Do you have a business? Are you selling a product or service? Maybe you’re an author selling your books but you haven’t really considered yourself as being a ‘business person’ as yet.
If you are using Facebook to promote your product or service, have you set up a Facebook page? If you are using a Facebook profile instead of a Facebook page, you could lose it. Yes, that’s right, it is against the rules to use a personal profile as a business and Facebook is shutting down the pages or piles of businesses that break the rules.
What is the difference between a profile and a page? Your personal profile enables you to connect with friends. Facebook stipulates that individuals ‘like’ the business page in order to see the updates. The business, therefore, can’t connect with individuals and their privacy is protected.
Yet, time and time again, I come across businesses using personal profiles. Sometimes it is because they didn’t realise they had to have a business page, sometimes they want to grow their numbers of likers by sending friend requests until they reach they maximum of 5000. Some plan to convert it to a page then, others will leave it as it is. There’s a few problems with that system. Many people won’t befriend you as they don’t necessarily know who is behind the account. You can’t use any of the features that facebook pages have such as accessing Insights (analytics), scheduling or using advertising. The most serious repercussion is that Facebook can shut down your profile. Sometimes they give it back on appeal, sometimes they don’t. Imagine you have 5000 ‘friends’ and you lose each and every one of them. Apart from the embarrassment, you would have to start again from scratch.
That’s what happened to author Jessica Bell. She was using a personal profile, she had the word ‘author’ in it, and on the day of her planned launch on Facebook, they shut down her profile. It sounds as though they considered her use of her profile to be business use and unfortunately for Jessica, they chose the worst possible day to close it down. To give Jessica huge credit, she has shared her experience so others can learn from it.
Many authors are wondering if Facebook is right for them as they see a decline in their reach and interaction but as I pointed out in a recent post, Facebook is a wonderful place to grow a community and fans, you just have to provide the type of material they expect and they enjoy – be entertaining, be informative, provide beautiful pictures, be engaging, and it’s much easier to grow your reach. If you’re using a profile, you can’t even see what your reach is plus you are running the risk of social embarrassment.
As you can see in this screenshot, a simple (and I guess, amusing) update featuring new pink wellies on my farming page received good interaction as lots of farm women commented and enjoyed the conversation – my perfect target market. I could have shared that picture on my personal profile but I wouldn’t have been able to tell how effective it was for one thing.
If you wish to start a Facebook page, you need to go to Create A Page and follow the step-by-step instructions. Don’t put it off. You will need your logo or a photograph to be sized to 160 x 160 for the avatar, and the cover image is 851 x 315. You can crop images easily in Picmonkey or use a variety of images to create a collage – just like these ones.
More Facebook Rules:
- The images in your facebook ads cannot contain more than 20% text.
- If you have boosted an update where the image has over 20% text, it is likely to be rejected. You can check it in the grid tool.
- You cannot ask people to share your update for a chance of winning a prize. Facebook is closing down pages that do this. I’m frequently meeting businesses who don’t realise that this rule exists – simply because so many businesses are breaking the rules and seemingly getting away with it. If running a simple competitition on Facebook, you can ask people to comment for a chance of winning a prize (e.g. the funniest caption will win) but you cannot ask them to share your update or tag others in the comments.
- Obviously enough, anything that is seen to incite racism, hate, violence or includes nudity is going to be banned by Facebook too.
With 1.4billion users, it’s obvious that some rule breakers are going to slip through the cracks but don’t get too complacent. As a business, you really don’t want the embarrassment, not to mention the hassle, of losing your presence on Facebook.
What do you think? Are the rules too strict or perhaps you think Facebook should be more vigilant with rule breakers? Are you confident you aren’t breaking the rules?