7 Reasons I Won’t Run A Facebook Contest On My Wall

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I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Facebook is going to start allowing Pages to run contests on their wall, rather than using a third-party plugin, or API. The only limit, it seems, is that you still may not ask users to tag themselves – or tag them – as a way to enter a contest.

However, you CAN ask them to enter a content on your wall by having them “like” or comment on a post.

As wonderful as is sounds, we (me, myself, and the B2 Crew) will NOT be doing this. Here’s why:

7 Reasons I’m Sticking With My API For Contests On Facebook

Number one

It looks spammy. It’s going to clutter our News Feeds. Eventually users will probably get sick of seeing a bajillion contests in their Feeds and they’re going to start hiding these posts.

Guess what?

That “other” recent announcement by Facebook (the one about the memes and low-quality content) is going to be docking you when users hide your posts. This means less users have a chance of seeing your posts in the future.

EdgeRank is hard enough!

Facebook dislike

Number Two

I know posting a Facebook contest to your wall is free, so for some small business owners, this is a fantastic option that levels the playing field.

For me personally … I know that the free option isn’t always the best option. I prefer to pay a tad bit over “free” and get a really good looking contest going that’s branded and is visually pleasing.

Number Three

Looking back at number two, even if you use this “free” option I bet you Facebook is really hoping that you’ll boost the post to get more engagement. That’s gonna cost you.

I’d rather run targeted ads pointing to a Facebook tab where my pretty, branded contest lives (and is hosted by my API).

Number Four

I’m not sure about you, but we don’t just run a contest for “likes.” We run contests to grow our marketing and email lists.

Sure, you can enter each name into a spreadsheet by hand, or enter them into your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), but that takes a LOT of time!

I’d rather use our API that integrates with our CRM. In non-techie terms that just means the names and emails are collected for us by the system, and added and tagged in our CRM so we know where the lead came from and how to better market to them.

Time saved is money earned!

Number Five

Elaborating on #4, when we set up a contest through our API we can specify tagging in our CRM system. Again, you could go through and tag each person with where they came from, their demographics, and perhaps some psychographics you ascertained from the contest – but that takes TIME.

Using an API that integrates with your CRM will allow you to save more time. Essentially you’re working smarter and not harder.

Number Six

In #2 we talked about the EdgeRank algorithm update that Facebook recently announced. I’m concerned that this announcement doesn’t “play well with others.”

What I mean is: If it’s possible to get dinged for calls to action (CTAs) that ask users to “like”, “comment”, and “share” posts, then it’s going to be awfully hard to use this language when promoting your “free” wall contest on Facebook.

“Pages producing some low quality, meme content can expect to see a slight decrease. Pages that are exclusively posting low quality, meme content might see a bigger drop. The magnitude of the change will be greatest for Pages creating high quality content. Generally, these Pages should see increased distribution.”

That’s also going to nix using that adorable (gag!) cat meme to promote your contests, huh?

stupid cat meme

Number Seven

Finally, using a third-party API and creating a custom tab and content for your contest is much more sharable. It’s easy to take the tab’s unique URL and place it on Twitter or any other platform to cross promote.

Again, I know you can also do these things with a wall post – I’m just saying it seems easier to do it with an API.

Overall, it just looks more professional and more thought out (in my opinion, anyway).

Final Thoughts

I can see how this option can be a blessing for NPOs and small business who want to use Facebook but don’t have the funds or know-how to invest in other tools to help them.

However, knowing what I know and seeing what I’ve seen, I’m prepared for an absolute onslaught of post/wall contests by everyone and their mom (and her cousin) (and the family dog, twice removed).

So, what are YOUR thoughts? I’m ready to hear the other side! Let me know the comments section below.

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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21 Comments. Leave new

  • Well said, Brooke. While many are rejoicing about the BIG CHANGE, few are looking at how wall contests might create negative impact. Contests for real lead generation require a third party app. And there are still rules, even though your wall is now open to contests. You can’t ask anyone to share your contest posts. But there’s nothing wrong with them sharing a link to the app-run contest!

    • Thanks, Mallie! Great minds think alike – I’m going to be sharing your piece on this matter, too. I think people got excited before they thought this whole situation through … I even saw a wall contest yesterday by a seasoned social media professional! I’m all for testing, and I’m sure these type of contests will really boost engagement, but in the long run our goal is not to boost engagement or garner “likes”, it’s to collect leads, emails and such. Different strokes for different folks, I guess!

  • I have learned from the best (aka the SSC), to stop and think about new whiz bang changes to social media platforms. I believe I will still run a promotion through a 3rd party (didnt know if was also called API). Then watch and see what happens on Facebook with this new and exciting news. I am expecting major spam now, even though I do think this will help smaller companies with little to no budget. Where’s my edit button Facebook!!!!!!!!!!
    Laurie recently posted…Come Together-Week FourMy Profile

    • Laurie, I have to agree with you there: Some small companies and NPOs will really be able to benefit from this. And I think they SHOULD! However, it’s still SO much work to collect those names by hand. And how are they going to get emails from every single person? Comment on the post, tag the person, and ask them to message the Page with their email address?? That’s a LOT of work! And time is money. I’d rather spend a few bucks and have the system do all of that for me. But I do realize that some people have no choice – this is for THEM, and in my opinion NOT for those of us who can afford to run a proper contest and just want the spike in engagement. [end rant]
      It certainly will be interesting to see how it all plays out! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment with your thoughts. :-)

  • Great post Brooke and I agree on all 7 points. I will continue to run my contests and my client’s contests through my apps because, honestly, they just look more professional. I have some friends who are excited about this for their business and that is good and well – they are small with little to no budget – but I am afraid my newsfeed will be full on contests. I’m writing on this later in the afternoon and will link your article :)

    • Thanks, Mandy! And I agree: It just looks much more professional to use a tab/app/third-party API. Also, as far as cost, tools like EasyPromo, WooBox and ShortStack offer minimal fees to set up a nice looking (and branded!) contests. Plus they do all the heavy lifting.
      I can’t wait to read and share your post! I think it’s important to spread this message so that people think long and hard before they decide to use this tactic.

