If there is one thing consistent about Facebook Pages, it’s that things change without any notifications. Unless you follow Facebook’s developer’s blog or some other techno-geek blog, you might never know what or when they implement changes. Last December (the 15th to be exact), they did it again by changing the terms the govern your Facebook Pages. While most are relatively minor changes, there are two changes that have bigger ramifications on most users.
III. B. Cover images of Facebook Pages
According to Facebook, all cover images are public. No surprise here, anyone who visits Facebook Pages can see the cover. It’s common practice that the cover images should not be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone’s copyright, but here the new rules you might not know about:
- You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines;
- Cover images cannot be made of more than 20% text (as a graphic designer who loves typography, not sure I like this one);
- Cover images cannot contain price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
- Cover images cannot contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
- Cover images cannot ask a visitor to “Like” or “Share” your page;
- Cover images cannot contain calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
III. D. Promotions on Facebook Pages.
“Like” us to win…. A favorite method of marketers to increase the number of “Likes” on a page is at a end. Facebook is attempting to crack down on the amount of spam appearing in wall post. As such, they have change the rules of promotions.
- Promotions on Facebook Pages must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com. What this means is that you will have to create an html page with your contest rules and bring it onto your Facebook page as an application in a tab. The tabbed page must all include the following information:
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
- Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
- Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
- Contest registration or entry can not require the user taking any action by using any Facebook features or functionality such as commenting on a photo, uploading a picture to your wall, liking a photo or a post, etc…
- You must not use Facebook Pages features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
- You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
- You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
No longer can you use your cover image to announce your latest promotions, ask the user to “Like” your page for a chance to win, or even let them know your website address. And we are all guilty of rewarding users who “Like” or “Share” our pages through contest. Or use the “Liking” of images to get user feed back on products.
Can you still implement them? Sure, but at the risk of getting your page removed if Facebook finds out. And Facebook is not known for letting users have their banned Pages back, as we found out at Illinois State University early on in our social media adventures. Reggie Redbird was our original profile. According to Facebook, mascots are not real people and as such, cannot have a profile. One evening, they removed the profile. In one sweeping click of a key, they negated over a year’s worth of Facebook relationship building.
Let us know how these changes will effect your social media marketing plans with a comment below.