Facebook Rule 1: Keep Up With the New Rules
The first rule of Facebook as follows: As soon as you learn the rules, they will change. In fact, things change so often that elaborate hoaxes are often circulated to take advantage of people, like this one about privacy protection in exchange for a post. You can keep up with Facebook news on their newsfeed for Product News. The following rules are just some of the many changes that are happening at Facebook right now. Be sure you keep up with changes as they happen. We will report on them on the Zoetica Facebook page, on Twitter at @zoeticamedia and @kamichat, and on LinkedIn, Google+ and here at Zoetica Talks.
Facebook Rule 2: Scrub Out Promotional Language
Starting this month, Facebook is changing how it serves posts from your Facebook company page. Facebook is looking to suppress content that is too promotional.
What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads. This may seem counterintuitive but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.
According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Facebook Rule 3: Add a Call to Action Button to Your Page
Late last year, Facebook started to roll out a call to action button for Facebook Pages. Instead of the familiar LIKE button for your page, you can now choose from seven call to actions, including Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, SignUp or Watch Video. These might not be available on your Facebook page yet, but when it is you will see it to the left of your LIKED page button (see it circled on the Houston Social Media Breakfast Page above). The online retailer Dollar Shave Club page reports that the call to action button delivered 2.5x more conversion in the three weeks they tested it last year. Notably missing from the choices are Donate Now and Apply Now, among others. Which call to action button do you wish Facebook would add?
Facebook Rule 4: Be Prepared for More Mobile Apps
Okay, this rule isn’t really for you, but it is something you need to be aware of. Facebook's revenue growth is coming from mobile ads and its other advertising is stagnant. As a result, Facebook is chopping up and expanding its network into multiple apps. If they think they can make it into a mobile app, they will. First, they launched Pages Manager, then Messenger, and the Facebook Groups App (you can still access groups via the main app). Facebook also launched another App called Rooms (currently for iOS only) to allow people to build forum-like Rooms on any topic, and of course they own both Instagram and What’sApp, which are both wildly popular mobile apps. They are investing heavily into mobile and you will do well to have your own mobile strategy for Facebook by making sure your content is prime for mobile platforms and that your website is also mobile friendly in case someone clicks over from Facebook or other networks on a mobile platform.
Facebook Rule 5: You Do Not Own Your Facebook Page
Late last year, Facebook introduced its Privacy Basics to help users set up their privacy to their liking. They have set up the Privacy Basics landing page to help you more easily set your privacy across all devices. Facebook has also updated their terms (TOS), data policy and cookies policy to take effect on January 30, 2015. While they weren’t recently updated, you also need to take a look at the terms for any Facebook Pages you might run. And as a marketer, you need to know everything on the Promotions Guidelines, which apply if you offer contests, sweepstakes, and other types of promotions on Facebook. You can keep up with changes about Facebook rules on the Facebook Site Governance Page. We recommend that you take the time to read these documents, no matter how dry they may seem. Some of the highlights from the most recently updated TOS that struck us as interesting were:
Your Content and Information on Facebook
There has been a lot of concern about intellectual property rights on social networking platforms. Facebook addresses this with its new rules with its standard language.
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings….You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it. (Sharing Your Conent and Information, #2, TOS)
Facebook does share personal information about its users with advertisers. They are very clear when they say, “Our goal is to deliver advertising and other commercial or sponsored content that is valuable to our users and advertisers.” They also are clear they will use your name, profile picture, content, and information in ads. Right now it is used as social proof, as in showing the names of your friends who LIKE a certain page, etc.
You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it. (About Advertisements and Other Commercial Content Served or Enhanced by Facebook, #9, TOS)
What Facebook Expects from You
There are several sections outlining what you CAN’T do on Facebook. In addition to the expected prohibitions for illegal activities, here were some of the prohibitions that I have seen some marketers violate. You should read the TOS to learn all the rules.
You will not post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam) on Facebook.
You will not engage in unlawful multi-level marketing, such as a pyramid scheme, on Facebook.
You will not develop or operate a third-party application containing alcohol-related, dating or other mature content (including advertisements) without appropriate age-based restrictions.
From Safety, #3, TOS
Another group of prohibitions from the “Registration and Account Security” also apply to many marketers. You can’t have multiple accounts (one for personal and one for business), you can’t make your personal account your business name (get a page), and if you use a company trademark that doesn’t belong to you, Facebook reserves the right to take it away from you and give it to the trademark holder. Also, you can’t transfer your page without permission, which means that building and selling a popular page might not fly.
You will not create more than one personal account.
If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission.
You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.
If you select a username or similar identifier for your account or Page, we reserve the right to remove or reclaim it if we believe it is appropriate (such as when a trademark owner complains about a username that does not closely relate to a user's actual name).
You will not transfer your account (including any Page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
From Registration and Account Security, #4, TOS
Do you have any Facebook “Rules” you would like to add?
Fran Stephenson says
This is a great summary and very timely at the start of the year. I always assumed that you couldn’t have two pages with the same name — biz and personal — did they just clarify the language on that one? I think it’s time for everyone to go back and check their settings, including me!
Zoetica Media says
Not sure I read it that way, Fran. I think they were saying that they reserve the right to take your biz (or personal) page name away if it violates trademarks. Also, they are saying your personal page should have your name and your business page the organization name.
JD Sullivan says
Facebook recently made changes to rules on posting to groups. My understanding is, you have to be the admin of a group, not just a member, now to be able to post to them via a remote posting service such as NextScripts or CoSchedule.
Kami Huyse says
Exactly, see Rule #1
I do keep realtime track of changes on Facebook here: