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
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.
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!
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.
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).
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!
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.
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?
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).
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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