Facebook shuts down local business accounts for T.O.S violations

by Michael Winn

What would you do if your Facebook account was suspended or shut down tomorrow?

Robert Scoble, of Building43, found out very quickly how Facebook can completely wipe you off the Facebook map.

If you are a local business, organization, company, brand, product, entertainment, cause or community with a Facebook profile (not a Facebook Page) for your entity you are in violation of  Facebook TOS (*Terms of Service) and could face the same fate as Robert Scoble.  Are you willing to risk it?

Facebook TOS Violations*”Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization. We have created Facebook Pages to allow organizations to have a presence on Facebook. These Pages are distinct presences, separate from user profiles, and optimized for an organization’s needs to communicate, distribute information/content, engage their fans, and capture new audiences virally through their fan’s recommendations to their friends. If you create a profile for your business, your account may be disabled for violating our Terms of Use. If you have questions about how to best leverage your Facebook Page, please check out our Insider’s Guide or FAQ.” -Facebook

What you are missing by having a profile v. business page:

Limited number of “Likes”

Facebook profiles are capped at 5,000 while Pages have NO cap. You can have an unlimited amount of fan/likes as a Facebook page.

Facebook Insights for Facebook PagesFacebook Insights

Want to have daily gender and age insight to your “fans/likes”? You can with a Facebook Page.

Want to measure the reach and exposure of posts you make on a daily basis? You can with a Facebook Page.

Want to measure your marketing efforts to see which cities you are impacting with your posts? You can with a Facebook Page.

Want to see what tabs (Photos, Events, etc.) your fans are visiting? You can with a Facebook Page.

Facebook ConnectFacebook Connect

Allowing your website visitors to sign in via Facebook can simultaneously integrate their “likes” and comments to website content. This can’t be posted on a “profile” wall, but… You can with a Facebook Page.

Facebook App DeveloperFacebook Apps

Need to build support through email signatures for your Constant Contact email newsletters? You can’t through a profile, but… You can with a Facebook Page.

Want to promote your YouTube video content just below your profile pic for quick access to new promotions/initiatives? You can’t through a profile, but… You can with a Facebook Page.

Want to cross promote your Twitter activity on Facebook? You can’t through a profile, but… You can with a Facebook Page.

Want to allow new subscribers to your blog via RSS feed to Facebook? You can’t through a profile, but… You can with a Facebook Page.

Need to create a custom app that can truly enhance your Facebook presence? You can’t through a profile, but… You can with a Facebook Page.

Google SEO for Facebook Pages

Until eight months ago, little was known about how much, if any, SEO weight is given to Facebook & Twitter data. In December of 2010, Bing and Google announced their use of “social signals” in page ranking. Here are the main takeways as outlined by Dr. Matt Peters in his insightful post “Does Google Use Facebook Shares to Influence Search Rankings?”:

  • Facebook shares, at least as related to Google searches, act as a sort of “super-metric,” encompassing a variety of different factors (similar to SEOmoz’s Page Authority and Domain Authority).
  • Don’t stop sharing and generating brand engagement through Facebook!  Driving deeper engagement through social media can only help your brand and likely has other positive benefits (by generating tweets or links, for example).
  • Earning Facebook shares (probably) will not directly boost your Google rankings (though it may have positive effects that indirectly promote links, tweets and other signals Google may use).
  • The process of doing this type of correlation work and sharing the results openly started a great dialogue in the search community and, through that, we all learned more about how search works. We plan to do more work like this, and are planning a project for the Fall to compare Google and Bing results.

Facebook Pages can now post wall-to-wall with other pages

“One of the key features with the new Facebook Pages is that administrators of a page can switch back and forth between their personal profiles and essentially the profile of the Page.  This enables admins to comment as the page on other pages and on users pages who have public profiles.  This means that we’ll see more interactivity and engagement from Pages directly across Facebook. The engagement is no longer confined to the page itself. Instead, page owners will now be able to do outreach and will ultimately have more reach, likely gaining exposure to their presence on the platform.” -Mashable, February 2011

One possible reason some Facebook marketers may have suggested creating profiles rather than pages is for the ability to export your friends contact info, but in a recent move to combat Google’s new social networking initiative, Facebook removed the export friends capability. (Facebook blocks contact-exporting tool)

“The tool lets people save their contacts’ e-mail addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, and other information into a text file or to directly import them into Gmail. That makes it much easier for Google account holders to rebuild their contact network at Google+, Google’s brand-new social network site.”

If you’re not completely convinced about the absolutely advantage of having your local business, organization, company, brand, product, entertainment, or cause to have a Facebook page rather than a Facebook profile, be prepared: the Facebook policy police are looking for you and they can shut you down.

If you have any questions about converting your Facebook business profile into a Facebook page, please contact Michael Winn, RBOA’s Chief Digital Officer, at mwinn@rboa.com or (850) 386-9100.



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