Ignorance is bliss, so the old saying goes. But when it comes to breaking the Terms of Service for using Facebook for businesses, ignorance could come with a high price. If you're not willing to risk the price of possibly getting yourself banned by Facebook, read on.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when using Facebook for social media marketing is related to their use of cover photos. Newbies and seasoned marketers alike seem to be confused about the rules and regulations (aka the Terms of Service or TOS) related to Facebook business fan pages. Surprisingly, even people calling themselves "social media professionals" are flagrantly breaking the rules when it comes to Facebook fan pages. (Just a note – when you hire a social media professional, check around to make sure they're using techniques that are legitimate and allowed in their own businesses!)
Maybe it's inevitable. Since Facebook has both business and personal pages, it might be natural to assume that any legal form of marketing on your business fan page is acceptable under the Facebook Business Fan Page Terms of Service. And before Facebook went to the new timeline format, there seemed to be a lot more latitude regarding what you could and couldn't do when using Facebook for your business.
But not knowing the rules for your Facebook business page cover photo could have serious consequences. It could get you temporarily or permanently kicked off of Facebook! How would that impact your ability to market your business?
The Top 3 Rules Broken on Facebook by Businesses:
#1 – Not using a Facebook Business Fan Page
Believe it or not, there are still people trying to use personal Facebook profile pages for their businesses instead of using a Fan page. This clearly violates Facebook's terms of service, not to mention seriously limits the Facebook features available to you for marketing your business (no limit on friends/Likes, analysis tools to measure your traffic and engagement, etc.)
#2 – Contest Confusion
When it comes to contests, it's not anything goes. You may not use any features of Facebook within your contest. You can't run a contest where the most number of shares on a picture or post wins, for example. Contests must be run through a third party app on your page, not using Facebook or its features itself. You can't use features of Facebook as conditions for entering the contest (commenting on a Facebook post, for example). And you can't use Facebook to notify the winners of your contest.
#3 – Cover Photo
Your cover photo is a prime piece of real estate when it comes to the Facebook fan page for your business. Naturally, you're going to want to put lots of information about your company up there, but DON'T! This is one of the most common violations of the Facebook terms of service by businesses. Facebook fan page covers must not include the following:
- Deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone's copyright
- Must not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines
May not include images with more than 20% text[Updated in Facebook’s Most Recent Changes]
If you're guilty of these 3 forbidden actions, please get to work and update your Fan Page now. And if you're not sure – please contact me and we can talk about any questions you have about what's legal and not on your fan page.
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