Saturday, December 18, 2010

Facebook Promotional Guidelines Updated - Easier for Marketers and Lawyers

Facebook updates it's promotional guidelines to run sweepstakes and contest promotions

Facebookpromoguidelines Facebook has been dominating the news these past few weeks, first making 60 Minutes and then having their CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, being named TIME's 2010 Person of the Year. Right after Thanksgiving Facebook made an announcement that they had updated their Promotional Guidelines, originally launched last November, eliminating the requirement that you need to obtain prior approval from Facebook to run a promotion on Facebook. This was big news to us marketers, especially those that have been running promotions on Facebook. The issue of privacy, opt-in, opt-out, the rules passing by legal and ensuring all items are correct takes a long time. The promotion can long pass by the time these are all cleared as any good marketer knows.
Facebook's promotional guidelines originally stated that if you want to run a sweepstakes and/or contest promotion on Facebook then you need to abide by their guidelines. These guidelines stated that you must administer it through a third party application and obtain Facebook's prior written consent. However, if you were just publicizing a sweepstakes or contest promotion on Facebook that is administered elsewhere, such as a website or blog, this was fine and you didn't need their permission.
Now what was never stated in the original guidelines was that in order to obtain approval you needed a Facebook representative and the only way to get a Facebook rep was to advertise on Facebook. The rumor was that you needed at least a $30,000 spend to get a rep and approval. By Facebook eliminating the requirement for obtaining their permission what it really meant was you don't have to have an ad program anymore to run a promotion within the Facebook platform. Wildfire-logo I never had a Facebook rep, but I've known people running promotions all year on Facebook and have been utilizing the Wildfire Application. Wildfire was fairly new when Facebook first issued it's promotional guidelines and Wildfire quickly created a work-around so that you didn't have to get prior approval from Facebook if you utilized their application. What Wildfire did was that when someone clicked on "Enter Here" it took them to a microsite to fill out the data and they collected it there, then it brought them back to Facebook. Most people wouldn't even notice unless they looked at the URL address in the browser and saw it change.
Now that Facebook has updated their policy and no longer requires the pre-approval, Wildfire has gone back to how they originally created the app and so when someones enters, the whole process is done within Facebook. Wildfire is a third party application which Facebook says you must use, but as with most apps on Facebook, you stay in Facebook when you connect to them.
The reason the Wildfire application is referenced here is because it is so easy to use. It's the only one I know of that offers a do-it-yourself application builder for Facebook. I've been looking for other sources and have not found one that works like this. Now that Facebook has lifted the prior approval requirement I predict we'll see more very soon.
Concept2t_520x100 I read of a marketer who launched a sweepstakes for MSC Cruises: A Cruise a Day Giveaway that will run for 20 days up till December 22. They are giving away 20 Caribbean cruises, one per day, to a lucky winner. The prize is being awarded in the form of a cruise certificate in the amount of $250 valid for the MSC Poesia United States/Bahamas Caribbean cruise departing from Port Everglades, Florida, on January 2, 2011. The MSC Poesia stops in Nassau, Bahamas and returns to Port Everglades on January 4. The prize package includes an interior cabin for two guests sharing the same stateroom.
This is a great example of what can be done quickly and inexpensively utilizing the Wildfire Application. The campaign was put together in 3 days and the cost to use Wildfire was only $85. That's why I think it's such a great tool for bloggers. You don't need to be too technically savvy and it's inexpensive.
So check it out on the MSC Cruises Facebook page and enter so you can see how smoothly the application works. Who knows, you might win. Once someone enters the sweepstakes they have the option to post it on their wall and also can their friends to enter. It's a great way to get others to spread the word. MSC Cruises is sharing who the winner is each day from the day before on their wall.

 Run your own promotion and see how you can capture more customers and make your marketing and legal life easier.

If anyone knows of other apps out there - please comment.

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