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Facebook recently announced changes in terms of how contests and promitions on the social networking channel are managed. This is very interesting news for businesses and especially for tourism, as many tourism organisations worked closely with agencies before or third party apps, developing and creating Facebook promotions and contests. Now it is made a lot easier for them meaning that third party apps can be cut out completely. What can destinations and tourism organisations do themselves now in terms of Facebook promotions and how much easier is it for organisations to do promotions and competitions themselves? With the new changes in place, it is interesting to see which organisations are benefiting the most and where there is room for opportunities (InsideFacebook 2013).

PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Tourism organisations worldwide can now execute small prize competitions more easily than before. When posting something to a small audience about the potential of winning a prize, Facebook now made it a lot easier for companies, as they can simply post to their page and ask consumers to like or comment the page. A winner can then be picked amongst the consumers that contributed. In addition to simply telling consumers to like or comment the post on the page, it can also be promoted further by paying for ads, displaying the post to a wider number of consumers on the social network. With these changes in place, posts on Facebook can now be used in a much more engaging way, especially for tourism, new products, services or competitions in general can be done more creatively and less time consuming.

Facebook’s changes towards their promotions on the network is certainly a positive step towards making it easier for marketers to use Facebook promotions, as less time and effort is necessary. However, there are still differences between small and large companies’ opportunities to use posts for promotions. Experts point out that consumers of the network are drawn to the news feed in terms of seeing posts about potential prize draws. This is very good news for small organisations or destinations, however, for larger scale prize draws, it might become more difficult to actually select the winner of the set prize. Therefore, a third-party service might still be necessary as it might deliver more advanced services that are needed. However, there is still great potential for smaller companies, that have a restricted budget to spend on Facebook competitions and prizes, which gives them now the chance to engage with consumers more often and promote prize draws more easily on the network.

MANAGING FACEBOOK CONTESTS

In some cases, managing these social media contests might be a bit complicated for tourism organisations. Some contests can result in major consumer engagement, which is very much welcomed and can be considered as a success. However, when comments or posts are being submitted in their hundreds or even thousands, then it can become quite challenging to ensure that a winner can be selected, without overlooking an entry. This can then be a big task of selecting a winner for a prize and might become very time consuming. There is also an issue of participants of the contest deleting their post after the contest is over or changing their comments. Technology is available to trigger engagement and make Facebook contests easy for organisations to manage. With more and more organizations getting the opportunity to do contests more regularly on Facebook, it is also a matter of ensuring that tourism organisations keep innovating and make contests more creative and fun for consumers. Engagement will be high if consumers feel a contest is unique, fun and delivers and exciting experience. Doing similar contests over and over again will not work for tourism marketers, as consumer expectations will rise.

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