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Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide

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August 2013

LIKE to win: Facebook’s new competition rules

It feels like I’ve been banging on about Facebook terms and conditions for years.

Oh wait, I have been banging on about Facebook’s terms and conditions for years.

When I work with clients and they use Facebook as part of their communications strategy, I’ll make sure they know about the rules that govern Facebook.  And when I deliver a training session, I’ll outline the T&Cs that, if broken, will get you into a lot of trouble.

Two rules I always highlighted related to 1) cover images and 2) competitions in status updates.

This year, Facebook has thrown both of them out the window.

Cover images had their rules relaxed a few months ago, as outlined in my post Facebook Covers, the good, the great, the ugly.

And today comes the news that Facebook will relax its rules around competitions (which it calls ‘promotions’) in status updates.

According to Facebook:

“We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps. Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism”

This is both extraordinary and not surprising at the same time.

Extraordinary because professional Facebook page managers / community managers have been striving to meet that rule for years. Facebook app development companies like Offerpop, Shortstack, North Social and Wildfire have thrived because of that T&C. Digital agencies around the world have billed clients to build Facebook competition apps to stay on the right side of Zuckerberg law. Not required anymore. Thank you.

Extraordinary because I always assumed Facebook wanted to keep competitions out of status updates because it had some standards. Standards around collecting data for competitions, sharing comp T&Cs, and generally not having Facebook become a Wild West of ‘Like to win a new ironing board!’ and ‘Like this photo of a duckling to win a pair of new fluffy slippers, *pick up only’.

Not surprising because a helluva a lot of people flouted the rule! Every day I saw company pages running ‘like to win’ competitions through status updates (mainly smaller businesses, but not always). This was immensely confusing to other businesses, who then took that lead and published their own ‘like to win’ updates (because nobody reads the terms and conditions first, right?)

So maybe Facebook gave up? Maybe it was tired of all the complaining. Maybe it realises brands are getting tired of all the ‘boost post’ messages it’s pushing out, and it’s decided to give a little bit back.

What happens now?

I’m waiting for the competition floodgates to open.

I’m waiting in particular for retailers, manufacturers and anyone with a pile of stuff to give away to begin to flog that through quick ‘like to win’ comps.

I’m  waiting for the backlash. For the:

‘Wait. Where’s my entry? Did you delete it?!!!!!!!!!’

‘What happened to that comp?’

‘What date does it close?’

‘Is this open to residents of the UK?’

‘How do I collect my new ironing board?’

‘My 14 year old son just won a bottle of bourbon, how dare you!’

It didn’t take long to wait for this:

2Day FM status update
2Day FM status update

2DayFM published that status update today (hat tip to the community management group I’m part of that shared that today; thank you). The last time I checked, that status update had 25,810 comments.

They haven’t even said what the prize is. OR IF THERE’S A PRIZE!

I kinda liked that we had to use competition apps to try to manage the world of Facebook competitions. (Yeah, I kinda hated it too).

To end with some clichés: it’s the dawning of a new era. Welcome to the Wild West.

My 4 Tips on Working From Home … and Being Productive

My name is Prakky and I work from home.

This doesn’t suit everyone but I love it. I’m in my second year of being a sole consultant and one thing I enjoy most is having a home-based office. It’s exactly the lifestyle I’m after at this stage of my life, being independent, with my own working hours and available to my school age children where they need me.

I’m a member of a few solo operator networks online and I know one of the more popular topics of discussion is personal productivity and how to stay on track – in particular if you do work from home and there’s the constant temptation of the fridge/daytime TV/sunny garden. There may also be the urge to become a super multi-tasker and to clean out that fridge/put some washing on/sweep the floor. So I thought I’d share my own habits when it comes to personal productivity.

[Before I go any further – I’m going to outline what works for me but I understand people have different working styles and I’m not demanding that you Do What I Do. Perhaps you’ll get some ideas or perhaps you’ll be reassured that your own different style of work is best for you.]

Here’s the principles I work to:

  1. Working hours are for client work, not housework
  2. If you start working on a project even for just a few minutes, that’s a few minutes you don’t have to work on it tomorrow
  3. Recognise your down times and “can’t be stuffed” times and don’t fight it … as long as there aren’t too many!
  4. Have some rewards for working from home – after all, that’s part of what it’s about

Let me expand on those four points.

1.       Working hours are for client work, not housework

When you work from home, it’s tempting to quickly do a bit of housework. Resist this. Housework doesn’t pay the bills (unless you’re a cleaner). Mentally, I’m focused on my workspace – my keyboard, my radio, my To Do List, my view out of the window onto the street outside. Sure, I dip into the kitchen for coffee and meals, I walk around to stretch my legs, but I remind myself of my client work and the fact that 1) housework can wait and 2) housework doesn’t pay the bills.

When you work from home: TV crews need to come there too
When I work from home: TV crews need to come there too

I also know that when the kids get home from school, the house is noisier, so I like to ensure I devote that quieter alone time to client work and rather than waste it on housework.

The reverse of this also applies. I try not do client work on weekends. I remind myself that two days away from the office desk is important, and that weekends are the time for family and friends and slothing around – and of course, that pesky housework! As someone who works from home, I like to get out of the house on weekends.

