Facebook Contests: If They're Legal, Why Must iFrame Somebody?
One of the biggest challenges in social media is getting a new profile off the ground. Sure, you can ask your friends to like the Page or tell employees to ask their family to follow your business on Twitter, but this can only take you so far. To attract new fans and followers, you have to give people an incentive to come to your page, and what do most people love above all else? That’s right, free stuff!
A contest is a great way to attract fans and build up your Facebook likes. The hope is that people will come for the free stuff and stay for the great content. As you can see, this strategy assumes that you have worthwhile content, because if you’re content is weak, no amount of free stuff will be able to keep people interested in your business. In social media, content is king, and free stuff is merely the schmoe who goes around trying to find people to join the king’s army. Now, our hardworking schmoe might be a hard worker and a great salesman; but if the king is bunk, our schmoe could be the kind of guy who could sell water to an otter, and he’d be lucky if he could convince a half-blind pensioner and his 12 year old nephew Alphonse to join him. Not much of an army.
So now that you have your content strategy in place, you can run a contest. If people Like your Page, they are entered to win a free whangdoodle. Sounds good, right? WRONG!! This kind of contest is against Facebook guidelines and could get your page suspended if Facebook finds out about it. But you see contests like this all the time, what gives? There are a lot of people on Facebook, and it’s hard for Zuckerberg to keep an eye on all of them, so smaller contests that violate guidelines often go without being detected; but just because you probably won’t get caught, doesn’t mean that you should break the rules. You DO NOT want to get on Zuckerberg’s bad side; he will make you pay. Unfortunately, running a contest that is within Facebook guidelines can be a little tricky. So what is a business to do? Keep reading, of course. Illumination is imminent!
Facebook Contests: A Guide For The (Perhaps Reluctant) Law Abiding Citizen
There are a number of guidelines that Facebook has for running contests, but here is the crux of the biscuit:
- You must run the contest through a Page Tab
- You cannot use Facebook functionality to have users automatically enter the contest (i.e. “Like Our Page and Enter to Win” “Post on our Wall to Enter”)
- You can make Liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app a condition of entry (i.e. “Like our page and send us an e-mail to enter” or “Like our page and fill out the form on our Contest Page Tab to enter”)
- You cannot notify winner through Facebook
- There are a few other guidelines that are worth looking at if you are running a contest, but the above are the most important
Facebook used to have its own little nifty app called “Static FBML” that let you build a page right on the site using their HTML-lite coding language. Well, one day Zuckerberg got up on the wrong side of the bed and removed the app from Facebook.
Now, there are two options for making Page Tabs:
- An iFrame is basically a page on your website that you tell Facebook to display on a Page Tab.
- To use an iFrame, the page that you want to display has to be hosted on your own server.
- Once the iFrame is live on your server, follow these directions and you’re set!
- Drawback: Small businesses and individual locations of chains often do not have/have access to a server.
- Static HTML
- This option is for those people who said, “Server? I hardly know ‘er,” which is how I felt when I first started making Page Tabs. Never Fear!
- Static HTML is a third party app that functions very similarly to how Static FBML used to work
- You simply add the app to your page, copy in your code, and voila! You have a Page Tab!
- But, you say, “Where do I get the code?” Well, if you don’t have a developer, here’s what I recommend: Design an image that lists the contest rules and fits in the Page Tab dimensions (520 pixels wide), and then Google the code for displaying an image. This will be a great learning experience and pretty soon HTML will no longer mean “Holy Toledo, Martin Luther!”
- Drawback: Since Static HTML is a third party app, there are privacy and security issues that you have to think about. With iFrames, the only two parties involved are you and Facebook. Static HTML makes it a ménage à trois.
Designing A Contest
What? You want me to run it for you too? (I definitely would) This one is up to you! Get Creative! Or stay tuned for my next post…