What you Can’t do on Facebook Business Pages

While not technically part of SEO, we have been speaking to several clients recently here at accountantSEO about business pages on Facebook and how to use them so we took a detailed look at the rules and that has generated this article.

The first question to ask is does your firm have a Facebook page?  You may have been told that you need one for your marketing and while there is some doubt about the effectiveness of Facebook pages for professional services this is not what this blog post is about.

The next question, and the most important one in this post is – do you know that Facebook may delete your page without warning if it breaches the terms and conditions that you agreed to when you created your business page?

You may not have read the pages and pages of terms and conditions (very few people do with most of them just ticking the box) but this is no excuse and it’s definitely a case of “ignorance is not bliss”.  Facebook says “We reserve the right to reject or remove pages for any reason” and they are not kidding, there is no warning either – you could log in one day and find that it’s gone, along with all the followers that you have painstakingly gathered.

Some of the more common rules that are broken every day and can lead to your page being deleted are :-

  • The cover photo (the big image at the top of the page) can’t be used as an advert.  Typical examples of what is considered an advert are :-
    • Including contact details (so remove website addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and so on).  If the image contains anything that could be considered as a way to contact you Facebook could treat the image as an advert.
    • Including purchase information or prices.   This is less likely to be a problem for firms of Accountants than pages for retail businesses but don’t have anything that says, for example, “Accountancy packages from £50 per month”.
    • Including calls to action.  Remove that “Contact us now” wording from the image.
    • Asking for people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines
  • The cover image should also not be one that you do not own or have the rights to use, that is deceptive or misleading.  Make sure that if it’s not a photo you have taken that you have a licence to use it – don’t just grab an image from Google and use it without permission (this is a breach of copyright law anyway).
  • While on the subject of the cover image it needs to be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall (a slightly odd size) and be under 100 Kb in file size.

Other and much more common things that can cause your page to be deleted are termed promotion rules.  Look at almost any Facebook business page and you will see at least one of these rules being broken (but just because everyone else does it doesn’t mean that it’s safe for you to do so).

You can’t run any sort of promotion, sweepstake or competition on your page that uses Facebook’s features or functionality (“like this post / share this photo / upload your photo to this page / comment on this post” for example). Similarly you mustn’t hold Facebook responsible – you must include something like “This promotion is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated by Facebook”.

The competition must be more that just liking your page or sending you a photo – while the liking can be part of the competition the entrant must do more than that (you might want to look at a custom app or page where people have to answer a question for example).

Another thing you can’t do is to use the “like” button as a way of voting – just the most likes of a photo is not ok, nor is a competition that relies on other functionality such as a “the person that invites the most new followers”.

Oddly, for a competition that you would be holding on Facebook you can’t tell the winners that they have won using Facebook – so you can’t send them a message, post on a page (theirs or yours) or even use Facebook chat to notify them that they have won.

Finally, your page name and Facebook business user name must reflect your business name, it can’t just be a generic word (such as accountants).  The page name also can’t be all in capitals (unless your organisations name is an acronym – HSBC for example).  You also can’t use characters such as bullet points, excessive punctuation or trademark symbols in the page name.

We hope that this brief guide has helped and will stop your Facebook page from being deleted.  The best advice we can give you is to read the terms and conditions, and go back to them on a regular basis as they are updated often and just because your page is ok now it may fall foul of the rules next month or the month after.

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