2.       If you start working on a project even for just a few minutes, that’s a few minutes you don’t have to work on it tomorrow

Aka, my Anti-Procrastination Rule. I don’t put off until tomorrow, I make a start today because I know every sentence or idea or piece of thinking time contributes to the body of work a client is waiting for. (And yes, I hate me too when I make myself do this). This might be something as simple as opening a document, giving it a title, putting in some formatting, inputting some tasks and headlines, reminding yourself what the client wanted and typing in some hasty notes and early ideas, then saving and closing that doc until tomorrow. The thing is: while you’re there, you might find (like me) that other ideas come to you, that you feel compelled to write a little more and rewrite and improve pieces, so before you know it, you’ve actually got a decent first draft. #PatOnBack

3.       Recognise your down times and “can’t be stuffed” times and don’t fight it … as long as there aren’t too many!

I don’t work well on Friday afternoons.

On Friday afternoons, I tend to knock off when the kids are home from school. That’s it. It’s the weekend. But even earlier – say around lunch – I know I’m losing steam. So I save this time for easier and more administrative tasks. This includes deleting emails, banking and quick friendly ‘catch up’ emails to clients. I also do more of my social media promotional work here: drafting blog posts, thinking of ideas for next week’s Facebook posts, working through LinkedIn to see what opportunities there are there – those are fun tasks, for me, but not for everyone.

The reverse of this also applies. I am hyper-motivated on Mondays. So I try to use this time to bite off difficult projects. It’s the time when my brain is best able to come up with new ideas, complete a large document, or complete a new public presentation.

4.       Have some rewards for working from home: after all, that’s part of what it’s about

It’s fun working from home! Yes, client work is important, but keeping yourself a happy and motivated employee is also important. And if you’re not capitalising on some of the perks of working from home, that’s just silly isn’t it? You may as well be in a massive office with dozens of other people working in a climate-controlled environment.

So yes, I do sit outside in the sunshine with my laptop sometimes.

Yes, I do move my laptop from my work desk to the kitchen bench sometimes and have ABC 24 playing in the background – especially during exciting news periods.

Yes, when I need to stretch, I do walk around the block (a massive health advantage of working from home. In corporate environments I never felt comfortable about getting up and stretching, about taking time away from my screen, even though officially it’s encouraged, nobody else does it and it’s seen as either strange or time wasting).

Prakky presenting
I spend a lot of time away from my home office, working with clients and giving presentations

Yes, if I have a lot of reading to do, I can lie on the sofa or prop myself up on my bed.

These four principles work well for me, keep me on track, keep clients happy – and keep me happy.

I’d love to hear about your personal productivity routines. Share some in the Comments below, whether you work from home or not.

How I keep up with ALL THE TWEETS

I follow more than 7,000 people on Twitter so one of the questions I often encounter is “how do you keep up with so many Twitter connections?”

The quick answer is: I don’t.

When you’ve got a large Twitter network it’s important to give away the notion of ‘catching up’ on tweets and to focus instead on those types of accounts and conversations which matter more to you than others.

Keeping up with thousands of tweets ...
Keeping up with thousands of tweets …

And the key thing that helps me with this is Twitter Lists.

If Twitter didn’t enable me to categorise people and place their Twitter accounts onto a list, I think I’d be lost.

I’ve written about this previously in Twitter not working for you? and 6 Ways to Find Who to Follow on Twitter.

To give you an example: I have a Friends List on Twitter which helps me quickly tap into what my friends have been tweeting. It’s the first social media account I check every day. Other Twitter Lists I have include clients, media, politicians and some client target categories. Some of these lists are public because I’m happy to do some of the work, curate the list and have others follow it. Other lists are private to protect my work and also to avoid letting people know how I’ve categorised them.

When Twitter Lists first came out, I blogged about how very serious our lists were. (That hasn’t changed and I’ve pretty much abandoned my Earwig Haters list).

One of my newer lists revolves around fans of the Port Adelaide Football Club. I periodically look at #weareportadelaide tweets and add fans to that list. For me, it’s a great list to dip into to chat with fans and read their thoughts on the current match.

In Twitter.com it’s easy to add people to a list.

Simply head to a Twitter account profile and hover over the interactive icon to see your options, including ‘add or remove from lists’ as per the image below:

Hover over the interactive icon to see your options, including 'add or remove from lists'
Hover over the interactive icon to see your options, including ‘add or remove from lists’

If you don’t have any Lists yet, this will also prompt you to create a list. You can choose to have a public list or a private list. Think carefully about your choice.

You can also follow the Twitter Lists created by others. Head to a Twitter account’s profile page to see their Lists, as per the ABC News example below:

ABC News on Twitter
ABC News on Twitter

In the image below, you can see the ‘press gallery’ list that ABC News created. Hit the Subscribe button to follow that List. This doesn’t mean you’re following all accounts in that list and that they’ll join your newsfeed. You’re subscribing to that List only, and you need to visit your Lists to read those tweets.

Sample of an ABC News-created Twitter List
Sample of an ABC News-created Twitter List

Depending on the Twitter tool you used, your Lists will be available to check there. I use Echofon on my iPhone and iPad and my lists are easily viewable.

Here’s one more groovy thing about Twitter Lists: you can add a Twitter account to a List without following it.

This can be particularly handy when you want to monitor a Twitter account but 1) you don’t want to be seen to endorse that account, for example if it’s a political account and 2) you don’t want to give that Twitter account the value of an additional follow. It may be a competitor, for example.

So, Lists save my bacon when it comes to keeping up with Twitter. Without them, following thousands of accounts would be very clunky indeed.

I provide Twitter 101 For Business training and also personal social media coaching. Email admin @ prakky.com.au to make an enquiry.

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