Brands are flocking to Facebook competing for its 1.11 billion user base. To attract fans to their Facebook pages, companies start contests and promotional offers through applications or Facebook landing tabs. Once the word gets out there, you can have all sorts of people signing up for the offer. You need to be able to sift out people who really care about your brand so you can focus on their needs. Some Facebook users will only use the app to get material gains and won't look back twice on your page. How do you filter the real fans from the spam?
We've had more than three years of experience creating Facebook applications for brands and here's our advice:
Requesting Facebook application installs:
One of the ways to ensure that real fans are making use of your promotions is to have them install an application. You can develop a Facebook application that lets users join the promotion in an interactive and engaging way. Since this adds an action to the process of participating, it filters the crowd coming through.
Sometimes, people are wary of creating Facebook apps because they think it will send their fans away from their page. This is not true. If your offer is attractive, your fans will be motivated to install the app. If they are not interested in your product or brand and are only there to get their hands on materialistic gains, they will get deterred.
So, as traffic gets reduced, it means the installation is acting as a gauntlet removing spammers, cheaters and random gold diggers.
Here's proof: we'll share data of three different applications that we created and managed using our own analytical software Fan Circuit.
As you can see the performance of these applications was more than satisfactory even with app install gateways. In fact, the first campaign performed at 331% compared to our client's expectations.
Another reason for making Facebook apps is because it is easier for cheaters to have multiple dummy e-mail accounts but less practical to create fake Facebook accounts. Facebook's team keeps monitoring and deleting spam accounts. This means that the Facebook authorisation filter will always work more effectively.
Asking users to fill forms:
When you have to give away prizes, you have to collect such information as the user's phone number or address. You can gather data by asking users to fill out a simple form. This will also serve as a filter for cheaters.
When making forms, only add fields that are absolutely necessary to fill. Don't make the forms too lengthy for your fans to fill or you'll demotivate them. Depending upon your requirements, you can ask them to fill five or less fields. If you simply cannot do without more, you should add them but make sure that it is information without which your campaign cannot run.
Giving away freebies that matter to your audience:
Your true fans will love freebies that are related to your brand. That is the reason they would come to your page or show interest in your offerings.By carefully selecting your prizes, you will ensure that only the authentic brand lovers enter the contests. For example, if you're a restaurant, you can give away dinner vouchers. If you're a publisher, you can give away bookmarks or book sets.
This may reduce the number of people participating in the campaign, but everyone who does will be an authentic potential for your business. Your campaign will achieve targeted results instead of shooting arrows in the air.
Often when companies run Facebook contests, they allow public voting. This encourages users to share their entries with their friends and ask them to vote on their submissions. What this also means is you may get a lot of app installs from friends of a fan who are least interested in your products.
To overcome this problem, make sure that you have the right judgement methods in place. Select a solid jury who is appropriate for the contest. When a cheater sees that his entry will be judged by authentic jurors, he'll skimper away to cheat somewhere else.
Sometimes adding a "lucky" winner can do the trick as well. Cheaters are less likely to participate in campaigns where their winning depends on chance.
Allowing sharing from within the application:
Choose sharing options according to your target market. If you're promoting FMCGs (fast moving consumer goods), it is a good idea to encourage sharing as you're catering to a huge audience. It may not be a good idea to encourage mass sharing if you're targeting a niche market.
Monitor cheaters and ban them:
For every campaign you run, you can set markers to alert you of cheaters. Here are just some of the ways you can easily detect spammers and remove them from the contest:
- Every user on the Internet has an IP address. This is a unique address which acts as his or her online identity. IP addresses refer to the devices from where users access the Internet. Multiple entries from the same IP address should send up red flags. It could be a cheater logging in from the same device but using different dummy accounts.
- Set filters for banning users who haven't been active (haven't updated status or uploaded photos) on Facebook in the last month. If it's a spammer he may not be so diligently active from all of his fake accounts.
- Set rules for your contest. Anyone who is breaking the rules by finding loopholes or cracking the code will show up on your analytical software. You can also program your applications to automatically remove entries that break the rules of the game or ban the users entirely from the app.
We hope that these few tips are useful for your next promotional campaign on Facebook. You can attract genuine fans by qualifying leads through application installs or asking them to fill forms. You can also shoo away spammers by offering brand-related prizes that only your true fans will be interested in. Choose your judgement criteria carefully making sure that you're not relying solely on public voting. If you are catering to mass audiences, it is better to encourage sharing options but if you're targeting niche markets, be cautious. Lastly, after all of these tactics, if some cheaters still manage to slip through your fingers, set up rules in your monitoring software so you can ban them or remove them from the contest.