Tuesday, August 26, 2014

If You Use Facebook...

Some changes have taken place at Facebook that you may not be aware of:

Facebook has stopped the practice of businesses requiring customers to first “like” their page in order to receive discounts, prizes, free apps, coupons or other promotional offers.

This technique, called “like-gating,” is defined by Facebook as: “when you force a Facebook user who has not already liked your Page to like your Page before they can see content on a particular custom tab.” The same applies to entering contests, receiving a free eBook, coupons, discounts, etc. 

The "LIKE for a discount" scheme was used very heavily by many businesses, followed up by a free custom app. In my area, a local convenience store/gas station was giving away a free app for your Smartphone if you would first "LIKE" their Facebook page. And this is VERY common. They will now have to pull all of their pump-top ads and replace them to be in compliance with Facebook rules.

Going forward, businesses “…must not incentivize people to use social plug-ins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked your page.”

They go on to state, “It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check in at a place, or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.” For example, you cannot offer a discount when someone likes your business page, but you could offer a discount if someone used your app to enter a contest, or checked in at your studio.

Now, I think I see a "black hat" way around this. If you have a laptop set up in your reception area, you COULD have your receptionist simply say, "We are offering free wallet personalization if you will "Like" our Facebook page." To be extra safe, you may want to change your DNS settings every day. It is not offered on your FB page anywhere, so if increasing "Likes" is a goal of yours, this would be one way to do it. I'm just not sure if the number of "Likes" really influences many customers.

If you go to the link provided below, you will see comments from a lot of developers...and they are NOT positive. Many people have invested time AND money to develop these marketing strategies...and FB shoves a knife in their back without warning. This is why so many photographers who are relying ONLY on Social Media for promotion are playing with fire. Never bet your success on a platform where you have little or no control.

Last summer, Facebook made changes to the contest rules that they said made having such events easier. But the rules are a little confusing. In the FB contest guidelines, it is stated you may not use "Likes" as a method of voting: "You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion,"  but a different FB pages says you CAN use "Likes" as votes! Here is a resource you may want to review to avoid making mistakes that will get your contest shut down.

After November 5, 2014 it will no longer render on any site. That's too bad. I think it had more weight than "Likes" in many situations. So skip this feature, it will be useless after 11/5/2014.

When you reach 5000 likes, your page can no longer receive any "LIKES." Well, at least not unless you pay Facebook some cash. Understand this includes friends as well. So if you have 2000 friends and you "LIKE" 3000 pages, you will not be able to "LIKE" any more pages UNLESS another FB user suggests you "LIKE" a page. Be aware that this policy may result in your pages not being followed as much.

NOW you see why many business are now hiring a "Social Media Coordinator" to ensure they are A-ok with the rules of each of the various Social Media outlets. To make sure you are all good with Facebook, you want to review their new policy, to prevent a Facebook suspension -- or even loss -- of your account.

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