Why your Facebook contest is annoying


Do you use Facebook’s Like for contests? Is that usually the only way to enter your contests or give aways?That could be annoying some of your fans/customers. And this is why:

Not everyone uses FB. Yes, you may be shocked to hear this. And some of those people could be your fans. But, if they continually feel excluded from entering in any of your give aways, they might not like you so much anymore. Remember, for small businesses, fans are vital, they are your biggest supporters – they’re the ones who will promote you in ways big and small without expecting anything in return.

But if they feel like you don’t love them back (because yes, you have to love your fans/customers back!), they will stop loving you. They may be so annoyed with you that they stop reading your blog or buying your goods or whatever it is that they used to do.

The fact that this sort of competition is annoying is just one reason why you (probably) shouldn’t be doing this. Here’s another one:

If your give aways or contests are usually in the form of “like this to enter”, well, you are also breaking Facebook’s rules. Here’s a small snippet:

3. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
4. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
5. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

FB probably has better things to do than monitor every single like-y give away, but maybe they’re not, you just don’t know. The advantages of this sort of competition are probably greater than the risk of getting caught. But if you were caught,  you could lose your FB page, you could even lose your personal FB profile.

To be honest, the more I think about it, the more icky I find the Like button when used for give aways. If I were on Facebook (I’m not), I might want to enter a contest, but I wouldn’t necessarily want my FB friends to know about it. And I’m not sure they’d want to know about it. Of course that’s the thinking behind the ‘Like’ contests: “if our fans/friends like this their friends will know and maybe they will check us out and we’ll get more eyeballs on Our Thing”. Asking people to unwittingly spam their friends. Nice. Ew.

It is, of course, up to you to decide what you want to do, how you want to interact with your fans or readers or customers. But maybe from time to time consider using other ways to promote Your Thing..? Ways that don’t exclude anyone.

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1 Comment

  1. September 23, 2011 / 1:23 am

    This is a very interesting point. I have felt this way a bit, but the reason is I enjoy reading people's blogs in my Google Reader. After I like them on facebook then they show up in my newsfeed there as well. It's a bit annoying to get everything twice. To be honest I usually end up 'unliking' them after the contest… if I even bothered to 'like' them in the first place. I guess I just like my Reader!

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