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Facebook Competitions Sri Lankan Experience

How to make a Facebook competition work for you?

Facebook Competitions Sri Lankan Experience

A Facebook contest can be a great way to generate leads, boost engagements and gain more likes to a business page, may it be a sweepstake, photo competition, quiz or caption competitions.

Changes to Facebook’s promotional guide has eliminated the need for fan and business pages to hold competitions solely through a third party app, allowing many small businesses conduct competitions directly on their timelines.

A Facebook timeline based competition can give you faster user engagement and can be launched within a shorter time period, free of charge. It is also a more visible way to engage users and increase the number of posts on your timeline through user generated content.
Despite its number of attractions a timeline based competition also has a number of restrictions including the lack of a structured methods to collets user information, filter out contest frauds and deter prize hunters.

Sri Lankan Experience

A recent Facebook selfie competition conducted for a leading jewellery brand is a good example to display the fact that a FB timeline based competition can be a double edged sword, in situations that lack more than 100% protection through rules, regulations and precautions.
In the competition users were requested to post a selfie with a given theme to the client’s timeline and five selfies with the highest number of likes were to be chosen as winners. The first and second place winners were offered a prize of Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 30,000 respectively while three concession prizes were handed out to the third, fourth and fifth places.
While the competition generated lot of buzz in and around the particular brand on Facebook and managed to increase the number of page likes by nearly 4000 and registered nearly 500,000 impression within just 25 days; it also spawned many short and long term challenges to competition administrators and brand owners.

Prize hunters & contest frauds

The immediate challenge faced by the competition administrators was detecting and rooting out the increasing number of prize hunters and contest frauds who were using various fraudulent methods including fake Facebook accounts, multiple accounts, fake likes and likes sharing to earn the highest number of likes for individual entries.
While the use of a third party application to conduct the competition could have greatly reduced this issue easily, the administrators of the FB timeline competition had to screen each entry individually to identify scammers.
Tell-tale signs like,

  • FB accounts that lacks personal pictures, individual information and timelines that only display competition posts.
  • Relatively new FB accounts with a very little number of activity and friends.
  • A simple Facebook search bringing out many competition submissions
  • Unrealistic number of FB friends and followers for a non-celebrity individual

And account names that look and sound unrealistic can be used to weed out prize hunters and contest frauds.
Yet banning them from the competition itself can create an online public relations crisis for a brand, including continuous spam comments for other branded posts, negative reviews and a large number of protest messages.
In comparison ‘fake likes’ posed a larger challenge in day to day administration of the competition. Identifying and isolating fake likes among thousands of likes casted for each selfie through manual means was not a practical practice and not excluding fake likes too caused discontent among authentic competitors.

simple results

The Prize Hunters

One week into the competition the contest administration discovered that there is a close knit group of prize hunters who share information about pending competitions, likes and shares within the group to secure winning positions for each other.
Their activities discouraged the loyal customer base of the competition sponsor and the target demography of the competition. Moreover the prize hunters collaborated with each other in increasing their winning chances by intimidating true competitors.
While fake accounts can be deterred and weeded out through the use of a third party app, the collaborative actions of prize hunters could not be checked through direct technical methods but requires pre planning and a set of practices to discourage prize hunters,

  • A rule of thumb would be not to offer over attractive prizes. A Rs. 80,000 worth of gift vouchers can lure many fake interest as well as organic users, creating a difficult ground to attract and retain true potential customers.
  • Always use a jury to choose winners. Opting to give prizes to the selfies with the highest number of likes leaves a loop hole for prize hunters to manipulate the competition. While the need for highest number of likes animates your campaign and boost your page engagements it should not be the only method of choosing winners. For image based competitions it is best to appoint a panel of jurists who would be able to choose the best submission, that’s serves the brand’s purpose out of a number of selfies that have received the highest number of likes.
Precious Data

One of the most important objectives of conducting an online competition is to collect valuable insights and data about users. Fan data can be used to run an email campaign and determine the demography of clientele and potential leads.
While third party apps has been designed to collect data and insights of users a FB timeline based competition restricts level of data that can be collected from each participant under Facebook page terms.
As Facebook Page Terms prohibits direct engagement of winners and collection of personal details through the means of timeline, chat or private messages, the competition administrations found it hard to develop a legitimate database of users through the competition.
Gathering email addresses for future marketing efforts is an important part of any Facebook campaign. However a timeline based campaign cannot collect email addresses from each and every entrant and makes providing an email address a choice of a participant.

Page Likes

One of the main objectives of a Facebook competition is to collect a maximum number of likes for a branded page. However a Facebook competition conducted on the timeline has the handicap of not being able to require that all the entrants have liked the FB page. While requesting that every participant likes your page is a possibility, making sure that they all do, can be a hard task without a Like-Gate.

Fond Memories

Want to provide a memorable experience to your fans and leave an everlasting user experience? A timeline competition may not the best method to do so. While a third party applications have been designed to provide an optimum user experience, timeline competitions provide comparatively less stimulation in posting, liking or sharing images.

simple results

Moreover there are more than one way a timeline based competition can go wrong and become a PR disaster for the company, even with the strictest rules and regulations in place. Unsatisfied competitors, fraudulent participants, prize hunters and fake likes can snow ball into an online PR disaster with every party demanding action and correction immediately, and all this is happening on your timeline.

Virtues of timeline competitions

Facebook timeline competitions are ideal for the instant distribution of small prizes among a medium group of fans, ideally between 500-5000 and,

  • If you want to launch a competition right away without the delay of a hour
  • If there is an urgent need of fast engagement
  • If there is a zero budget
  • Runs exclusively on timeline
  • Ideal to increase reach and engagement
  • More potential to increase timeline content

As appealing as the virtues of a timeline based competition may sound, it also has more than its fair share of evils including,

  • Inability to collect participant’s data including email and personal details
  • No like-Gate to guarantee that participants like your page
  • Difficult to re-share the user content multiple times
  • Difficult to contact competition participants directly
Simple Solutions

Offering a large prize can always be a recipe for disaster in any kind of competition. Valuable gifts tend to rouse wanted and unwanted user attention, which can lead to PR crisis for any brand.
The use of a third party application to conduct the selfie competition could easily reduce the issues of fraudulent entries, prize hunters and fake likes. A third party app provides conclusive IP address based voter screening and voting limitation options which detects fake users based on their IP address and allows competition operators set a secret voting limit for each image, discouraging like sharing among prize hunters,
It also helps to draw a fool proof strategy before launching the competition, with methods to include prize hunters in online expansion of the brand and to ways to nip negative comments and user engagements in the bud.