I still get a lot of traffic on my post about how to run a Facebook giveaway – and a lot of questions. It turns out people don’t like to hear that their giveaways may not be adhering to the Facebook Promotions Guidelines. And that’s OK. No one likes to hear they can’t do something they’ve always done and that they see others doing regularly. In this article, I want to explain a little more about why using Facebook functions like Likes, comments, shares, and required status updates are a bad idea. It’s not just because it violates the Facebook Promotions Guidelines, but also because it just doesn’t make sense and it can hurt you down the line.
If you haven’t read my previous article about Facebook giveaways, here’s the gist: You can’t use Facebook functionality — Likes, comments, shares, status updates, etc.) — as an entry. Not a main entry, not an optional entry. Not at all.
But let’s say you’re bound and determined to ask for Facebook Likes, comments, shares, or status updates as optional entries to your giveaway. Lots of people are doing it and you don’t see the issue. That’s what I want to tackle in this article: Using those Facebook options in your giveaways is hurting you in the long run. What are the issues? Glad you asked. Here are five reasons not to use Facebook functions in your giveaways.
- It’s against Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines. That link takes you directly to Facebook’s guidelines. They can be confusing, so I wrote a post about how to interpret them. We’ve already hashed this out.
- You can’t track your new Likes easily or effectively. Now that you have your new Likes, how are you going to track them? Facebook doesn’t give you an easy way to see who all your new Likes are. You can check your Admin Panel at the top of your fan page and scroll through everyone, but is that efficient? Do you have the time it will take to match up each of your new Likers with each of your giveaway entries on your blog? Don’t forget you’ll have to make a note of the entrants who said they Liked your page, but didn’t actually do it, then you’ll need to disqualify that entry. This is starting to sound like an administrative nightmare to me. (And wait until you get to #4 — it really messes things up.)
- Your new Likes aren’t engaged fans. Likes are a vanity metric. They simply aren’t as important as engagement. The people who Like your page because of an incentive to win a prize are there for one reason: they just want to get another entry from you. They aren’t interested in what you have to say long-term. The majority are not going to come back to your page to comment, like, or share something you post that isn’t a giveaway. Even worse, they may not bother to unlike your page, but instead hide your updates or mark them as spam in the news feed. That definitely won’t help your fan page efforts. Facebook is looking at how many fans you have and the engagement rate (how many people are interacting on your page). Facebook decides, based on that information, whether to show your fan page updates to certain users. If you’re not being seen by most of your fans, then you lose engagement. When you lose engagement, you lose more visibility. It’s a vicious circle. But there is a bigger problem, and that’s number 4.
- Many entrants who take advantage of the Like option use fake Facebook accounts to do so. That’s right. People who are saying they Like your page aren’t doing it from their real Facebook accounts. That means a) you can’t track the Likes effectively (#2 above), b) your new fans really aren’t engaged (because they aren’t real — #3 above), and c) those fake Likes may flag you as having an account whose fans have either been bought or obtained through other shady means — and you could lose your Facebook fan page like this lady did or like this lady did. I warned about losing your page for Facebook promotion violations in 2012.
- Using consideration in a giveaway may be against local, state, and federal laws. When you use any Facebook functionality (Likes, shares, comments, status updates, etc.) as a main entry OR an optional entry to your giveaway (both are against the Facebook TOS), that is called consideration. Sara Hawkins has a good article explaining what consideration is and how to ensure your giveaways adhere to the laws that pertain to you. Here’s an important point from Sara’s article:
When it comes to bloggers, there are few things more valuable than followers. As such, requiring someone to ‘like’ you or ‘follow you’ could be construed as consideration. Even more important, asking an entrant to go to a third-party site, navigate to find a product or services and then report back to your site is even more likely to be deemed consideration and thus placing your giveaway into the classification of illegal lottery. Time is exceedingly valuable!