Putting the squeeze on Facebook promotions
Shanon here in the Bluewire Media office is a smart dresser.
On the weekend, he bought a pair of jeans from a popular chain store. The sales assistant handed Shanon his jeans, and then encouraged him to “Like” them on Facebook. Just a click on their page, a symbol of support for their business, and Shanon would go into the draw for a $500 gift voucher.
This is not unusual. Several friends of mine use Facebook to promote their businesses. They run competitions on their walls and host giveaways for Facebook friends who give them the thumbs up. I’ve become a fan of numerous businesses, organisations and causes.
Shanon is a savvy shopper and a smart dresser. But Shanon is also a savvy internet guy. It turns out that however frequently we see promotions like the one he was encouraged to participate in, they are not allowed within Facebook’s promotions guidelines.
Getting it right
Promoters are not allowed to use a page’s “Likes” as a promotion’s voting mechanism. The number of Likes for a page cannot determine a winner. Nor can a contest require users to tag themselves in an uploaded photo. A prize cannot be given to someone simply for mentioning a company’s name in a status update. Facebook continues to require competitions to be administered with a Facebook app. And you can’t even—this happens a lot—announce a winner on a profile page.
Good news for people who like cheese
Although these rules look like they’re here to stay, on 11th May, Facebook revealed a “relaxation” of other, key advertising guidelines. Industries that took note were those previously excluded from Facebook (including “alcohol, dairy, gambling and gasoline”.) Alcohol can now be offered as a prize. Or cheese. Or a jerrycan, full to the brim.
The guidelines shift more of the responsibility for running a lawful promotion onto the marketers themselves. Companies must uncover for themselves whether it’s legal to promote alcohol in Sweden, or India, or Australia. Or to give Shanon that matching double denim jacket he wants.
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