Adapting to Facebook’s Changing Rules

SchwaidBy Steve Schwaid, CJ&N Vice President of Digital Services

These days TV station managers understand how valuable and important Facebook is to reach users and viewers. But many find it a challenge to keep up with Facebook’s constantly changing rules and guidelines.

Well, fair warning, Facebook is making another change that will impact your news, sales and promotion departments.

Facebook wants to handcuff marketers and brand managers to keep them from creating special incentives to get people to like a page. The process has been called “Like Gating.”  For years, we have all been working to get users to like our pages, so your first reaction may be that this could put an end to that practice and force a complete strategy change. But as you dig down, it’s not as bad as you might think.

Facebook issued this statement about an upcoming change in November:

“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check-in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”

What does this really mean? With 1.3 billion users, is Facebook saying they have enough “likes”? No.

Will the new guidelines have impact? Yes, to some degree. But it should not stop you from running promotional or sales-driven contests.

We’ve reached out to a few third party providers who help many of you with your contests (Aptivada, Social News Desk and Second Street) and the main thing to know is that although you can no longer require participants to “Like” your page, you can still include a “Like” button on your entry forms.  This will still net a large group of new followers.

As you read the Facebook position, “It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check-in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.”

But here is the key question for those of you doing Facebook contests: What is your Facebook strategy and your end goal of getting likes? 

Just saying the goal is to get more likes is an empty calorie strategy.  Your Facebook goals should be clear and actionable by your entire team from news to sales to promotion.

Possible answers in addition to increasing likes:

– Get more people to watch your TV product

– Get more people on your web platform

– Have more people get your content on their Facebook newsfeed.

Ideally, your goal should be all of the above, but right now you should be using Facebook to drive TV and digital consumption. If your goal is just getting likes, then you may want to review and redirect your strategy.

There are different strategies and tactics we can review with you. We highly recommend that you use Facebook to drive and incentivize TV viewing where you can get a direct ROI on your efforts. If you would like to review a Facebook strategy, please let us know.


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