Yesterday (28 August 2013), Facebook announced that it has made it easier for businesses to administer promotions on Facebook. Ultimately, businesses no longer need to use applications (hosted externally) to administer & run promotions on their company page.
What does this mean for businesses? Well, engagement with the promotion, if done so via the company page rather than an external application, will now assist in a measure we refer to as ‘virality’. Interaction direct with a company page is crucial, as it creates stories shared to the user’s network and allows for organic growth of the page’s audience. It also makes competitions, promotions, giveaways and the like far more accessible as applications are not compatible on mobile (well, we found a way around this… but we can chat about that another time).
Of course, there’s always a down side. We feel that, whilst it may make engagement with a competition more accessible & successful, it may also make administering the competition harder. When using an application, you can group all entries, use a customised dashboard and so on. If you begin to allow entries via wall posts & comments, we fear it may start to clutter the timeline, create an overload of content and make it harder for the business to administer the campaign.
That is, theoretically, the major advantage & disadvantage that you’ll notice since the policy update (in our view). However, the theory is not always aligned with the reality. The unfortunate reality is that most small businesses were using their timeline directly to run competitions even before the policy change. We feel that by Facebook loosening their terms, they are being reactive rather than proactive. They initially introduced the restriction to stop a user’s news feed from being cluttered with brand-specific content, win-win-wins and so forth. But now, it is all too common and it grew too quickly for Facebook to control. Ultimately, it was easier to remove the restriction than to attempt enforcing it any longer.
So, what will change? Perhaps we’ll see the big brands who, of course, strictly adhered to Facebook’s old policy, introducing new promotions run through the company’s timeline. But, aside from that, we don’t think you’ll notice the difference.