(or How not to get shutdown on Facebook)
Many small business operators create a Facebook presence to help in the marketing and advertising of their business, but they often fail to seek expert advice when doing so. Unfortunately not understanding the complexity of Facebook rules has led to some businesses having their business pages shut down, or worse still even losing their personal profiles (generally for operating under a business or fake name). The heartbreak of losing a hard earned community and possibly a brand name is not an easy one for businesses to bear. But all is not lost. Read on to discover how you can help to protect your reputation and your facebook profiles and pages.
1. Know the difference between your profile and a page
For some people this might seem obvious, but for those new to Facebook, or to using Facebook as a platform for their business, it isn’t always so obvious.
Your “profile” is your personal account. You need to set this up first, before you create a page. You can keep it as private as you like. You need a profile in order to engage in groups, comment on your friends stories or photos, or engage as yourself on a page. Facebook also use your personal profile to verify your identity. So it’s smart to use your real name, because if you have to try and prove you own a page on facebook and you didn’t use your real name, it’s not going to be an easy process, and you may even fail. If you want to learn more about profiles and how you can use them, you can visit facebook help here.
2. Don’t force anyone to have to “like” or to “tag” themselves on your page in order to enter a competition
You can ask people to LIKE a COMMENT or a POST on your page as part of entry, but not to “Like” the page. You cannot ask people to tag themselves into an image which they are not actually pictured in. You can have the competition shut down, or sometimes even your whole page. You also can’t use personal profiles to collect entries (mainly because it’s unfair, there is no way you can track them). This means you can’t ask people to “Share” a post on their page as an entry or to “share” to friends for more entries.
Using a third party app or having a social media specialist set up a competition for you should help protect you and take some of the pain away, (but make sure they do know what they are doing, we have seen some pretty big brands run competitions in breach of the rules, and they risk a lot of damage to their brand in doing so). The terms and conditions for promotions are exact. You can find the guidelines here.
3. No Spam!
A sure way to have people report your page or your profile is by sending unsolicited direct messages to them via Facebook. Spamming is a violation of Facebook’s Community standards. Posting links and images to other people’s profiles and pages or using your personal profile to push your business onto people’s pages is considered spam. Other forms of spam include “clickjacking” where a button looks like it is for one thing, but clicking it actually has you liking something else; phishing and malicious software (often via video and “viral” posts) and “sharebaiting”. You often see sharebaiting where scammers create a fake competition for a big brand and people click and share thinking they are going to enter a competition. Also those videos and posts that say “you won’t believe what happens, what she does etc”. Be skeptical of such posts.
You can learn about spam here.
4. No third party advertising
This generally relates to people who attempt to charge you to advertise in their groups or on their pages. Under Facebook terms and conditions you cannot charge people to use their platform.
5. Make sure your page adheres to age limits depending on content
When you set up your page you can define the audience. If your page contains adult content, or products which have age limits you must adhere to the law. This relates to adult products, alcohol, tobacco or firearms. Protect your page and help look after our young people by limiting your page to age 18 and over.
6. Don’t tell lies!
If your page contains or promotes information which is false, deceptive, mislead or makes fraudulent claims, it will be shut down. In addition you may find yourself facing fines under consumer laws. Keep it real.
7. Keep it Nice
Facebook has a wide community of people from all walks of life, and it is very family orientated and friendly. Don’t post violent or sexualised images. Be respectful. Your community and Facebook will not tolerate bullying, harrasment or threats. Facebook gives your business such a huge opportunity to connect with existing clients and prospects and grow your business brand and reputation. Look after it well (including how you engage personally within groups and on posts).
Have you been guilty of any of these issues? Many people inadvertently have, particularly when it comes to promotions and competitions.
Do you have a specific question? Leave your comments below (and of course, be polite!)