Many companies find it hard to take Facebook seriously. They understand that their customers are there … and their competitors … so they are there also. However, it is hard to take a free site seriously, especially one that remains rather light-hearted and not a hardcore marketing platform. However, there are rules. Companies that don’t understand those rules (or hire someone who does) risk having their accounts deleted. And once an account is shut down, the email used to sign up for that account will never be allowed on Facebook again.
While many companies (and even some marketing firms) are either not aware of these rules or feel they won’t get caught, it may only be a matter of time before Facebook catches up with them (especially if they have competitors, who would like to see their pages gone).
Here are a few of the mistakes that are in direct violation of Facebook Terms of Service and are grounds for Page deletion by Facebook:
Personal Profile Page Used for Business
In the beginning there were no Facebook business pages. Companies, who wanted to start marketing there, began to use personal pages for their companies (first name: The Widget; last name: Company). While this was never legal, many companies managed to amass many “friends” on these pages. Some are still using them and don’t want to try to ask all of the “friends” to “like” a business page.
Unfortunately, using a Profile for marketing is a direct violation of Facebook Guidelines. A Personal Profile must be an actual person. In addition, there are features included in a Business Page that are missing from Personal Profile pages. Features that would actually help a company succeed with their Facebook marketing campaign.
For more information see the Facebook Help Section.
Advertising in your Cover Photo
That large beautiful open space at the top of the Business Page is a tempting location to place company information. However, Facebook has very strict guidelines regarding the information that can be used in the Cover Photo.
Cover photos cannot include any contact information (website address, email, phone number), specific directions instructing visitors to click “Like” (arrows/”click Like”) and absolutely no coupons, deals or special offers – no sales messages at all.
So what can go on this high value Real Estate? Anything that does not smack of marketing or advertising.
For more information on Facebook Cover Photos, see the Facebook Guidelines.
Contests & Promotions in Updates
Because most of us use Facebook as a marketing platform, it seems counter-intuitive that Facebook forbids running a promotion or contest directly on the Facebook Page. Posting updates requiring people to “like” “share” or “tag” in order to win a prize is prohibited. In fact involving any of Facebook’s features in a contest of any kind violates Facebook’s Terms.
Contests and promotions must be handled by a Third Party App, which outlines the promotion or contest details outside of the Facebook environment.
For more information see Promotion Guidelines.
While many companies, who violate Facebook’s Terms are “slipping under the radar,” they should be aware that now that Facebook has gone Public, scrutiny of Facebook Business Pages will probably increase. Also, it may only take one competitor to “blow the whistle” and your page could disappear.
Companies, who are unsure of the guidelines or have received notifications from Facebook that they have violated the terms, should hire a professional to help get their pages to comply with the rules.
Facebook has graduated – it’s not just for college students and kids. It has become a mainstream marketing tool, and many companies have seen great marketing success using this powerful platform. It would be a shame to see their hard work evaporate when their Pages are removed.