By Hannah Marchesi, Strategy Intern

Today, Facebook announced changes to their promotion guidelines, making it easier for businesses (particularly small business) to run promotions.

What does this mean specifically?
In addition to using Facebook applications, businesses can now use page likes, comments and messages as a means of collecting competition entries, and can utilise ‘Likes’ as a voting tool.

Previously, the only way businesses have been able to run promotions and competitions was via a Facebook application. If a user didn't consent to the app requirements (access to friends, location etc.) then quite simply they were not granted access to the promotion that was being run.

Not everything has changed though. Businesses are still prohibited to place promotions on personal timelines. The same goes for tagging users in promotional pictures they aren’t actually in. It’s still a big no-no.

The big question to come from this announcement is, ‘why do I need to use Facebook apps anymore?’

Apps have by no means become redundant, it is merely a matter of choosing the right method to run your promotion that aligns with your objectives. In saying this, it is essential to understand the benefits of running your promotions via page content as well as apps.

Operating promotions via page content offers a more personalised experience, allowing users to become involved with the brand on their own terms. They are also quick and easy to setup. Apps on the other hand, require a higher level of engagement from the user (liking & sharing, enabling personal page details to be accessed). They also give businesses to customise content and entry mechanisms more freely. Similarly, they can collect data in a secure and structured manner, largely suited to bigger brands.

So why have Facebook changed these guidelines when they’ve strictly prohibited them in the past?

Well they are doing it to make life easier for the little guys. Small businesses, which lack the resources of a large business, now have the opportunity to create and administer promotions specific to their brand strategy, in a timely and cost efficient manner.

If these changes are anything to go by, it could be a sign of more tools to come to assist small businesses. For now though, businesses must take advantage of Facebook’s flexible new promotion guidelines and carefully consider if they are relevant to their business. The strength of any Facebook change simply lies in how you use it.

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