There is a looming problem for companies and brands that use Facebook as an exclusive way to promote themselves. There are people like myself that absolutely loath the idea of having to use Facebook or any other social media as an entry vehicle to what ever they are promoting. In other words, I don’t want to spam the Facebook timeline with crap that other people might not be interested in. The other issue is there are people who don’t have, and won’t ever have a Facebook account. So why would a brand only offer the ability to engage with a high-profile promotion via a Facebook with no other alternatives? Case in point furniture store Room&Board’s new Look Book promotion and sweepstakes.
This afternoon I received an email asking if I’d like to enter a sweepstakes with a prize of $10,000. This is part of a campaign to promote the redesign of the new printed look book and catalog, plus the room&board website. The problem is you can only enter by going through Facebook. There is absolutely no other way to do it. The embedded link in the email takes you to Facebook, so does the link on the home page. I’m not sure how many people they are failing to connect with because of this, but I am going to assume quite a few. I can’t be the only person in the world that doesn’t want to use Facebook for everything.
In fine print at the bottom of the Facebook page there is this 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 Room & Board and not to Facebook.” OK I get it, but I had to scroll to the bottom of the page to see this, and like most people I almost backed out of the promotion as soon as I saw it land on Facebook page. For me this is marketing fail. If Room&Board really wanted to promote the new site and Look Book, they really should have offered an alternate route for those people like myself that refuse to use Facebook for anything advertising related.
I know that Room&Board is simply using Facebook as the point to collect your information. The thing is, this just gives me a bad feeling overall. Even if Room&Board says I am only providing the information to them and not to Facebook. I might have a better feeling about participating if there was a non Facebook location that I could actually go to and engage with the brand.
Unfortunately this is a trend that continues to grow, and one that is going create a social divide between those of that won’t participate in Facebook hosted events/promotions, and those that will.