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By B.L. Ochman

This morning, I got an email from inviting me to enter a contest in which I could win $1,000 to spend on their site.

When you click on “Enter Here” you learn that Step 1 is that you have to “Like” the Facebook page (which 16.000+ people already have done).

Step 2 is to share the fact that you’ve entered the contest with all of your Facebook friends (instantly providing with all of your and your friends’ data and contact information.) Only then you get a chance to enter the contest.

Forcing Facebook Likes is a ham-handed way to run a contest, and here are the top three reasons why:

1- Forcing someone to “Like” your page to enter a contest is actually against Facebook’s rules. Facebook’s Pages Terms for Promotions prohibit use of Likes for contest entries.

iii. 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.
iv. 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.
v. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
vi. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.

2- Forcing Facebook “Likes” adds numbers, not fans. If you make us “Like” your page for a coupon, contest or other special offer, you are not likely to see us again after we get what we wanted. Hint: it wasn’t engaging with your brand on a regular basis. As Rohit Bhargava pointed out in Likeonomics, “90% of Facebook users don’t return to a fan page once they click the ‘Like’ button and only about 16% of a page’s updates are seen by the page’s fans.”

3- Forcing Likes can backfire and give your brand less visibility. Increasingly, Facebook relies on how, and how often, people interact with your brand to determine how much of your content they see. If someone Likes your page just to get a special offer, and doesn’t return often or share your information because it is likely to be interesting or valuable to their friends, less of your content will be shown to them over time.

How do you make lasting fans on Facebook? To paraphrase the late, great Zig Ziglar, you can get everything you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.

Bonus Link: The scary details of what Facebook knows about you