Did you know Facebook have changed their contest rules (again)?

It’s been common salon marketing practice to require people to ‘Like’ a Facebook page before entering a contest or claiming a coupon. An app on your salon or spa Facebook page forced people to like the page before they could view the hidden content.

Facebook have just announced they are banning this Like-Gating (also known as Fan-Gating) from November 5th 2014.

What are the latest Facebook contest changes?

Until now there were two easy ways to grow your hair or beauty business Likes quickly:

  • With a contest/giveaway administered by an app which forced people to Like the page before entering or
  • By paying Facebook to advertise your page.

Facebook have very quietly just banned the first way.

Are Facebook Likes the ultimate salon marketing prize?

I don’t think so.

And Facebook agrees. It ‘says’ the contest rule changes are because it wants Pages to collect more genuine Likes, rather than those who click Like merely for the chance of a prize.

There is a valid salon marketing point here. Forcing people to Like your page because you want them to do it, and not because they want to, is not necessarily a great marketing move.

Put another way, what is the point in having thousands of Likes if most of them live miles away from your business and would never visit your salon or spa. If your hair or beauty business is in Brighton then a Like from someone in Edinburgh is unlikely to turn into “bums on seats”.

The real reason for the new Facebook contest rule

While there is a genuine marketing point, we all know that Facebook’s real motivation in changing the rules is to push its own paid advertising. Getting rid of the first option to grow your Likes leaves the field wide open for Facebook advertising.

Will this new contest change affect my salon Facebook marketing?

Yes. But it may be a good thing.

#Tip: This rule change still allows you to ASK participants to like your page. You just cannot REQUIRE them to like it as a condition of entry, using an app. So no harm in asking.
#Tip: You can still use apps to require email addresses from entrants under the new rules. For me, with Facebook’s organic Reach declining, email is a far more powerful marketing tool for hair or beauty businesses than Likes. Email is a direct channel to your growing data base of potential new clients. Moreover that database is yours to use when, how and as often as it suits you. Fickle Facebook cannot take this online marketing tool off you with its next sneaky change to its rules.

Facebook contest or Facebook advertising?

Facebook clearly wants you to abandon Facebook contests as a means of growing your Likes and instead start paying it to advertise to increase your Likes.

So should you ditch Facebook contests and start shelling out for advertising for your spa or salon?

No. But you should change your social media marketing goal from “increasing Likes” to “collecting email addresses”.

This two-pronged approach will deliver results:

Step one: Use Facebook advertising to promote the contest and get as many people as you can to your page then

Step two: Use an app to gather email addresses from contest entrants (which is still within the Facebook rules).

Then use email marketing to reach out to these people any time you like. As many times as you like.

It doesn’t matter what Facebook decides to do next, you’re already marketing straight to your competitors’ clients’ inboxes. And salon marketing doesn’t get much better than this.

My final Facebook contest tip..

You can still administer contests directly on your salon Facebook timeline without forcing people to like your page first. It will still attract some Likes, activity and social interaction so it is worth doing.

But if you really want to power up your salon marketing then get a Facebook app built, run a contest and collect those lovely email addresses. You know where we are if you need a marketing hand