Nice little Facebook page you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything were to happen to it….
Does that sound menacing? Good, because violating the Terms of Service is a silly way to get your firm kicked out of the social networking Goliath. Why put all your work at risk by abusing the privilege through ignoring or failing to understand the policies for business use? The consequences are significant and permanent. Should your business be penalized for misuse, you’ll never be allowed to use the email address associated with the account on another page. Besides that, all your fans and followers will be lost, along with your chance to reach them at the touch of a keyboard. What a waste of audience and resources!
Following their IPO it’s highly likely that the platform will be looking harder at users’ accounts to check for compliance, so if you aren’t sure your firm page is within the guidelines, now is a good time to give it a quick check. This article in socialmediatoday examines three of the most common TOS violations that cost businesses their Facebook access.
- Profile or page? This one’s easy – profiles are only for individual people to use as personal networking space. Pages are Facebook’s gift to businesses, which can create a page for the company and/or for individual products. Facebook says about pages, “By leveraging the real connections between friends on Facebook, a Page lets Fans become brand advocates. Posts by the Page will start to appear in News Feed, giving Pages a stronger voice to reach their Fans.” This means your page activity will show up to friends just as if you were posting from a personal page. However, using a personal profile for a business is a direct violation of the rules. In addition to offering loads of advice for making the most of your company page, the platform gives business pages special features that personal profiles lack, including
- An unlimited number of followers (as opposed to personal profiles, which are limited to 5000 friends)
- Custom tabs and apps that you can tailor for special marketing campaigns or blogs
- Analytical tools to help you assess the effectiveness of your activities
- The option to make the page interconnected to your other networking sites
- Timeline Cover Photo rules. There are specific rules for what you may and may not do with this element of a page, and you may be surprised to learn that it’s not okay to include contact info, web addresses or any kind of promotion. Calls to action and efforts to encourage visitors to like or share the page are similarly forbidden here, although you can certainly include them in other locations.
- Promotions based on Facebook features. Marketing activities like contests or promotions that include sharing or liking are absolutely off-limits. Your firm can get booted permanently for this. It’s fine to try for likes and shares by offering fantastic content, and it’s perfectly okay to have contests, drawings and all manner of other promotional games. They just can’t be based on actions that involve Facebook’s proprietary functions. Besides using a personal profile for your business, this is probably the easiest way to lose your firm’s page.
Facebook is free, easy and well worth the time it takes to participate for many accounting firms. But please, to reap the benefits of your Facebook marketing efforts, make sure your firm is in compliance with the Terms of Service.