A strong presence on Facebook is a must today for businesses who understand the importance of building brand awareness. Yet if a business’s social media page fails to follow the rules, Facebook may suspend the site. Reinstatement takes time and effort—which takes away time spent doing the actual work of the business.
Not to mention the downtime—all those days that the business won’t have a Facebook presence. Customers, not able to find the business, may think that it has shut down.
And they’ll go elsewhere. The very opposite of why the business got into social media in the first place.
Instead, before that happens, take a little time to look at Facebook’s page guidelines, as the social media gurus at SMC Pros advise.
Facebook Page Cover Pages and Profile Photo Guidelines
For example, know what content a company can and cannot post on its company’s page. No matter what products a company sells, it cannot feature them on its page’s profile picture or cover page, unless the company manufactures them itself. For instance, a café that sells Pepsi products can’t post a photo containing a Pepsi or the Pepsi logo on its cover photo—even if the “Come on in…we’re open” sign in the front of its store has the Pepsi logo on it. Plan cover photo and profile photo shots to conform with this rule.
Facebook Link Sharing Guidelines
Similarly, if a company shares a third party link from its page, it must not edit any of the parts of the post’s preview. Our hypothetical café, then, can’t take a link from an official Pepsi promotion, change the wording on the preview to feature itself, and then post it on its page. It must post the preview as is. It can, however, create content in the text box provided beneath the link.
Watch out for Imposters
Facebook also protects a business’s right to administer the official company page. Although other users may create fan pages to support the business, it mustn’t pose as the company’s official page. Keep an eye out for imposters and report them to Facebook’s support team. Most companies, however, encourage fan pages that don’t try to pose as the official page. Such pages can help the company’s brand go viral.
Facebook Information Collection Guidelines
If a business plans to collect information from its page’s users, it must emphasize that the company—not Facebook itself—is collecting the information. The business must notify users that it wants to collect information, and it must get consent from the user to collect and use the data. Automated data collection is forbidden without prior permission from Facebook.
When businesses post a call to action (CTA), they must handle responders’ requests carefully. They must not use the information the responder provides (email address, phone number, etc., for anything else than to give the service or goods requested in their reply to the CTA.
To use it for more than that—such as in a mailing list—a business must get the person’s consent. A good way to do that is to use a double opt-in for email and other subscriptions. With many automated email providers, such a feature is built right into the platform.
Facebook Promotions and Offers Guidelines
When a company uses Facebook to promote an offer using its special tool, a company can only run the promotion for a limited time. It must clearly disclose restrictions and the expiration date. The business, not Facebook, will be responsible for any disputes that arise. It may offer only those products the business manufactures or sells for the manufacturer. Facebook’s offer creation tool cannot be used to promote a company’s website, contact information, or to offer gift certificates or gift cards.
Contests and other promotions, such as promotional gear giveaways, must state the rules, eligibility requirements, and the terms of participation. Contestants and participants must release Facebook of all responsibility. The sponsoring company must make it clear that Facebook has not endorsed, sponsored or administered the promotion. Participation must not be conditional on liking a page, downloading an app, or checking into a location.
As with offers, the company itself must take on all the risks and responsibilities associated with the promotion. A company may not notify winners using Facebook, whether through the message platform or through posts.
With only a little time and energy invested in knowing the rules, a business can use its Facebook page to promote its brand easily and effectively.