Posted by : Amitha Amarasinghe Wednesday, March 2, 2011

If creating a Facebook page and running an ad to promote it, is everything about Facebook marketing; my grandmother would have made a good social media marketer if she lived in this day. Unfortunately, we see people using Facebook for marketing, as if they are using their grandmother’s wisdom for doing it.

I’ve been telling this over and over again; social media marketing is becoming spoiled day by day, simply because of the lack of integrity, lack of marketing touch, and lack of professionalism among the people who handles this. Not anyone who knows how to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account is a social media marketer. Marketing is a profession, as well as a well-established body of knowledge. Social Media is only a tool, to execute this vast body of knowledge. However, unfortunately in Sri Lanka (and most places of the world where Social Media is less evolved), the task of running a company’s social media marketing presence, is assigned to the least qualified bunch of people to do that; the techies. This derives from the common myth that “Internet belongs to engineers” (because they created it??). To add fuel to the fire, the average marketing professional in any given company are way too much backward when it comes to dealing with new technology, so the job defaults to the guy who is most comfortable with the media.

In certain other places, the marketing department already handles social media but yet they make these same mistakes, simply because they are too lazy to dig into detail before they execute something.

It is because of these factors, that we see some blatant shortcomings in the way some companies handle their social media marketing efforts. These shortcomings can put your company in trouble, if a concerned party moves for legal actions. Furthermore, such unprofessionally done Facebook campaigns might undermine the brand equity of your company.

Listening to drive time radio this morning, I heard that one company is doing a promotion on Facebook, targeting the Cricket World Cup. The instruction was, to take a photograph of yourself wearing the product that is being promoted, and upload that photo to the brand’s Facebook page, and then invite as many as friends to ‘Like’ it. Now, how many of you know that this is a serious violation of Facebook terms & conditions? Most of you might not know, because not everyone bothers to read all those small print before they sign up for Facebook. But, if you are planning to do a ‘marketing campaign on Facebook’, isn’t it safer (or a good idea) to read through those terms? At the end of the day, do you like to see your brand’s Facebook page be banned for violating terms & conditions?

Today, many brands take it granted that they can use their Facebook page to do what ever they want to do, including conducting sweepstakes, contests, and various other types of promotions on their page. However if you look at their guidelines for pages, it clearly state “You will not administer a promotion through Facebook, except through an application on the Facebook Platform. Administration includes operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners

The guidelines further reads as..
You cannot: Condition entry in the promotion upon a user providing content on Facebook, such as posting on a Wall of a Page, uploading a photo, or posting a status update.
You can: Use a third party application to condition entry to the promotion upon a user providing content to the application. For example, you may administer a photo contest whereby a user uploads a photo to a third-party application to enter the contest.
You cannot: Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by liking your Page, checking in to your Place or connecting to your Platform integration.
You can: Require entrants to like your Page, check in to your Place or connect to your Platform integration before they provide their full entry information, such as name and contact information.
You cannot: Notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.
You can: Collect an email or address through the third-party application for the promotion in order to contact the winner by email or standard mail.
You cannot: Instruct people (in the rules or elsewhere) to sign up for a Facebook account before they enter the promotion.
You can: Instruct users to visit the third-party application to enter the promotion (as described in Section Since users must have a Facebook account in order to access an application on the Facebook Platform, if you give this instruction, they will be prompted to sign up for a Facebook account if they do not already have one.

So, it is clear when looking at these guidelines that even some of the big brands in Sri Lanka, are clearly violating these policies. You wouldn't violate the Broadcasting act or other regulations put forward by media stations, in your above the line campaigns so why would you do it on Facebook? It isn’t much different from using a pirate copy of MS Office, in your company. So, dou like to see your brand is positioned as a Facebook pirate?

Violates T&C's of FB. Don't do this for your brand!

Besides the guidelines and regulations from Facebook, there are certain other areas that you have to concern when administering a promotion on Facebook.

If the prize you are offering worth more than LKR, 100,000, you must register your promotion at the Western Province revenue department (if your company is registered in Colombo, Gampaha or Kalutara districts) or the ministry of home affairs (for businesses registered in rest of the country). The registration number must be published on every material you use for promoting the contest. Many people believe, this does not apply for promotions conducted online, but the truth is this rule still valid if you are a Sri Lankan business, doing a promotion online.

Apart from these mandatories, you must follow some other standards as well. For example, if you are running a contest which award some prizes for selected winners, you must publish the mechanics of winning. You must elaborate how people can win this, and what terms & conditions apply. Especially because we are conducting this on a platform accessible by anyone across the globe, you must specify the geographical locations where the promotion or contest is valid.

So once again, I suggest you to take a re-look at the way your Facebook marketing is currently done. If you are an agency doing FB marketing for clients, you are not only putting yourself in trouble, but you are putting the innocent clients in trouble who trusted you to do a professional job. There were some incidents in the past, where Facebook shut down some of these mismanaged pages and clients only got to know their agencies were doing the wrong things after losing all their Facebook likes.

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