By B.L. Ochman
This morning, I got an email from Dog.com 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 Dog.com 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 Dog.com 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
Regarding point number 2 – if the employee in charge of setting up contests is compensated according to the number of people who enter a contest, then the employee has no incentive to attract long-term fans. You get what you pay for.
You bring up a cogent point: compensation by social media numbers instead of engagement is just as ham-handed as the idea of a Like-Gate contest.
Is it legal for sweepstakes to require you to enter via Facebook when entrance is supposed to be open to all?
I found this post whilst researching whether it was violating any rules or laws to force people to like a page before they can enter a competition. I think the way FB is segregating a whole section of the internet off is really bad but I read the rules section that you quoted and my understanding is that FB are actually fine with someone forcing a page like, it’s other kinds of “like” that you can’t use when setting up a competition:
“You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page” – it’s the “other than liking a Page” bit which basically says it’s ok to force people to like a page to enter as far as I can see. Whether that’s actually *legal* is another thing but FB will soon be in control of the Matrix, errr, the internet so we won’t be able to do anything about it, whether we *like* it or not. Ahem…