Facebook has become the pinacle of Social Media platforms. It is the most widely used social network on the web today with Twitter running a distant 2nd. Facebook is simple to use and easy to get started. Any business owner can create a business page by filling out the required information and agreeing to Facebook’s “terms of service”.
Lately numerous companies have been rumored to have had their Facebook business pages deleted for not complying with Facebook’s terms of service policies. By losing their page, also losing thousands of fans and followers and an amazing internet marketing tool. In today’s Social Internet society this could be devastating.
Many companies have been fooled into thinking that by being located in an obscure part of the world or being a smaller company with fewer fans that their company will somehow not draw the attention of the “Policy Police”. However, Facebook’s terms of service are very descriptive and apply to all users. All it takes is one angry customer or one of your competitors with a better knowledge of these policies to blow the whistle and the headache begins. Small local businesses have lost their pages over their own ignorance of simple policy violations.
Here is a link to Facebook’s Terms of Service and Facebook Page Guidelines for you to review. This article is to serve as a “basic interpretation” of Facebook’s policies and is in no way authoritative.
There are a number of Facebook policies that the average page admin breaks on a daily basis. With this in mind we have compiled some of the more commonly violated policies for you to examine.
The Large image at the top of the page.
- You can not include contact information (ie: no website address, no phone number, no email, etc.) – That’s what your about box and info page are for. Basically if it’s a way to get in touch with you, or if there’s a field for that information on your info page, then it cannot go in your cover photo.
- You can not include pricing or purchase information – ie: ’40% off…’ or ‘Get yours now at our website…”
- You can not reference any “user interface element” – ie: you can’t ask for, mention or even use a graphic to point to Like, Share or any other Facebook feature. Facebook even makes special mention that you cannot encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.
- You can not include calls to action – ie: ‘Get yours now’ or ‘Tell your friends’.
- You can not use an image you do not own or have the rights to use, that is false, deceptive or misleading.
- Your cover image should be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall and under 100 kbs in file size.
Here’s where many begin to feel guilty because many break some of these rules on a daily basis. It’s these very rules that caused a small restaurant to lose their page along with 9,500 fans (ouch).
- You can not run any sort of promotion, competition, sweepstakes etc on your Facebook page using Facebook’s features and functionality – ie: make sure you use an app or ‘custom page’ and not ‘like this update’, ‘share this photo’, ‘upload your photo to our page’, ‘add a comment’ and so on, to enter.
- You must disclose who entrants in your promotion will be giving information to. The usual wording is “Participants are providing information to [your company name and the name of any other companies who see entrants information] and not to Facebook.”
- You can not use any Facebook features or functionality as part of the promotion or participation other than liking your page, checking in or connecting to your app.
- You can not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism – ie: the act of liking your page or checking in cannot automatically register or enter the person in your promotion. Basically a condition of entry can be to like your page but the fan must then complete their entry on your Facebook app or custom page.
- You can not use the Like button as a way of voting (eg: most likes wins is not okay). Any other Facebook feature or functionality cannot be used for voting either (eg: The person who invites the most new fans wins …)
- You can not notify winners through Facebook – ie: don’t use Facebook message, chat or posting on the winner’s page, your page or another company’s page to notify winners.
- You can not hold Facebook responsible: So you must include a disclaimer that releases Facebook of any responsibility – eg: You’ve got to mention something along the lines of “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook”. This is best put on the page/s of your app and in your terms and conditions on your website.
- Share this [update / photo / video etc] to be in to win…
- Upload a photo / video …
- Every 50th new fan wins…
- Add a comment …
- Invite your friends to like our page …
- Answer this question …
- Photo with the most likes wins …
- Whether promotional or not, whenever you collect content or information from a Facebook user, you have to make it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting it.
Your page name
- Your page name and your Facebook username must reflect / match your company name. So if your company sells Wine, and is called “Southern Vineyards”, then your page name should be “Southern Vineyards” or “Southern Vineyards Wine” but not “Wine” as you can not call your page a generic term – eg: “Milk” or “Bread”.
- Your page name cannot be entirely in capitals unless your organisation’s name is an acronym. So “Oklahoma Machine Gun” can call their page “OKMG”. However, you can not use all caps for any other reason. If it’s not an acronym, your page name cannot be all caps.
- You also cannot use character symbols, such as bullet points, trademark symbols, or excessive punctuation in your page name.
Before you run a Facebook Ad, carefully read through the Facebook Advertising Guidelines. These policies are very extensive and would require a separate article. So for the sake of time, I advise doing some homework of your own prior to beginning a Facebook ad campaign.
I hope the information presented here at least got your attention and has made you reconsider your approach to using Facebook as a marketing tool. Please do not treat this article as authoritative or the guide on which you base your decisions for Facebook marketing. It is was created to point you to the policies set forth by Facebook itself and make you aware of said policies. These policies are changed frequently by Facebook and should be visited often to assure compliance.