  • Avatar
    Veronica Solorzano Athanasiou
    August 28, 2013 12:30 PM

    You’ve put the 2 latest Facebook announcements side by side beautifully Brooke. I was so disappointed yesterday when I read the news as I had done mi first (!!) Tab for a client. Then I started looking into the details: what leads do you get out of a contest without an API? The disclaimer is still needed, you can’t ask fans to ‘share’ on their timelines, so it’s a lift on the restrictions (with the hint that they are working on allowing the ‘sharing’ feature somehow) with now even more hidden requirements like the disclaimer. They were clear in that they are expecting pages to boost posts but they linked on their blog to the changes and their recommendations without linking to the guidelines where other conditions apply. My feeling is that people who will continue setting up ‘like and share this post to enter our draw’ and many more will follow. They will still e ‘illegal’ and they will be punished. Now, who is going to make the masses SEE that? We’ll see….
    Thanks for such a thoughtful article,

    • I’ll admit that at first glance, I too was worried about all of the tabs we’ve created for clients (and our own brand). But just like you, I saw through the fluff and glitter pretty quickly and realized that a non-API solution was not the BEST solution (not even close). I think there’s going to be some serious trouble with the CTA verbiage clashing with the algorithm update as well. I’m just steering clear of all of that mess and doing things the easy, albiet more expensive, way!

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and your thoughts, Veronica! It’s always appreciated. :-)

  • Great article, Brooke. I also know many small business owners that are excited about the Facebook promotion changes, but as you have pointed out, there are a number of things to consider. Thank you for digging into this and shedding the light.
    Robin Strohmaier recently posted…What Is The Best Way To Manage Blog Comments?My Profile

    • I can completely understand that POV, Robin. I think if you have zero dollars it’s a nice way to garner some engagement and “likes” for your Page. I’m not sure it will be all that easy to gather emails and other important data for lead generation through the wall contest method, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do when you don’t have a budget!
      Thank you for your thoughts, as always. :)

  • Thanks for the thoughts, Brooke. You hit some of the concepts I was immediately thinking about. Of course, my instant reaction when I heard the news was something to the akin of, “Great, another way to get spammed in the feed.”

    I agree tabs/apps are better for bringing a professional touch, without feeling spammy. Plus, when you consider the API angle (auto-gather-to-CRM), it completely makes sense.

    I could see posts like these being useful, maybe, for smaller groups or businesses looking to boost feedback or engagement. But overall, not sure it’s gonna be the best way to run a contest.

    But, it never ceases to amaze me how many folks on Facebook take part in these spammy ideas they come up with. I suspect my feed will start looking different soon, and I’m not talking about the redesign I signed up for and haven’t gotten yet.

    Fingers crossed, hoping for the best.
    Nathan Weaver recently posted…No shortcuts in Death InvestigationsMy Profile

    • Nathan, reading your response was like drinking a tall glass of water after being in the desert (aka: I loved and needed it!).

      I’ve already seen a couple of Pages doing it; one gave away two gift cards ($10 each) for people doing one of those caption contests (FB patrons, meet SPAM). Where’s the ROI in that?? I guess they’ll get people in the door and then hope that they spend more, but I just feel that’s small thinking with all of the things you can do with marketing (even on Facebook) this day and age. Plus, what if users get spiteful and “hide” the post just because they didn’t win. You just never know what people are capable of, and I’m way more fearful/interested in the low-quality content update to the EdgeRank algorithm.

      I don’t have the new design either. *LeSigh. I’ll cross my fingers with you …

      Thanks so much for stopping in and washing over us with your wisdom!

      • Yeah, the update about trying to cut back on spam that there doing seems really weird. On the one hand, their supposed intentions seem nice, but on the other I fear it’s going to result in more of what they’ve been doing lately… catering to big companies. I fear it will only result in small business pages being considered poor quality and pushed to the bottom of the stack and posts by Coca-Cola or whatever being pushed to the front page. Again, fingers crossed.
        Nathan Weaver recently posted…No shortcuts in Death InvestigationsMy Profile

  • […] “7 Reasons I Won’t Run a Facebook Contest on My Wall” by B Squared Media […]

  • Well put, Brooke. I won’t be running or encouraging those, either. Just finished a bit of a ranting post about it myself – Facebook seems to be sending mixed signals here – “Don’t ask for likes – it’s gaming the system” but “Go ahead and ask for likes to run a contest.” Huh?
    Alisa Meredith recently posted…Facebook Contest Rules Changed – Why You Should CareMy Profile

  • I’m a bit slow to the party here, but this is a great article, Brooke. For me, I can’t even get past #1….spamminess shuts me down right away!

  • 7 Reasons I Won’t Run A Facebook Contest On My Wall
    September 4, 2013 8:05 AM

    […] post 7 Reasons I Won’t Run A Facebook Contest On My Wall appeared first on B Squared Media // B² […]


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