If you ask the regular everyday Facebook user about “Facebook Jail”, you may get a half-smirk back at you along with the question, “What the heck is FACEBOOK JAIL?” It makes sense that they wouldn’t have experienced or even heard of it in most cases, because most people aren’t using their Facebook profile for business promotion to the extent that it would warrant suspension.
So why are so many entrepreneurs constantly having their Facebook accounts put on hold?
There have long been rules in place by Facebook (aka Terms of Service or “TOS”) against what people and businesses can and can’t do on the platform, with most of it centered around “spammy” behavior. Yet regularly I watch as large numbers of entrepreneurs end up being placed in “Facebook Jail”. The worst part is that, when it happens, Facebook doesn’t give a specific reason as to why. They do allow for an appeal, but even then the answers that come back still don’t clarify what drew the punishment.
There’s also a very real objective by Facebook towards trying to eliminate overly-promotional material from entering users’ news feeds.
Facebook makes its money from ads that companies buy on the platform. The more that people think their news feed is filled with unwanted ads and posts, the more they potentially will spend less time on and/or leave Facebook. And if people leave, that’s not a good thing for the bottom line. So they want to accommodate users as much as possible.
WARNING: You may not actually LIKE a lot of these tips!
Some of this will directly affect many of you and the strategies that you’ve used so far on Facebook.
This is not law…it’s simply a list of what I’m aware of that will potentially get you in trouble. Some people could ignore all of these recommendations and be perfectly fine, while others will find themselves unable to participate on Facebook many times over.
- DON’T promote your business page on OTHER business pages UNLESS the owner of that other page has given clear permission to do so.
- DO engage with other pages/profiles by leaving appropriate comments, giving likes to posts, and sharing their posts to your profile/page.
- DON’T use Facebook private messaging for promotional purposes…even though it’s a “private” message…its STILL under Facebook control.
- DO use private messaging for actual engaging communication with your friends and prospects, and then move the conversation to email, text, phone, or a face-to-face interaction.
- DON’T post to pages/groups that contain many non-personal profiles. (Examples of these types of pages would be: Garage Sale, Buy/Sell, or Classifieds…the recent update to include the new Facebook Marketplace has started to eliminate the need for these)
- DO post and contribute valuable, useful content to pages and groups that establish you as the “go-to” for a certain topic.
- DON’T post/like/comment on things in a spam-like manner…meaning too quickly and in a short period of time (aka like a “bot”).
- DO act in a natural manner, and try to have a regular schedule that you follow for posting (1-2 times a day, for example). As you are on Facebook during the day there will be content that you will engage with naturally.
- DON’T add people to groups without telling them or inviting them first (this is a BIG one and the negatives outweigh the positives significantly)
- DO give people the choice to join a group or not.
- DON’T send friend requests to people you have NO connection to (meaning you’ve never talked to them in person or in real life). HERE’S WHY: If someone rejects your friend request, then that person has the option to answer a question from Facebook about knowing you or not. If they answer “No”, then Facebook thinks you are spamming people
- DO add people as friends that you have talked to and met in other places, and sometimes its even a better idea to ask their permission as Facebook is a very personal place for many users.
- DON’T use a business name in your business page name, custom URL or personal profile (this one actually can vary depending on your specific company’s policy, so check w/them first)
- DO use your REAL name and information for your personal profile.
- DON’T tag people in photos that they have nothing to do with.
- DO tag your friends when you post status updates, pics or videos when it involves them specifically.
- DON’T post or engage (react/comment/share) in a fashion that could be viewed as spam-like. (Spamming would be defined as “too much, too fast”).
- DO create a schedule for yourself of when you can and/or want to post.
- DON’T copy/paste a post that you know is going to be also posted by many others within your team or company.
- DO use the SHARE button on the post to directly share it from a business page
- DON’T leave lots of empty fields in your About section or Profile Info.
- DO fill those out as completely and with as much information as you can.
- DON’T post your affiliate link on Facebook EXCEPT in the spot for “Website” on your Facebook business page.
- DO use a link shortener like bit.ly or goo.gl (brief video tutorial on how to do this can be found here) to change how your website URL looks IF posted on Facebook. In times when you need to get that info to your prospect, try to move that part of the sales process through to email, phone/text, or face-to-face.
- DON’T use images found through a general search of Google Images to create posts as there’s a chance that it could have already been marked as spam.
- DO use original images that you’ve created or taken yourself, or found from an approved site like this. If you must use images from Google, use the filter (see image below) to weed out ones that are not licensed for reuse.
- DON’T DIRECTLY SELL your company or products using Facebook.
- DO use Facebook to answer questions, provide valuable and useful info, and build actual relationships with others that can turn hashtags into handshakes!