Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Sink or Swim with Your Next Facebook Promotion

Posted by Leah Ludwig

As more businesses and organizations begin to utilize Facebook and its offerings for contests and sweepstakes, more promotion-focused issues seem to be coming to light. Furia Rubel’s Gina Rubel recently shared an interesting post with me from the Socially Aware Blog on the topic of using Facebook for promotional purposes, “Warning Signs: Promotions Using Facebook’s ‘Like’ Feature.”

Here’s the CliffsNotes version of this post: when considering conducting a promotional offering via Facebook for your company or organization it is important to do your homework, make sure your program is legally compliant and follows Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

How to Sink

More specifically, and according to the post, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD), an industry forum for resolving disputes among advertisers, addressed an advertiser’s use of the “like” feature on Facebook in connection with an online promotion. The example given discussed Coastal Contacts, Inc. and its giveaway of a free pair of glasses to each person who “liked” its Facebook page. Coastal Contacts’ competitor, 1-800 Contacts, Inc., challenged the promotion, alleging that the company failed to adequately disclose the offer’s material terms and that the “likes” that Coastal Contacts received were not legitimate – and the company’s use and promotion of such “likes” on the Facebook platform and in press releases were therefore fraudulent. 1-800 Contacts urged NAD to recommend that Coastal Contacts remove and stop promoting the “likes” that it received via the allegedly misleading promotion in order to remedy its “unfair social gain.” In the end, NAD agreed with 1-800 Contacts that Coastal Contacts had failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose the terms of its free offer; however, NAD did not agree that such failure rendered the resulting “likes” invalid. Therefore, NAD declined to recommend that Coastal Contacts remove or stop promoting those “likes.”

The moral of the story is to make sure that your promotional program is legally compliant and, as a company offering these programs, be familiar with Facebook Promotion Guidelines – as the guidelines really set limits on a promotion sponsor’s use of Facebook’s “like” feature.

How to Swim

Want to know how to swim with your next Facebook promotion program? Here are some key take-aways from successful Facebook promotional programs and the businesses behind them:

1. Contiki Vacations’ “Get on the Bus” Promotion – Provide impressive incentives, make it interactive and fun, utilize votes and not “likes,” and create an experience.
2. Maybelline’s “Show Us Your Red Lips” – Make it easy to enter, sometimes the incentive isn’t about the prize, but about showing off in front of peers.
3. Coca-Cola’s “The Recycling King” – Utilize location-based Facebook promotions and Facebook Places.
4.’s “The Funniest Classified Ad on Blocket” – Know your audience, the use of humor – when appropriate – can be very enticing and appealing.

So, here’s to your next Facebook promotional offering. I hope it’s a great success.

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