Since we could walk or talk, we’ve been taught that sharing is a good thing. When social media entered the marketing scene, we couldn’t encourage sharing enough. After all, it’s word-of-mouth marketing that propels social media and sharing is a huge part of telling others what you love, endorse, and trust. It seems then that asking someone to “share” something you post on your Facebook fan page would be a good idea, especially when it comes to enticing giveaways and planning contests, right?
Not only is requiring someone to “share” something to their own personal profile against Facebook’s (now very lax) contest rules, it’s fundamentally flawed. To understand the why you don’t want to ever encourage someone to “share” to enter a contest or giveaway, you need to understand how Facebook works.
Facebook was built for people. Each person on Facebook is in control of his or her own personal settings. Some people choose to allow other people and businesses to see quite a bit of information, and other people choose to keep more information private. The ability for a Facebook fan page administrator to see who has shared something from their fan page is controlled by the person/fan.
Let’s say you are going to give away a free gift card and ask that people share your fan page update in order to be entered. Fans flock to the giveaway and start sharing away. Most people aren’t even aware of their personal settings, but share your giveaway info to their personal timeline. By doing so all of your fans consider themselves entered in your giveaway, cross their fingers, and hope they win. Unfortunately, for many of your fans, it is impossible to win. Let’s say at the end of the week, your post shows it was shared 50 times. If you click on those shares, you’ll be surprised to see only 22 people/names of those who shared your contest. The missing people who shared your information are not visible to you, and can’t possibly win.
It’s still a win for your business, right? Your business got some new fans. Your content got shared. Fans got excited and even engaged. One lucky winner was selected. But, ethically, it wasn’t a wise choice.
Please read the rules and responsibilities of being a Facebook fan page administrator. Review contest rules often, as they change. Ask us if you have questions about how to set up and administer a Facebook contest that will give all fans an equal opportunity to win.