Facebook Contests – Are 3rd Party Applications Still Important?

Facebook announced last week, some major changes on how businesses can run contests and promotions. No longer requiring 3rd party apps to be used, Facebook wants to make it easier for those without the proper knowledge, budget or capabilities to be able to enter the FB promotions rat race.  Businesses are now allowed to run a contest through a simple timeline status update and use the ‘Like’ and ‘Comment’ options to acquire entrants and responses.Facebook Updates Contest Guidelines

Initially, I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work. Being a marketer, one of the biggest reasons to run a Facebook contest is to gather fan and consumer information, establishing a database for long term customer relations. Yes, Facebook contests are important to increase page engagement and potential website visits, but they are also there to create important relationships between you and your target market. The thought of how businesses were losing a way to gather consumer information was bothering me. It seems I spoke too soon.

Leave it to ShortStack.com to come up with an app that actually allows you to import the ‘Comments’ and ‘Likes’ from any post on your page. It’s absolutely brilliant and called the Comment/Like Importer. If I didn’t support the on page contest before I am all in now and am comfortable telling our clients about it.

Obviously third party apps can’t be cut out completely. The amount of time to create a contest has decreased drastically which makes my job much easier, however, with the ease of creating a contest established, there also needs to be an easy way to include the rules.  Rules? Oh yeah… As with all Facebook contests you need to include ALL rules and regulations that go along with your promotion. I could not imagine including all this information in a status update. That would be quite a lengthy post, so linking out to a 3rd party app is perfect to not exhaust hopeful entrants with boring, yet important, information. I would suggest researching online for custom facebook app builders that you can use to create your rules and regulations page. Most lend to any level user and are fairly simple to install on your Facebook page.

With your contest goals and ideas in place, don’t forget about advertising it! Promoting your post to those outside your current Facebook fan base will increase page engagement and if your fans aren’t the most active FB users, advertising is a great way to gain social interaction and brand recognition. Posting the information on your Blog, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest pages is also a huge factor in gaining cross channel engagement and branding. Find more information on how to advertise on Facebook by visiting their Facebook for Business center.

In the end, Facebook has simplified the contest creation process for those not so savvy business owners who know they need to be involved in this type of online marketing, who previously didn’t know where to start. Freeing up valuable time for us Social Media Marketers to put toward other areas of our client social media marketing plan is another great benefit of this recent update. Like I said before, if I didn’t support it at first, the Comment/Like Importer has changed my mind.

What do you think about the recent Facebook changes and continued use of 3rd party applications?