Monday Morning Review: Facebook Contests

I read a great article over the weekend on running Facebook contests. It’s not as easy as one would think…

Not that setting up the contest is difficult, it is all of the numerous rules and regulations that must be followed in order to legally run a contest on Facebook. Facebook has left no stone unturned when it comes to protecting their liability with other company’s and individual’s contests. Because of this, their policies on running a contest for your business on Facebook can get pretty confusing.

Ideally, you cannot use Facebook to run the contest. You must use a third party application which can be used on Facebook. Any submissions — pictures, e-mail addresses, whatever you are collecting for the contest — must be collected via the third party application rather than through Facebook directly. I assume this is to take Facebook out of the liability loop. If the submissions are not submitted to Facebook, they can’t be held liable. It was submitted to some other site (Wildfire, iFrame, whatever app), and therefore the liability lies with the third party app for any missed or miscalculated contest results.

In the scheme of business, it is a wise move for Facebook to protect itself from any liability at all costs. At the same time, however, they shouldn’t make following policy a treasure hunt. The article stated that most contests run on Facebook are illegal and at risk of having Facebook shutdown the contest, page, account, or the whole kit-and-kaboodle. As authors, we must self promote whether we self publish or publish our works traditionally. We really need to get these policies down to a science to ensure that our Facebook promotion efforts are not foiled because of Facebook’s convoluted policies.

For a more indepth discussion of Facebook contest policies, read Social Media Magazine‘s article in their April/May 2012 edition of Fb+Business Magazine. Author Marketing Experts put out four magazines targeted at assisting authors — Fb & Business, LI & Business, Tweeting & Business, and The Big G & Business. They each contain some great information and articles to help the author build their business using social media.

Time to share…
What are your thoughts on using Facebook contests as a way to build business? Are FB contests an effective method for authors? What do you think about FB’s policies on contest — too restrictive or easy enough to follow?

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Social Media: A Major Distraction? A Useful Tool? Or A Bit of Both?

What’s your take on social media as it applies to being an author?

Is it a distraction for you? Is it a useful and much needed tool? Or, do you believe it is a bit of both? Me, it is a bit of both… Coming from working in the information technology field and being a self-proclaimed “geek”, social media can be an enormous distraction. And for the same reasons, it can be a great tool.

I am able to network with like-minded individuals through social media. Online writers’ groups, forums, resource pages and the like are all invaluable when writing. On the flip side of that coin, I can also go on the forums to research a topic, get feedback and opinions, or get the latest buzz about something and get totally sucked in tweeting, chatting, and surfing the forums to see what my colleagues are up to…

Social media is needed by authors in order to get their message out and to assist them in building their platform. You have taken the time to write and perfect the next blockbuster novel or other written work. What better way to spread the word then the world wide web? It is one proven method of getting your message out to the world. Of course, there are many other marketing methods, tools, and avenues you will take; however, there is no better electronic medium than the Internet, and no better vehicle than social media.

Your website is up and ready to receive visitors. You have been the most faithful blogger. You have worked hard while you were writing to build your following using Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/every-social-site and have a nice number of followers. Your website and blog statistics are up. You would be remiss not to mention on every social site you’ve used to create buzz for yourself that your much anticipated and talked about work has finally been released — both traditionally and in electronic format.

All-in-all social media is a necessary evil. An evil because writers need nothing else to use in a procrastination or writer’s block cycle — we are already doing whatever we can to avoid writing. Just a simple fact in a writer’s life… A necessity because used properly it can be a vehicle to assist in self and book promotion, as well as a resource for pertinent information during the writing process.

Time to share…
How do you feel about social media? A tool? A distraction? Both? Let’s discuss how we can ensure it’s used as a tool and not a
distraction.