Facebook contests are a great way to give your fans a reason to visit your Fan Page. But ever since Facebook published its new Promotions Guidelines last fall, clients have been asking how they can run a contest and still operate within Facebook accepted practices.
A Note from your Mommy
According to the new guidelines, companies must obtain explicit written permission from their Facebook Sales Representative if they want to run a contest.
And, in order to have a Facebook Sales Rep, you have to spend $10,000 per month on Facebook advertising.
At first blush it would seem that the little guy is out of luck.
There is a way around this, however. And it is totally legal. (in the U.S. and in Facebook land)
Use a Third Party Application
When you run your contest on a third party application, you don’t need prior written approval from Facebook.
The Facebook Sales and Legal team has approved campaigns where the entry form process occurs outside the confines of Facebook, on a microsite that is integrated with Facebook Connect.
This is what third party applications in effect do – they send the registrant to a microsite that is not technically on the Facebook platform.
You can have your participants enter your promotion through your Facebook Page, post news items to their Facebook walls, and invite their Facebook friends to participate in the contest.
When you run a promotion through a third party application, you don’t need written approval. Because the contest is taking place on a microsite that the third party app hosts.
There are a few third party applications doing this, but my favorite is Wildfire.
Why I like Wildfire
- It has reasonable pricing, especially for small businesses or non-profits. You can run a promotion through Wildfire for less than $35 per month.
- Wildfire has a strong relationship with Facebook, so it is in their best interest to play by Facebook’s rules.
- It has secured both angel and Series A funding. It has been profitable since it started and appears to be on solid ground, not a fly-by-night operation.
- Wildfire is responsive. (I wish I could say the same about Facebook) If you post a message on their forum or send a question via email, a Wildfire rep will answer you quickly, honestly and without BS.