In a recent episode of Agent Romance favorite Supernatural, the Sam and Dean get thrown into solitary confinement in a secret government prison. You would think after surviving trips to hell and purgatory, that solitary would be a breeze, but no. Apparently, it was really, really awful – or so the writers would have us believe if we are to buy that they were desperate enough to do what they did to get out. (No spoilers!)
This is all by way of saying that from the time we are toddlers, everyone – ever hates being put in timeout.
Yesterday, Facebook decided to inaugurate some new spam protocols and promptly rounded up a whole bunch of people and threw them in Facebook Jail. Their crime: Using the website to promote their direct sales business.
What is Facebook Jail?
When you are put in so-called “Facebook Jail”, the website revokes your posting and/or friending privileges for a period of time. This is typically the consequence of violating FB’s Terms of Service by engaging in behaviors like the following:
- Friending lots of people you don’t appear to have connections with
- Too many of your Friend requests go unanswered or get declined
- Doing anything too quickly – posting, friending, inviting, messaging
- Posting the same content in multiple groups in a short period of time
- Messaging the same content to multiple people in a short period of time
- Posting obvious spam and/or using your personal page to promote your business (Facebook only wants you using a Fanpage to promote your business and to pay for ads)
and finally, that which caused yesterday’s kerfuffle
- Posting identical posts as many other users with a shared affiliation (for example, you all have yourself as “working” at Company X or all belong to the same FB Group) who are also posting said post all in the same short period of time.
Posting tips for staying out of Facebook Jail
1) Make your own images
Easiest way to avoid Facebook Jail when it comes to your posts is to make sure your posts are YOUR posts. If the images you are using were created by you for you and are specific to you, you know that hundreds of other Facebook users are not also going to be posting them and getting you in trouble. Websites and apps like Canva, PicMonkey and PicCollage make it easy to put together your own social media images. Heck, do a BitMoji if you want. BONUS: Custom images make you stand out from other consultants AND you can put your personal website address on them (something you should do anyway. See next point.)
2) Brand images you haven’t made yourself
If you absolutely have to use a company provided social media image, either because the company requires it or to meet compliance standards or because you just don’t feel prepared to make your own images, at least take the provided images and BRAND them with specific to your sticker, your picture, your URL – or all of the above. It will make the image different from all the other identical images that are being posted by other consultants and reduce its chances of being tagged as spam.
3) Don’t put prices on your images
This one is simple. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Facebook does not want you selling items anywhere other than Buy, Sell, Trade groups and your Business / Fan Page. If you put a price on an image and post it on your personal feed or even a group, you can be thrown in jail. Did I say don’t do it? Don’t do it.
4) Share instead of downloading and reposting
If your company posts something absolutely brilliant that you can’t help but share with Facebook-dom, then click ‘Share’ instead of downloading the image and reposting it. If you do the latter, you can trigger the same image/multiple places/multiple people algorithm. When in doubt, SHARE.
5) Pace your posting
With any image, whether yours or someone else’s, don’t post it in multiple places one right after another. A) Facebook views this as spam; and B) If you have customers in all of these locations, it may annoy them. Don’t be a spammer.
Letters from Facebook Jail
If you are in Facebook jail right now, tell me about it. Were you using your own images or company provided ones? How long are you in for? Do you think these tips are accurate and helpful for staying out of jail in the future?