Quite a number of brands are launching competitions or investing in other campaign actions on social networks in order to make the most of the year-end festive season. However, they should be aware that each network has its own rules, which must be adhered to if they want to avoid embarrassment.

Brands Campaigning on Social Networks Must Adhere to the Platform Rules

A recently-published l’Atelier article arguing that brands ought to be substantially increasing their investments in social network actions, especially Facebook and Twitter, for this holiday season, made reference to a report by credit information agency Experian. In fact a large number of companies are taking advantage of the November-December holiday season to run competitions on social networks designed to increase customer engagement with the brand and boost their ROI. Now a recently-published report by Punch Communications, a UK-based integrated PR, Search and Social Media agency, agrees that this is indeed a golden opportunity for brands, as long they take full account of the rules laid down for each type of activity. The report recommends that companies familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions of use of their chosen social platform and follow them to the letter.

Each social network has its own rules

Failing to comply with the platform rules could have grave consequences, especially for the company’s image. “No brand wants a social media crisis on its hands, and especially not when consumers are choosing which products to buy as Christmas gifts,” warns Peter Goold, Managing Director of Punch Communications. Facebook has made its Platform Policies very clear. The US-based network requires brands or the agencies they use to create a third-party application that complies with the Facebook Policies and does not use any of its features or functionalities as a mechanism for entry. The report stresses that a brand may incur substantial risks if it breaches the terms and this could result in the brand being removed entirely from the platform during this critical sales period.

Using social networks to enhance brand loyalty

Punch agrees that it’s a very good idea to use competitions to promote the latest gifts of the season on social networks, as each fan or follower is a potential customer. Moreover, “giving the fans the chance to win something for free can not only lead to increased product sales, but also to enhanced brand loyalty", Goold points out. So to give themselves a chance of success, brands need to make sure that the external agency or in-house team that manages their social media outreach understands and follows the specific competition conditions laid down by each network.