How To Set Up Your Own Facebook House Rules

Why should you have Facebook House Rules? Because:

Imagine that Facebook is like a playground, where your brand can regularly connect with people and build strong relationships. As you know not everyone plays fair, and each Fan Page has its bullies posting negative or abusive comments; that’s why it’s crucial to publish ‘House Rules’ that will clearly state the purpose of your Facebook Page and identify inappropriate content that can (and probably should) be removed.

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Deleting posts is definitely not an advised social network practice, but there are exceptions as to when it’s acceptable.

When fans post discriminatory comments or posts, Facebook’s of­ficial terms of use will always have the last word. As an Admin, you can encourage a healthier community with your own guidelines. Not only is it good to have these guidelines, it’s becoming necessary with all the irrelevant conversations taking over the social network, so you need to provide your fans with a space for constructive dialogue that will engage them with your brand.

House Rules are usually included in the ‘About’ section, on the company’s website, or they also often appear in the page’s tabs or notes, but before you present your audience with a bunch of restrictions, check out the following basic tips:

1. Publish Your Facebook Mission Statement

You can create a bigger sense of belonging and community by publishing your Facebook mission statement. By clearly stating the purpose of your Facebook page, you can motivate your fans to interact with your brand in a desirable way; so, if you were an interior designer, you could ask your fans to share innovative ideas and DIY inspiration which you could later apply to your projects thanks to the so called ‘Fansourcing’ trend.

It’s always better to start off with what you would like them to post instead of confronting them with a list of behaviors that are prohibited.

2. Keep Your Facebook Page Spam-Free

Some Facebook users may not be contributing beneficially to your page, for example: when they are posting content like “Watch my new video” or “Like my Gardening Page”. If they keep doing that often, you should remove their random and irrelevant content, which is pointlessly taking up space, so don’t forget to mention this privilege and condition in your guidelines.

3. Accept Negative Feedback, Remove Inappropriate Behavior

The posts sent to your wall will not always be positive and flattering. You will always get frustrated with people expressing their dissatisfaction with your products or services, and you should be ready to address their problems and answer their questions as a socially devoted company. Don’t remove the conversations that are uncomfortable or embarrassing. But, the ones that cross the line by using inappropriate or offensive language that can trigger fights with other users should be removed (grudgingly, but appropriately). The House Rules should not tolerate such behavior so make sure to state this clearly.

4. Protect Your Fans

Protect the most valuable asset of your Facebook Page – your fans. The following are some of the most commonly addressed things in community guidelines:

  • Offensive or violent language
  • Hateful or discriminatory comments regarding race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or political beliefs
  • Links or comments containing sexually explicit content material
  • Violations of copyright or intellectual property rights
  • Spam, link baiting or files containing viruses that could damage the operation of other people’s computers or mobile devices
  • Attacks on specific groups or any comments meant to harass, threaten or abuse an individual
  • Commercial solicitations or the promotion of a competitor

Check out how Subway and Converse embraced a completely different aproach to their rules.

Subway: Respect Your Fellow Fans

The House Rules of the US-based Subway fast food chain strives to protect you and your fellow fans:

“In keeping a positive experience for our fans, we reserve the right to take down photos, comments and other material deemed "unproductive,” by the SUBWAY® team. This includes, but is not limited to, vulgar language, disturbing photos, angry or aggressive behavior toward fellow fans, famous fans or our team members, and posting anything in violation of any intellectual property right of another. If someone persists in offensive behavior or continually violates any of our house rules, we may block that person from further participation. So please, just remember to respect your fellow fans.”

Converse: Keep It Cool

Converse shoes chose a very original approach to ‘House Rules’, reflecting the brand´s image and asking fans to be nice to people as they learned in kindergarten and to keep it clean, as if they were sharing the post with their mother.

Each socially devoted company should have clear House Rules that will define the purpose of the Fan page. Smaller brands can outline basic principles while bigger brands should publish detailed guidelines considering bigger traffic on the page. They not only prevent your page from Facebook bullies, they also offer your brand´s philosophy and personality, just like in the case of the laid back Converse shoes. What are your rules of the game?

P.S.: Don´t forget to save the date for the upcoming Engage 2012 event taking place October 23rd in New York City! Find out more here.

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