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0 Attention Local Businesses: "Could You Be Violating Facebook's Terms and Agreements?"

Are the Facebook police coming for you?
By Alicia R.

We all know that creating a Business Page on Facebook can greatly increase your online visibility and search-ability, but if your individual profile is fronting as your business, you could be violating Facebook's terms and agreements. Facebook says: "Maintaining a personal account for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you don’t convert your noncompliant account to a Page [as apposed to a individual profile], you risk permanently losing access to the account and all of its content."

Huh!? Well, what they don't want you to do is this... Have you ever gotten a local business wanting to be your "friend" on Facebook? Maybe you didn't think anything of it, and accepted their friend request...what they just did was a form of spam. Think about it, Facebook makes companies pay to get their information in front of users (ever noticed the "sponsored" ads peppering the sides of your account?)--when businesses "friend" you, you see their business and are introduced to their products and services for free...without that business having to pay for an advertisement in Facebook's sponsored section. Sounds pretty awesome if you are the business....yep, and many people take advantage of this until Facebook shuts them down. ...so Facebook has to police this so you don't have tons of unwanted businesses trying to become your "friend."

Having an individual profile front as a business also makes it impossible for you to share admin rights with your employees. A Business Page allows you to share administrative functionality with multiple individual users....allowing you to go fishing while your new temp "Bob" continues to post to your business page in your absence.

Don't think Facebook will notice?...."I mean, I'm not the only one who has an individual profile fronting as a business!"  Picture this: About 5 years ago, I was working for a company in my home town up North. ...now, Facebook was a brand new site then...  I was asked to create a page for the company. So I did it the only way I knew how: create a "person" who was just named as the company. Voila!  The problem was, this was a very large company, and in a matter of weeks we had over 1000 friends (not fans). One day, I come in to work, open an email from Facebook alerting me that our Facebook profile was fronting as a Business Page and that they had shut it down! Ooooh man....  and then I had to explain this to my boss, who was not happy with me in the slightest. BUT, fear not! Since then, Facebook has changed their policies and actually made it quite easy for you to change over your profile (fronting as your business) to a proper Business Page...with a few clicks!

Click here to learn more about converting your Individual Profile (fronting as a business) to a proper Facebook Business Page.

A Few Things That Facebook Pages Do For Your Business:

  • Facebook Business Pages come up in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing (giving your business more online exposure, especially if *gulp* you still don't have a website. Individual Profiles don't always (nor do Groups) come up in search engines, depending on your privacy settings.
  • Other Businesses and Organizations can SHARE your posts and pictures, creating more visibility and reach for your message, coupon, event, etc. Generally, Facebook Business Pages can't share Individual's Posts to their pages. 
  • Individuals can't use Facebook's "Check In" Feature (if you are using an individual profile as your business)...Telling their friends that they visited your establishment. Particularly important if you run a restaurant, store, shop, etc. ...You're missing out on some great exposure!

Here are a few more "Page Basics" from Facebook. Remember, Facebook's policies change all the time, so be sure to browse the lastest information in Facebook.com's Help Center.

Alicia R. is the Owner of The Branding Arsenal, a fully inclusive web / print / graphic design, marketing and consulting firm based in Rockport, Texas. (Posted June 29, 2012)

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