Leads Today, Gone Tomorrow. I had a client who saw the power of Facebook and embraced its potential. Two years making regular posts and thousands of dollars spent on Facebook advertising had given him thousands of fans and was producing quality leads on a daily basis. That all came to an end this week, as he logged in only to be greeted with the message “Your page has been disabled.”
What prompted this banishment and what could be done about it? In the case of my client, he used some “hot words” in his Facebook advertising campaign one too many times. Facebook doesn’t like the use of hyperbole like “six-figure” or “guaranteed”. Of course, I’m sure everybody who is on Facebook knows this, after all, you did click agree on the terms of service agreement in order to start your Facebook account, right? You didn’t just agree without carefully reading all of that fine print, did you? For my client and many other banished Facebookers, there is an appeal button he can click on. What is this appeal process, you ask? Do you have to fill out a long form or get a lawyer and head to Facebook-court? No, you wait and hope, and I hate to break it to you, but only a handful of businesses ever reverse their banishment.
If you’ve spent time and money on your company’s Facebook presence, I’m sure you’re sitting there with your mouth open, stunned at how fragile your social network empire is. How is this fair, you ask? Your Facebook page is a very powerful tool that can give you amazing results if you’re willing to invest some time and money, but you have to remember, you don’t own anything on it. It is theirs, not yours, and if the algorithms flag you as somebody who might be scamming or abusing the citizens of Facebook, they will act swiftly to protect those citizens. With that in mind, let’s look at a few things that you need to watch out for so that you can avoid banishment:
- Offensive Content – Seems simple enough, right? After all, if you are slinging around hate-speech on your company Facebook page, then I doubt you have many fans that you have to worry about losing. Well, it’s not that simple, if you put
something in an ad that offends just ONE user, and that user reports your ad, then your page is at risk of being shut down. Bottom line, be really careful to not post anything that might be misconstrued.
- Cover Photo – There are rules that you have to follow when designing your cover photo. Your cover photo cannot include a call to action, contact details, prices and/or discounts, or text that encourages people to like or share your page. Don’t think of the cover photo as a billboard that you use to advertise.
- Spam – Spamming other peoples walls with links or asking people to like your page will get you in some serious hot water if reported. It’s also really annoying, so aside from people having a bad opinion of you, people are going to report this one quickly!
- Page Name – Your Facebook page’s name must be a true representation of your business and should reflect what your company is selling. It also shouldn’t contain excessive punctuation or capitalization. So if you’ve ever wondered why my page isn’t called “LINDSEY-R0X!!!!!”, now you know.
- Contests – This area is a bit murky, as Facebook has recently changed a lot of their rules, so even though it is easier to run a contest of Facebook, tread lightly! Remember you can’t share a page to enter the contest. You can’t ask people to tag themselves in pictures for a change to win a prize or share the contest on a friend’s timeline to win a prize. If you want to do some kind of contest, read Facebook Promotion Guidelines, especially small things like post official rules, terms and eligibility and acknowledge that the promo is not sponsored endorsed or administered by Facebook.
- Fake Fans – I said it before in this blog post, but DO NOT buy fake fans. We all want to be liked, but fake fans will NOT help you achieve your goals. Want to know more? I know of a blog post that goes into more detail.
- Advertising – Just because Facebook approves your ad doesn’t mean that you are following the guidelines. The initial approval comes from an automated system, and I’ve had clients that have had their ads approved, and then unapproved because somebody at Facebook finally got around to reviewing it. Break the ad guidelines too many times, and your days are numbered.
So let this be a word of warning to all businesses that rely on Facebook to communicate with their audience and generate leads: You are at the MERCY of Facebook. At the whim of an automated reporting algorithm or a Facebook employee, all of the time and money you spend developing your social media presence can be taken away. Your appeal may fall on deaf ears, your grievances ignored. Because of this, a great insurance policy is to get people to subscribe to your mailing list, but we’ll discuss this more on another day. Beyond that, if your account gets shut down, all I have to offer is a box of tissues and a shoulder to cry on.