Can you imagine getting evicted from Facebook?
Seriously. Stop and think about it for a moment.
Depending on how long you’ve been on Facebook that could be over a decade of your life gone. It could be the end of relationships with people you’ve met at events and conferences. Because let’s be honest, how many times do we get people’s contact details these days? It is so much easier just to add them as a friend, isn’t it?
What if the biggest communication platform on the planet decided you no longer exist?
You’re evicted from Facebook. You’re gone. Disappeared completely.
How do you feel?
Now, put the personal stuff to one side. What is the impact on your business? What if your business was evicted from Facebook?
What if your business Page disappeared?
These questions may all be hypothetical right now, but what if they became reality?
It’s a serious question.
In the last few days I’ve heard about multiple people getting their accounts shut down. And these accounts were gone without warning.
When I say gone, I mean completely obliterated. People who’ve had their entire facebook existence deleted.
One of my Facebook friends who this happened to said:
“It was like I didn’t even exist. It was so creepy. It wasn’t even like I was grayed out. It was like I was gone.”
She was lucky. Not because her account was shut down, but because she managed to get it back.
She said, “It’s like I’ve risen from the dead.”
She may be back, but her functionality is limited. It is kind of like a naughty school child having to earn back their privileges. So here is the most important thing to remember about Facebook…
Facebook is a rented property
You don’t own your Facebook profile, your friends list, your page followers, your group members, etc.
Facebook owns them. Not you.
It is like a rented property. You can get evicted. And unlike being kicked out of a physical property, that eviction can be without warning.
So what should you do to protect yourself?
#1 – Diversify
Yep, that’s right. Don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket.
When building an audience you want to engage with that audience in as many ways as possible.
Encourage them to follow you on multiple social media platforms, not just one. That means you need to share content on several different platforms. And not the same content either. Make sure you create content that fits the context of how your audience behaves on each platform.
But remember, ALL social media platforms are rental properties.
#2 – Play by the rules
This may be easier said than done.
Why? Because Facebook’s community standards are open to interpretation.
Here are a few ‘best practice’ tips to help keep you on the right side of the rules…
Use Your Real Name
Facebook wants you to use your real name on your personal profile.
Sounds kind of obvious, right? But for some reason some people use names that are different from the ones on their ID.
The name on your profile should be the name that your friends call you in everyday life. You can use a nicknames as a first or middle name if it is a variation of your actual name (like Bob instead of Robert).
Posting the exact same thing in multiple places on Facebook can be viewed as spam. For example, copying and pasting a post into loads of different groups.
This also applies on Messenger.
Sending the same message to several individuals on Messenger is a bad idea. It can get your Messenger account suspended or banned.
Limit Your Friend Requests
Sending too many requests in quick succession can get you in trouble. So can sending requests to people you don’t know!
The number of friend requests you can make each day is limited. If you go over the limit you should get a warning. If this happens to not ignore it or you could find your account gets shut down.
Respect Intellectual Property Rights
Before sharing content on Facebook, please make sure that you have the right to do so.
Do not breach someone else’s intellectual property rights. Posting copyright or trademark content is against Facebook’s terms of service.
Don’t Treat Your Profile Like A Business Page
Yes, I know MANY people use their personal Facebook profile fro business. Sometimes I do it too. But it is technically against Facebook’s terms of service.
What I’m about to say is just my opinion – like I said above, the rules are open to interpretation.
I think your profile should always be about you. It is ok to show your lifestyle as an entrepreneur or business owner. But…
There is a fine line between that and blatant business promotion
If you are constantly plugging products and services and trying to sell on your profile, that is business activity. These days Facebook is essentially a pay to play platform for businesses. Organic reach on business pages is almost non-existent. Paid promotion is how Facebook makes its money.
Using your profile to try and avoid this is like being one of those people that go to events as a delegate with the sole intention of trying to sell their products or services to other delegates. If the event organisers see you doing this they will ask you to stop. They may even eject you from the building.
Think about it. There are paid sponsors who help make the event happen. How would you feel if you invested in sponsorship and then saw other people (who hadn’t paid) getting the same sales opportunities?
Why should Facebook be any different?
If you are trying to get 5,000 friends (the Facebook limit) so you can post pseudo ads to them, don’t be surprised when it gets reported as SPAM.
In fact, I recently had a client of mine send me a screenshot of a Facebook ad asking me how it had been approved. It had content that was clearly in breech Facebook’s advertising rules.
The answer was simple. It wasn’t an ad. It was a post on a personal profile. And it was EXACTLY the type of post that is likely to get your whole Facebook account closed down.
Whilst we are on this subject, disapproved ads matter too. If Facebook see you trying to bend the rules, you increase the likelihood they will review your account.
You have been warned!