Goshen News, Goshen, IN

October 7, 2013

TECH TALK: Facebook change creates new marketing options

By MIKE GINGERICH
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— With over 1.15 billion users, Facebook is the world’s largest community center.

It offers businesses a valuable opportunity to connect with and be seen by their ideal potential customers. As compared to “push” marketing where the goal is to get in front of a viewer and “push” them to your website or draw them to your store, Facebook offers ability for “intersection marketing” where a brand can connect and “intersect” with their ideal audience where the audience is spending time — the Facebook news feed.

Facebook users are spending an average of 20 minutes per Facebook visit. Within that time, the news feed is the majority location where users spend time. This time is spent scanning posts from their friends, family and companies they have “Liked.”

This means your company has an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is to connect with users where they are spending significant time. The challenge is that you are competing with their friends and family.

CONTESTS IN THE news feed are one way companies can catch the eye of Facebook users and intersect with them. Facebook made a change to their promotion policy that expanded the opportunities for companies to easily run Facebook contests and promotions via a post to their Facebook Page that is then potentially seen by fans in their news feed. This creates new opportunities that businesses should be aware of and may want to consider.

Previously contest and promotion posts on a Facebook page timeline were not allowed. Now, pages can run contests on both the news feed and also on tabs using apps. Using tabs was the only method allowed prior to the change. With the change in Facebook promotion policy, new opportunities for pages on Facebook are available, enabling companies to engage, interact with, and reach their ideal audience.

Companies with Facebook pages now simply need to create a post on their page and push it out to run a contest. The basic entry options now allowed by Facebook for a timeline contest include entering to win a promotion by, “liking the post,” “leaving a comment on the post,” “posting a photo comment on the post,” or some combination of the above such as “Liking” for one entry and “commenting for an additional entry.”

This means that for no cost, a Facebook Page can create a post and have fans and visitors engage with that post with as simple of a requirement as “Liking” the post to be entered.

TO COMPLY WITH Facebook rules, the post must include a Facebook release, the terms of the promotion, and a disclaimer. So with these new options for contests in the news feed, are tab contests still relevant and useful? The answer: Both types have value. Timeline contests offer a simple and quick way to boost engagement on the Facebook page and potentially foot traffic to your business. Tab contests offer greater design control and also better lead capture. So, your choice will depend upon your end goals.

For a thorough overview of this new Facebook promotion type and best practices for implementing, view my eBook on the topic at www.bit.ly/TimelineContestEbook.

Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.