay for ads and get the concerned post displayed to more people that your usual organic reach (between 5 and 50 percent of your fans). The ad part is probably the main motivation for Facebook to change its rules by the way, but that’s a different story.

A good example would be the following: you have a small business and a couple thousand fans and you are launching a new product, you want your fans and the world to know about it and, at the same time, engage with the announcement.

Create a post announcing the launch, include a nice picture and ask your fans to find a name for the new product using the comments on the post. Then, pick a name you like among the comments and you have a winner.

Leila Thabet, Managing Director, We Are Social US, New York:

Since so many brands already use this approach for competitions, it makes sense for Facebook to make this change. It will probably also help Facebook drive revenue, since the change places emphasis on ad mechanics within the News Feeds instead of on tabs.

Brands should benefit from the reduced costs of running a competition or promotion and probably experience greater engagement, since News Feeds are where users have their primary focus. The set up should also allow brands to be more agile and flexible in their campaigns.

These changes won’t spell the end of third-party services, however. Those services still offer a far more advanced system than just using basic voting mechanisms, and manually collating entries just isn’t realistic for big campaigns where there’s a risk of making mistakes on validating entries.

In the end, these changes might be of most benefit to brands with lower budgets who will like being able to continue running their competitions as before without violating Facebook regulations. We may also see an increase in smaller-scale reactive promotions from big brands. The greatest beneficiary, however, is likely to be Facebook, who will see an increase in revenue as brands compete for their competitions to appear in users’ News Feeds.

Preetham Venkky, Digital Strategist & Business Head, KRDS Asia:

Despite Facebook easing their policies, running a contest on your Facebook page can prove to be quite a daunting task. Let’s imagine you run a photo vote contest. If the prize is substantial, you might get entries in the thousands. It will be next to impossible for a community manager to sort these entries in a more manageable manner. There’s also the scare of users deleting their entries once the contest is over. In another scenario, since users can edit their comments, they might change their entries based on how others are responding.

Managing all this information can be quite cumbersome. Also, it’s not uncommon for contestants to talk negatively about a brand if a contest is not conducted in a justifiably fair manner. Sore losers can lead to negative publicity as opposed to the positive feedback you as a business were expecting. Also, Facebook’s renewed policy clearly states that businesses must communicate the terms and conditions of participation and release Facebook of any liabilities.