Facebook has more than 400 million active users, who spend over 500 billion minutes per month on the site and interact with 160 million features (i.e., pages, groups, events, etc.). While the typical Facebook user is connected to an average of 60 pages, groups and events, how is a brand supposed to attract fans and keep them interested?
There is a surge of campaigns online that encourage users to ‘like’ brand pages on Facebook in exchange for a discount, product trial or charitable donation. As the pressure to show ROI on developing and maintaining a Facebook page mounts, marketers resort to these tactics to give their communities a boost.
The reality is that Facebook is cluttered space and a brand needs a cohesive set of promotions and smart posts to break through and grow their fan base over a reasonable amount of time. The quid pro quo approach will create a spike for a week and then the brand may need a new idea.
Moreover, this approach is a big no-no if you read the fine print in Facebook rules for companies. As stated in this section, “you cannot administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your page.” Brands cannot use native Facebook features to run campaigns. Instead, they need to build apps that sit on separate tabs to run their campaigns. The main reason behind this separation is data ownership and potential liabilities that come with it. Facebook wants the brands to handle their own data and provide the following disclaimer: "This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to [recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for [brand needs to disclose any way that it plans to use the user's information]."
Among brands looking to acquire fans with the quid-pro-quo tactic, Ann Taylor has a more refined approach. The brand is leading loyal customers (called the Insiders) to their Facebook page with an e-mail invitation and offering them a discount in a tab dedicated to this initiative. To get the discount, users need to ‘like’ the brand. Considering that they have already opted in to receive emails from Ann Taylor, these customers are bound to click ‘like.’