Fear and panic strike when you get automatically logged off of Facebook on all of your mobile devices and an ominous message appears saying you must log into Facebook using a computer so that you can see an urgent message.
As a Social Media Marketing Manager and Strategist, it’s my job to interpret the guidelines and terms of service and operate within those for my clients. Sometimes we’re not sure how strictly the guidelines will be interpreted by the service provider, Facebook in this case, and how and when they enforce those guidelines. I’ve heard of Business Pages on Facebook being completely deleted in some cases when they have violated the Promotions Guidelines. For that reason, I err on the side of caution and try to make it very clear which actions will count as an entry in a giveaway and which actions don’t act as an entry. I am so cautious that I have had followers complain that promotions aren’t “as easy” to enter as other companies’ promotions, companies who are bending if not breaking the rules to run their fabulously popular promotions. I never want to be the “example” that Facebook makes when they start enforcing rules so I like to color within the lines when it comes to giveaways.
It all started when I was away at a conference (Craft and Hobby Assocaition Mega Show) and posted a promotion on the Hydrangea Hippo Facebook Page. I made it clear that the means of entry were to a) comment on the Page by answering a question and b) “like” the post. I explained the terms, released Facebook from liability, and stated the end date of the promotion. At the end of the promotion I encouraged people to share about the promotion but did not say that “sharing” was a means of entry. I wrote a several paragraph long post to make sure I covered all my bases, which was kinda difficult given my cut finger situation from a Designer Challenge I took part in during CHA with Charity Wings (that is whole ‘nother story)
All went well for 2 days. I got lots of great comments and about 30 new Page likes! Pretty snazzy for doing this while I was at dinner with friends… but when I got up this AM, and grabbed my phone to check out my social media, I was logged out of all my Facebook accounts and told to get on my computer in odrer to log back into my accounts; and that some special message was waiting for me to see. WHAT?! OH BOY.
My giveaway violated the Facebook Page Promotions Guidelines. Since the late August 2013 update of the guidelines, Facebook released a pdf clarifying the guidelines even further. I interpreted my giveaway not as strictly as Facebook did. Thank goodness my Page was not deleted! I mean, really, who would’ve thought a little craft blog Facebook Page would be on their radar? It could have been that someone reported it and it could have been that Facebook was just paying really close attention – who knows?! At the end of the day, I know what was wrong: the invitation at the end of the post asking people to not forget to “like + share + comment”.
The lesson here is to be extremely literal when running promotions on Facebook. Here’s my interpretation after re-reading the guidelines and considering why my post was removed:
I am super strict on my clients’ accounts but this time, on my own business account, I got a little sloppy – 5 days of little sleep and trying to post while eating ribs, well, kinda not the best plan. Pay attention to details and be very cautious when posting contests and giveaways to Facebook. Judging from the similar upset I am seeing in my newsfeed today, I am not alone. Luckily, it seems Facebook is issuing warnings as a first step. Let’s just walk the line so we don’t even get warnings in the future, eh?
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