Is there an easy way to search for a competition you know you have seen without scrolling down through pages of wall posts on a company page?
Unfortunately not. The Facebook search is no use at all when you're looking for wall posts. At least with Timeline, you can select a month to start searching through - but that's no good if you can't remember which month the comp was posted! With the new Timeline style brand pages, not all posts are visible either - look for dots on the central vertical line, and click them to pop up hidden posts. Personally, if I see a good competition and want to bookmark it for later (usually because it needs a bit of thought or effort to enter!) - I copy and paste the link into a 'note' in my Evernote App, which syncs across my desktop computer, laptop and iPhone. If you don't use Evernote, you could just add browser bookmarks, or set up an online Google document or spreadsheet to do this (it's useful to keep it accessible via web because you might not always be entering comps from the same computer!). I find it's easy to use an Evernote list, as when the comps close I can copy them to a new list called 'results due' and keep clicking those links to check for winning announcements. When they announce the winner, I delete the link from my list. If the comp is a simple prize draw, the best advice I can give is to enter it there and then, and you shouldn't need to go back and find the post.
How do you search for your name on Facebook to see if you've won anything?
The best thing to do is to join The Winners Circle Happy One group, where members share winning announcements from Facebook pages. Luckily, Facebook groups aren't upgrading to the confusing Timeline layout! Unless you have a lot of comping friends who will spot and tag your name, you will still need to check posts in the group to see if you've won - you can use the Search box at the top. Remember that MOST promoters will also send you an email (if they ran their comp properly using an App!) or a private message to let you know you've won. A promoter who announces your name in a wall post asking for YOU to contact THEM is breaking Facebook rules and not being very fair! Remember you can always set up a Google Alert to search for your wins too - this will pick up older Facebook wins. (read more on this blog post). If you find a competition with low entries that you think you have a good chance of winning, it's best to bookmark it or put it in your Evernote list, and check back until they announce the winners!
What are the new Facebook interest lists?
You might want to add your favourite competition pages (like The PrizeFinder!) to a 'Comps' interest list, so you have quick access to the latest comps. If you're friends with - or subscribe to - any particularly active or successful compers, you can add them to your interest list too. Then you can choose to only view your 'comping' list (from the bottom of the left hand menu on your home page) to make sure you see all the posts by those pages/friends! To add a page or person to an interest list, simply click the 'cog' icon under their cover photo and choose 'Add to Interest Lists', where you can create and name a New List. This only works on Timeline profiles - but every brand page will be upgraded to Timeline this Friday!
When you enter comps via Facebook I thought that promoters could detect that entries had come from the same computer and could disqualify multiple entries. If so, how can cheats get around this?
If a promoter is using an App then they may have a way of checking the IP addresses of the entrants, and multiple entries from the same IP address will be flagged up. It's actually fairly easy for a person to hide their IP address, or change it, though - so a determined cheat using different Facebook profiles would be able to enter multiple times without arousing suspicion. With any competitions on a Facebook wall, there is no way that a promoter can check if entries have come from the same computer. Cheating is currently a big problem on Facebook and you can read more about these issues on my SuperLucky blog at http://bit.ly/CompetitionCheating
In the past, Facebook had a "report forced invites" button. I can't find this any more, or any mention easily in the facebook terms, and it's starting to get more common that comps are requiring you to invite people to "validate your entry" and the like. What is the situation with that?
Facebook competitions are a minefield but is there any benefit of sharing a competition when they ask more than once? I try and share more than once if I can but I have been told some promoters think this is spamming.
Any promotions that ask you to Share the wall post are breaking Facebook competition rules. It's impossible for a promoter to choose a winner at random for these type of competitions - they can only click through the Shares list to choose an entrant, they can't actually access a full list and then choose a random winner. Therefore, if you've shared multiple times you have a better chance of winning because your name will appear more often on the shares list, UNLESS the promoter has specified you can only share once. Some compers don't realise that for your entry to be counted you MUST have your Share set to 'Public'. I rarely do Share comps, as I have a lot of non-comping friends and don't want to annoy them - I wish pages would stop running them!
When I share a comp on Facebook, do I have to tag the company's name or add any extra text when I post?
You shouldn't tag the company's name, as the promoter might consider this spam and click your post on their wall to Report it! Prior to the Share button being introduced, compers had to paste a link to the promoter's wall post, so the name tagging was required for the promoter to know we had shared the link. The Share button means this is unnecessary now. However, it might be in your interest to write a little bit of info on your wall when you share the post - something funny or relevant to the prize. A promoter might be swayed towards your entry if you added a bit of original text, or if your Share post has a few Likes from your friends!
Facebook is always changing and developing, and companies are constantly finding new ways of running competitions. If you ever have questions or need advice on Facebook promotions, just Message me via the PrizeFinder page or post a comment on the blog and I'll do my best to help!
Di - i know that has been a lot of cheating going on with fb comps, especially the voting ones. If any of us genuine compers post on our walls or post in 'winners circle' or similar asking fellow compers to vote for our entries, would this also be classed as cheating?
Asking for votes from friends, fellow compers, blog readers, Twitter followers is DEFINITELY not cheating. The grey area is when you ask for votes and in return you give a vote to someone else - whether that's in a Facebook group or at getonlinevotes.com. I personally don't see this as cheating - they are votes from real people and you have to work hard to get them - BUT in some T&Cs it's classed as 'incentivised' voting and you will get disqualified. For most voting comps, the distinction between what's cheating and what's not is unclear, which is why in my opinion a voting contest is NEVER a good idea!