The fans in the Facebook page is an asset for any brand. But one has to be extremely cautious while running campaigns on the Facebook Page. Facebook can be extremely draconian when it comes to enforcing its policies and can ban the mightiest of brands.
Take the example of Nutrichoice’s (A product of Britannia) Facebook campaign.
The above campaign thus started by NutriChoice violates the following rules of Facebook:
- You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
- You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
Though the campaign has rightly put up a disclaimer which is necessary for every campaign where you need to acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. This is according to the latest Guidelines by Facebook 11th May 2011.Other examples of Facebook promotions violations:The first 10 people to comment on this post win tickets.
- Upload a photo to our wall to enter and win!
- Press Like on this comment to win a prize.
- 25th fan will win a slab of beer!
- Tag yourself in this photo and win tickets.
- Mention our page in your status to win a prize
Though I feel its also the whims and fancies of Facebook and its staffs that guide the actual decision to ban a page since there have been many engagement on Facebook that surely did not comply to its guidelines. For example there have been so many companies which used the ‘tag yourself in a picture’ for promotion and did not get banned. How does this get verified by Facebook? e.g. the famous IKEA tagging contest was never banned! In the campaign a profile was created for the store manager, Gordon Gustavsson and over a two-week period, it uploaded images from IKEA showrooms to his Facebook photo album.
Then they had spread the word that the first person to tag their name to a product in the pictures, would win it. This became a huge success. But the campaign definitely violated Facebook’s rule of “You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism”.
Watch in youtube. The bans can really cost a lot to the big brands, to their reputation and can lose the huge fan base all at one go. In the past few months we have seen couple of such incidents. Last month the official Facebook page of Pizza hut was removed due to violation of Facebook promotional guidelines (https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php). Reacting on this issue, Ashok Bajpai, General Manager, Pizza Hut (Delivery) said “Facebook revises its promotions guidelines after regular intervals. Although, when the policy was updated in the beginning of 2011, the administrator of Pizza Hut Delivery India did not receive any notification of the change in norms. In a routine scan, Facebook referred to an old promotional offer that was still on our wall and temporarily disabled it until the historic content was deleted. Our administrator has been in touch with Facebook to ensure that we remain in compliance with the revised norms.”Even Cadbury India’s Bournville got banned for similar reasons.The action of Facebook seems quite hypocritical to me at times. On one hand you allow the businesses to create pages and fill your bank with ads from brands but on the other hand you regularize how to use the page and put every possible clauses in using the like button, tagging, comments etc. At least there should be a warning message from Facebook to the administrators before deleting a page which would really help the businesses from losing out so many fans.
But these bans have surely been an eye opener for many. Many brands have now started taking the right measures while running a campaign. Recently if you see the campaigns by Dominos Pizza India in Facebook, the users are all being guided to their blog where they can participate.
I was just wondering what would happen if these contest blogs became more popular than the Facebook pages itself. Would Facebook still stick to their “guidelines”?