Posted on September 24, 2013

The Importance of Using 3rd Party Applications for Facebook Promotions

Facebook recently announced updated guidelines for promotions on the social network, and the most noticeable change is that third party applications are no longer required to administer promotions. However, it is very important to determine your objectives when choosing to run a Facebook contest on your business page. If you’re planning to quickly build an awareness about a new product or discount, or simply engage your existing followers, then performing a contest strictly on your page’s Timeline without the use of a 3rd party application might be the way you choose to go.

But if you’re looking to build a larger audience, capture e-mail addresses and other valuable data, as well as increase your follower base and easily monitor your contest, a 3rd party application will be the most efficient and beneficial tool for running a promotion of your Facebook page.

Here are some important things to consider if you choose to run a contest without the use of a 3rd party application:

1. Your practice will not be able to grow its e-mail list if it does not use a 3rd party application to run a promotion. 3rd party applications are able to capture users’ e-mail addresses as well as their phone numbers and mailing addresses.

2. Without the use of a 3rd party application, you will not be able to like-gate your promotion. A Facebook like-gate, also referred to as a fan-gate, ensures that all participants need to LIKE your Facebook page before participating in the contest. Without this feature anyone can participate in the contest without being a fan of your page, which means no new followers for your page and ultimately no new followers or potential new patients for your practice.

3. Without the use of 3rd party applications there is no viral feature associated with your contest, meaning that entrants cannot post to their own Facebook wall that they’re joined in and/or entered the promotion. If entrants cannot share your contest on their Facebook wall, the contest will not be able to reach that entrant’s Facebook friends — meaning less exposure for your promotion and practice.

4. Every promotion that appears on Facebook needs to state that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. The easiest way to do post this very necessary statement is in the rules section of a 3rd party application. If you are simply posting this information as a status update on your Facebook page it may get lost in the shuffle of your regular, day-to-day content posting.

5. Using a 3rd party application also allows you to custom design and tailor a contest to your ideas and creativity. You can customize your graphics as well as what items are mandatory for users to enter when participating in the contest. If you run a contest primarily on your Facebook page’s Timeline, you could lost the ability to share important content and messages with users as those posts could easily get lost in the influx of entries as well as regular content that is posted to your page.

6. Without the utilization of a 3rd party application, voting within your promotion can become skewed. If you’re running a promotion primarily on your Timeline and you’ve encouraged users to upload a photo onto your Facebook page’s Timeline, but in order to keep those photos in a specific place all together you create a photo album designated to those entries, do the votes on the initial upload by users count or just the votes that are received on the photo in the album you’ve created? This is where things get tricky and you could find yourself running into some serious logistic problems. These issues could create problems gauging votes and choosing appropriate winners.

7. When using a 3rd party application for a contest all of your entries live in one, easy-to-find place. If you choose to run a contest on your Facebook Timeline without the use of a 3rd party application, your entries are bound to be all over the place and not as easily found when trying to determine a contest winner.