Ahhh. Facebook Jail. It is a real thing. If you are reading this you may have been thrown into it yourself. And while it is about as real as the jail in the board game of Monopoly, it CAN have actual damaging effects on a Direct Sales business.
Like most Direct Sellers and MLMers, you probably maintain incredible connections with your customers and potential customers on Facebook. And to have Facebook block or ban you from using your greatest connection to your customers can be a bit frustrating to say the least. Bans can last a few hours, days, or even months. It can also force you to take your site down if it is not in compliance. And unfortunately, according to easycodeway.com, “There is no option by which you can contact the Facebook team to appeal them in order to remove your block restriction. Everything is automatic. All you can do is wait and nothing else.”
So, what causes these bouts in time out? According to Cinchshare.com, “Facebook does not want mass produced content posted on their platform, period.” Mass content among other things will get you banned. Facebook has a page called its community standards which outline exactly what it allows and doesn’t allow. You can find the Community standards here. Facebook encourages things like respectful behavior (so no hate speech, nudity, or violence), safety (so no bullying or dangerous organizations) and personal security (so no spam or fraudulent activity). How does this affect you as a business owner?
Here are some things to avoid and some things to do to help you stay out of Facebook jail. (This is not a comprehensive list but just a few to consider.)
What to Avoid
1. Don’t act like a robot. If Facebook thinks you are posting and liking as fast as a robot would, it may ban you for doing these activities. According to Online Strategist, Francesca Esposito-Rose, “Friending more than 50 people a day, liking copious pages ALL IN ONE DAY or leaving a gazillion comments ALL IN ONE HOUR will speed you into Facebook Jail.” Facebook is for people, not robots, so don’t be crazy with your actions.
2. Don’t post the exact same thing everyone else is posting. If there is an image or post with the exact same words posted over and over again, Facebook will start to think that someone or something is spamming the platform. And Facebook shuts down spammers. If your corporate office provides a picture of the new Starter Kit or the monthly promotion you must alter it so that Facebook doesn’t think you are a spammer. Add your business contact info to Corporate-provided images. Canva.com and Picmonkey.com are both great options to make edits to photos for free.
Same goes for a script of words. It is so easy to pick up a fun engagement post idea that others in your company are posting to their groups. But if Facebook sees the exact same wording, posted by everyone, then it is going to start banning ALL of you that post it. Be original with your content. Rewrite a post in your own wording. Or better yet, think of your own unique things to post about your business.
3. Don’t post music or images that you don’t have the rights to post. If a song is playing in the background of your Facebook Live message and you don’t have the rights to play that song, you can be shut down. Also, picking up images from the web can also shut you down, especially if you don’t own the rights to the image. So, make sure you own the rights to music or images before using them. When in doubt, turn the tunes off before filming and only use images you take or that are provided to you by your corporate office.
A Couple of Things to Try
If after doing this you are still finding yourself in Facebook Jail, here are a couple of things you can try to give you a small advantage.
1. Use Shortened URL Links. According to Postcron.com, “To avoid Facebook from marking your URL as SPAM (for whatever reason), one of the best things you can do is shorten your links.” Some easy sites to use are wp.me, bit.ly, or goo.gl to shorten those lengthy URLs. Using the same URL in multiple posts (on your business page, on your personal page, in your customer VIP group, and on a team page) may raise the SPAM flag for Facebook. So, shorten them down to avoid detection.
2. Make a friend or a spouse a backup admin to your business pages and groups. That way if you do get banned, you still have a way to post if you need to.
3. Don’t make the same mistake twice. If you do, you will be banned again but possibly for a longer amount of time. You might even have your account blocked permanently. Just learn from the first time ban and move on.
4. Make Your “About Me” on Facebook more robust. Sometimes people will report your posts as SPAM. To help avoid this, remind them often in posts what supporting a small business owner means. That means making your “About” description more detailed. It also means making a few more posts about how supporting a small business means they are helping you to earn extra income to pay for music lessons for your child or to put your spouse through school. All real and relatable things. You are not some big corporation lining the pockets of stock holders so a reminder every so often will help keep those tempted to mark a business post as spam.
Author: Stacy San Juan is a marketing maven who has worked in the direct sales industry at the corporate level for multiple international companies for nearly a decade. She specializes in marketing, training, and new product development. Because of her roles inside the corporate offices, she gets why direct sales companies do what they do. And because she has interacted with thousands of direct sales representatives in her roles, she has seen what works for a representative and how they can get the most from their business experience. Not only does she have a passion for marketing, training, and new products, she also loves her family (her husband and two daughters) and her home in American Fork, Utah and of course, Netflix, online shopping, and Diet Coke.