5 Rules to Live by When Posting on Facebook

These rules are well established in Facebook´s guidelines for businesses, but it´s good to be reminded of them from time to time in order to avoid consequences such as having your page taken down. Read on and avoid the risks!

5 Rules to Live by When Posting on Facebook

1. Promotions on Facebook Have to Be Delivered by Third-Party Applications

UPDATE: Facebook announced updated guidelines for promotions on August 27th, 2013. From now on, you don´t have to run your contests or sweepstakes through third-party applications – read more about it in our blog post here!

This is probably the most frequently broken rule by admins. Businesses often run promotions, competitions, and sweepstakes on their Pages using Facebook´s functionalities, which is clearly prohibited in the promotions guidelines. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App and they have to include an acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

Furthermore, you cannot use any Facebook features as part of the promotion or participation other than liking your page, checking in, or connecting to your app (which only serves as an access to the entry form). For example, you cannot ask people to participate in a contest by uploading a photo onto your wall or encourage them to vote by commenting on or liking other wall posts. Announcing winners through Facebook , such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages is also prohibited.

2. Page Names and Facebook Web Addresses Must Accurately Reflect Page Content

Facebook can remove administrative rights or require you to change the Page name (and Facebook web address) for any Page that doesn’t comply with the general guidelines. In order to prevent this from happening, don’t create a name that consists solely of generic terms like “beer” or “pizza” (your Page always has to reflect your brand and not only what you offer, so “beer” is not acceptable while Beck´s Beer is), avoid character symbols such as excessive punctuation and trademark designations, don’t include superfluous descriptions or unnecessary qualifiers, use proper, grammatically correct capitalization, and stay away from capitals unless your brand is an acronym (for example, Marks and Spencer is lower case whereas MTV or KFC can afford to be capitalized because they are brand acronyms that are instantly recognizable).

3. Cover Photos Are More Relaxed, but Still Require Caution

Rules regarding Cover photos have relaxed since Facebook took down the 20% text rule and enabled Page admins to include their contact details, sales information, and the ability to encourage their fans to Like their Page and share their content. But before you start feeling too comfortable, don’t forget that Cover Photos are perceived as a problem when they are deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else´s copyright. Also, you shouldn’t encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.

4. Make it Clear that you are Collecting the Data, not Facebook

Whether promotional or not, whenever you collect content or information from a Facebook user, it is your responsibility to clarify that you (and not Facebook) are collecting the data. As mentioned in the guidelines, “If you collect content and information directly from users, you will make it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting it, and you will provide notice about and obtain user consent for your use of the content and information that you collect. Regardless of how you obtain content and information from users, you are responsible for securing all necessary permissions to reuse their content and information.” Learn more in Facebook´s Platform Policies.

5. You may only run offers if you are the merchant for or the manufacturer of the product

Facebook guidelines make it quite clear that you can only run an offer if you are the merchant for or the manufacturer of the product or service you are promoting. If you decide to run an offer that can only be redeemed at a different merchant (not operated by you), it is still your responsibility to ensure that it is delivered. Naturally, all Facebook offers must clearly and prominently disclose any restrictions on your offer (such as expiration date or limitations on redemption). Also be sure to use the offer creation tool for its intended functionality. This prohibits promoting your website or other contact information, or offering gift cards, gift certificates etc.

Make sure you read every update of the Facebook Page terms (this article is based on the version revised on July 1st, 2013) as well as the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. It will help you ensure a healthy relationship with Facebook and your community!

Staff Writer

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