I am going to do this in installments so people can jump to the post they want rather than having to read through all of it. However, even if you have been FB coming for years, its always good to check for any new advice.
So ... how to get started.
- I know this is against FB rules but consider setting up a new profile for comping only. This is for 2 reasons. First and foremost is because everything you do needs to be available for public viewing and all your details need to be available for companies to access. Personally, I don't want everyone to see everything I do on my personal FB account. Due to this I have my comping FB account which contains very limited information about me, only details that I am happy to share with the world. The second reason is because you will have to share A LOT of pictures, statuses and posts; it will annoy the hell out of your 'normal' FB friends! I learnt this the hard way :)
- Have a dedicated email address to use for comping only. I currently receive about 500 emails a day and am noticing more and more spam as my email address spreads around the net. I will do a separate post about how to organise your inbox to make life easier when comping. Hotmail or gmail is ideal for a new account. They are easy to set up and easy to close if / when the spam gets too much. Bear in mind that gmail is good if you want to enter competition on blogs as it makes it easier to follow most of them (again, I will do a post about blog comping soon).
- Next you need to sort out your FB settings. Basically, the easiest way to do it is to set everything to public. This can be done under privacy settings. When you share posts the companies need to be able to see you have done it, the only way to do this is to share as public. I also advise that you go in to account settings / notifications and uncheck everything so that no emails are sent to you. You will get enough emails just from entering comps so you really dont want the hassle of deleting 100's more emails from FB!
- Now add a picture to your FB account. It doesnt have to be a photo of you. If you want a little privacy, add a picture of your dog, cat, car etc etc. The important thing is that you have a picture. A person without a picture is often referred to as a 'shadow' because FB just show a white outline of a person on a blue background. I, and a lot of other compers, dont accept friend requests from shadows. There is no reason at all not to have a picture so I find is suspicious when someone doesnt bother. Could it be they are a cheater who has quickly set up a new account? Or someone who uses multiple accounts to enter comps? Who knows, but its too dodgy for my liking.
- FB comping doesnt work without comping friends so you need to collect some :) Most people start comping because they know someone who does it already .... if thats the case, ask that friend to make some friend suggestions for you to get started. A good way of finding some like minded people is here https://www.facebook.com/groups/401159649943852/ . This is a group set up purely for finding new comping friends. You need to ask to become part of it but you will be accepted; its just in place to avoid spammers entering. Always add new friends SLOWLY. Don't invite more than 10 in one go otherwise FB will ban you from adding friends for a fixed amount of time. Invite about 10 at a time. Come back in a few hours to do some more.
FB will stop you adding new friends if they suspect you are adding people you don't know in the outside world. To avoid this, only add those who have posted in the group or who your friends have recommended. Over time you will begin to see people who comp regularly and generally its ok to take the risk of inviting them as friends; we are all usually happy to have more like minded friends.
As a side note to the above, and useful for all .... Keep your friends list up to date as there is no point spending time inviting people to comps when they no longer enter any. Compers come and go quite a lot! A tip given to me, which I now use, is to look at someones profile on their birthday to check if they still comp. FB tells you who's bday it is on the top right of your newsfeed.
- Get a form filler! I enter 100's of comps a week and there is no way my hands would cope with typing my name and address that many times! Some browsers will fill in forms for you and this is a good way to start with. I have progressed from that to a programme called RoboForm as I find it easier to use. RoboForm has a basic free version which I used for a while but then I quite happily paid a small amount to upgrade. Use whatever you feel happy with but, seriously, use something
OK. So I am going to stop there. This will have got your accounts set up and ready to go. I will shortly post about how to enter the competitions; am trying to keep each post short and easy to use.