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On Facebook Marketing: Avoid the Prize Pigs

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On Facebook Marketing: Avoid the Prize Pigs  

Increase your number of real fans with a carefully run contest.

BY SHANE O’NEILL

Published in the January 2013 issue

Facebook seems like a simple path: More fans equal more reach, and more reach equals more sales. So, how do we get more fans? The strategy du jour is contests and promotions. But what many don’t understand is they can be fraught with peril if not done correctly. Let’s take a closer look.

First, understand any contest you run needs to be done through a contest/promotion app like Wildfire (wildfireapp.com). These apps provide all the features you need to run a successful contest.

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You must use these types of apps because you are not allowed to use Facebook specific features, such as page posts, photo galleries, like or share buttons to run contests, even though people do. This means no asking fans to post photos and the one with the most “likes” wins.

The trouble is, apps like Wildfire commonly publish your contest in what’s called a “Marketplace,” which is a listing of all promotions using the Wildfire app. This means people anywhere can find your contest. (Most jewelers won’t want entries outside their local area.) This draws what I call “prize pigs” — people who enter a contest only for the prize. Some are professional “contesters” who enter hundreds of contests a year. Prize pigs almost always win. And if you don’t set up and run your contest correctly, they will overtake and consume your Facebook page.

HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO AVOID POSSIBLE PITFALLS:

Set Rules. Clearly defined rules can address who can enter, requirements for entry, timelines and, most important, limitations of liability in case of fraud, technical failures, etc.

Beware Voting. Voting contests are the biggest generator of fraud. Here’s why. When you run a contest where an entrant posts a photo or video and use the public’s votes to determine the winner, prize pigs will turn out in droves. It’s not uncommon for these kinds of entrants to have multiple fake Facebook accounts. There are even vote exchanges where entrants can trade votes with others.

The best way to avoid most of this is to set up a judging component to select finalists who will move to the voting stage. This usually turns the prize pigs away because they rarely put much effort into an entry and would rather not waste time entering a contest with a judging round. Not to say the finalists won’t do the same thing, but it filters out 80 percent of cheats. Bottom line is this: Voting contests take effort to manage. Contests can be an excellent way to build a fan base. Just be aware of all the moving parts that must be considered.

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Shane O’Neill is director of digital marketing at Fruchtman Marketing. Email him at [email protected]. Sign up for a free weekly newsletter at fruchtman.com.

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