AND Poof, It’s Gone! Account Suspended

Account Suspended!Account Closed

How can you avoid the Account Suspended notice? We have all seen this….the personal Facebook profile account where a person uses their first or last name combined with their business name in some “creative” smashed-hyphenated attempt to avoid setting up a dedicated Business Fan Page and then poof…it’s gone! These companies thought this was the right way to setup thier accounts or they received poor consulting advice thinking that personal accounts allow you to make friend requests and Business Pages do not.

Some of the rules have changed with the New Timeline and some are still in effect. Often times these companies are not aware of Facebook’s rules on setting up accounts, or their Terms of Service (TOS), but the manager or consulting firm should have been aware of the rules.

I would also guess they are unfamiliar with the history of Facebook closing down accounts or putting restrictions on posting activity let alone Facebook’s limited customer service that makes it difficult for you to work out problems or learn why your account has been suspended. If those same companies realized the difficulty and headache in defending their actions against Facebook when violating any of their terms, they may think twice about violating any of the rules in order to keep their presence on the #1 social networking site.

Just imagine if you have been following the personal/business page rule but are still not aware of other potential violation risks? You have nurtured your fan following, built great content week after week only to learn that Facebook has removed it due to just one simple little thing…..violation of terms in running a contest. “A contest, I didn’t run a contest” or wait, “My Social Media Manager set something up on my account and now my Business page has been removed because of too many “likes” in running a contest” Yes, per Facebook’s terms, this is becoming more and more common as facebook cracks down on violators.

Your business cannot afford the account suspended setback nor do you want the migraine associated with the dead end responses after trying to re-activate an account. You as the owner of all accounts must also be aware of the rules, don’t leave this up to only people that may be administering your account. You need to know if your Personal Profile or Business Page may be in violation over very simple issues that you have more control over than you think…long before you get that closed notification.

What are the top reasons for Facebook to close your account?

Using a Facebook Profile as a Business Page

  • Naming a personal account by a business name is one way to violate the Personal Profile terms…so is trying to cram your personal name in with the business name.
  • Even if you do name your personal account by your “real name”, if the vast majority of your posts are all about your business or you are consistently promoting your business, this is also a violation and an easy way to be reported for spammy content.
  • Besides, why limit your following to only 5000? A Business Page permits unlimited Fans and the New Business Page Timeline  does so much more in promotions and marketing than a personal profile offers. And remember your “friends” are getting tired of hearing about your business all the time and are likely hiding your posts anyway.

Requiring Facebook Interaction to Run a Contest

  • Yup that’s right! Part of Facebook’s TOS is you may not require people to “Like”, “Tag” or “Share” on Facebook in order to participate in a contest or promotion. This is a HUGE violation due to Facebook’s required legal compliance with the FTC. There are specific rules on how contests can be managed and any website that “runs” a contest must meet FTC regulations and take full responsibility of how the contest is run. Facebook refuses to take on this risk for the X number of million account holders and therefore, understandably (And honestly can you blame them?), forbids people from using their website to run these contests.
  • Not using a 3rd Party App to run a contest. It’s really this simple….if you want to run a contest or promotion, you cannot do this directly on Facebook even if you are not requiring people to “Like”, “Tag” or “Share”.  You must move the contest off-site or use a 3rd Party App within Facebook that takes you off-site.
  • You also may not announce the winners of a contest on Facebook. You can announce the winners using your 3rd Party App or website and provide a link to it from Facebook, but you cannot use Facebook to list those individuals directly in a post.

Promotional Cover Page

  • Unlike the first two, this is a fairly new rule with the launching of the Business Page Timeline. I see this violation all the time due to switching over from the long vertical profile images in which we could insert our contact information. Not any more. A Cover Page may not contain any promotional content nor your contact information nor website. Your Cover Page is your Brand Image, not your promotional billboard…I know it is tempting, but rethink your image and how you can present your Brand without the need of filler contact information. Tell a story that is more powerful than a generic listing of your website, hours and contact information.

One last thing to keep in mind if you think you can just open a new account. You will not be able to reuse the email account associated with the closed account. Facebook also has the ability to associate your IP address with your email and closed account. If you try to open a new one using the same information and from the same IP address, they are capable of monitoring this activity and shutting down the account again.

As mentioned before…I see these violations daily as I consult with businesses. If you are aware of these simple rules that may put your account in jeopardy, you also have the needed knowledge to make wise choices in who you put in charge of your social media management and marketing. Ask the company setting up your account if they know and understand Facebook’s Terms of Service and how they will handle promotions, contests, branding and posts. Ask for references to accounts they manage along with case studies so you can learn how they setup campaigns and strategies. Talk with people that may be aware of accounts they manage and how they setup their marketing campaigns.

If the company managing your Facebook account is violating these terms on their own accounts, other business’ accounts or currently yours, you may want to ask what else may they be violating and putting you at risk for. If the company is not interested in learning and following the rules ultimately it is you that will pay the price. Just a little bit of knowledge can help you avoid a ticking time bomb of loosing all you have worked hard for in building that Fan base so one day when you log in, you do not read “Account Suspended”!


 

Allographics & Design based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, specializes in web, graphic and social media design and consulting. If you would like to learn how we can strengthen your online branding and marketing or to book a workshop to better understand the major social media tools available for your business, contact us for more information.

Social Media & Online Marketing Training – Oklahoma