In the rush the “engage” fans, and grow fan numbers, hundreds of brands are being very quick to give away fantastic prizes in competitions on their Facebook pages. The problem is very few of them actually think any more beyond this point. They get a prize, create a tab with the competition (those have read the guidelines and know not to use the wall etc for promotions) and think their job is done. In the race for fans very little thought is put into how people will find it and why people will actually want to enter this competition if they find it.
Unsurprisingly this results in hundreds of competitions a week being started by brands that only get a handful of entries. I’ve seen competitions giving away cars with less than 1,000 entries, and holidays to New York with less than 50 entries. With a one in fifty chance of winning a trip to New York you’d be silly not to enter.
This glut of competitions is resulting in a new breed of Facebook user, the semi professional competition entrant. They scour Facebook brand pages, hunting down competitions, prizing the lacklustre ones. And they’re doing it methodically, liking the pages where they have to, and promptly unliking once the competition is over. I’ve seen the same names popping up in competitions for a range of different brands. With the sheer number of competitions launched every week, giving away anything from iPads and TVs to holidays and cars these people must be doing quite well for themselves.
There is of course nothing wrong with these individuals (unless they are breaking the rules to try and win), who wouldn’t try and win a TV if only four other people had entered? But they are symptomatic of a broader problem, an obsession of quick wins in social. Want to get some fans? Throw up a competition behind a ‘like gate’. Sure you may get a few more people liking your page, but are they really fans of your page? Until brands start taking social seriously they will continue to put out these kneejerk competitions.
Now if you excuse me, I’m going to try and win an iPad.
UPDATE: Today I actually did win a car on a Facebook competition. Well, the use of one for 6 months. I think at last count I had 11 votes for my entry. I don’t even want the car.