Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » Do You Have A Facebook Posting Policy?

Do You Have A Facebook Posting Policy?



I recently wrote a blog post about social media spam inspired by the amount of promotional wall posts that were appearing on my Facebook page. I feel that most of the time such posts are if not accidental, posted by people who are unaware they can be considered as spam.

A discussion in the comments afterwards suggested that many people would see others doing it and then do it themselves thinking it acceptable practice.  Another comment from fellow Bloggertoner Lorna Sixsmith told me about a page that responded to such posts by pointing people at their Facebook posting guidelines.

I have seen social media guidelines created for businesses and organisations, mainly to ensure that staff are using the tools responsibly. The first time I encountered a Facebook page with posting guidelines for the community I assumed that it was there for legal reasons.  Having had to recently deal with low level spamming on my own page, and at times being indecisive of how to deal with it, the idea of posting guidelines suddenly made sense.

Why have a Facebook posting policy?

  1. Although spam is annoying you don’t want to discourage interaction on a page whilst warding off offenders.  Interaction is the lifeblood of social media so loosing any because of confusion is counterproductive.
  2. If a post needs to be removed you can refer users to the guidelines.
  3. You will know when to remove content or block a user.  As I said above, I often find myself indecisive about removing a post.  If the guidelines are there you will know if a post breaks them so it’s easy to make a quick decision and ensures you are fair.
  4. The ultimate goal – less spam posts. Not all people will read the guidelines but those who do are more likely to obey them.  At the very least it should stop some of those accidental spammers. You may even find some of your community will remind offenders of the guidelines.
  5. It gives you the opportunity to tell your fans a bit more about the page, who runs it and posts on it and what you will be sharing.

What should be in the guidelines?

I’m no fan of rules and too strict a policy could scare people off.  Simple guidelines are best and are more likely to be read.

  • Keep it short – Both short in length as people won’t read a big chunk of text, and short sentences so it’s easy to understand.
  • Avoid legalese – Don’t use complicated legal terms, users may not understand and it could be a turn off if people think there is a big legal team ready to pounce on anything they say.
  • Be friendly – These should be flagged as guidelines not rules.  Don’t include too many clauses as this could put people off posting.
  • Decide what acceptable content is – Think about how you want fans to interact with your page and encourage it.
  • Decide what isn’t acceptable behaviour and how you will react when unacceptable content it posted. – Consider appropriate language, offensive behaviour, self promotion. I love this quote from the ‘All Ears’ Facebook posting guidelines:

“People are free to report bad experiences they may have at Disney… as long as they stick to the facts. When they start talking about the decline of American society, that’s straying too far from sharing a negative Disney experience.”

  • Decide under what circumstances will you delete comments / wall posts?
  • Decide under what circumstances will you block users?

If you already have a Facebook page why not ask your community what the guidelines should be?  If they contribute they are more likely to obey the rules and help you moderate.

When should you set your posting guidelines?

At Spiderworking.com we waited until the problem arose before we addressed the issue.  However this is not the ideal, It’s worth spending some time considering your posting guidelines before you set up a page.  It’s never to early or too late to put your guidelines in place.

Examples of Facebook posting guidelines:

Alpha Insurance

Guide Dog Foundation For The Blind

All Ears

How do you add guidelines to your page?

Most of the examples above were created using the ‘Notes’ Application on Facebook.  This is the simplest way to create them however they will easily get hidden on your pages stream. I believe it’s important to make your guidelines as prominent as possible making them easy to direct people to and meaning that more people will actually view them.  For this reason I think you need to create a custom Facebook page.

The easiest way to do this is by using a Facebook application.  I’ve found WooBox to be the best solution for this as it has a very easy text input and editing system.

Have you created posting guidelines for your Facebook page? Is there anything you think it’s important to include? I’d love to hear your ideas as we’re still creating ours at Spiderworking.com so do leave your suggestions below.



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The Author:

Hi I'm Amanda, a social media consultant and trainer who loves blogging. I work with small and medium sized businesses to help them develop social media strategies that work. I really enjoy developing my marketing and social media skills. I also love cats, cycling and cakes. http://www.spiderworking.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Amanada, You are right, a posting policy makes managing Facebook a whole lot easier. I also really like your point about asking the community what the guidelines should be. This is a great post and a must read for Facebook page admins out there.u00a0

  • http://www.garrendennylane.ie/blog Lorna

    Great post Amanda, I have had a couple of people post to my page in the past and yes, I had never thought of creating a ‘guidelines’ page before seeing it on this particular business page. u00a0I actually think that no one should post on someone’s business page unless it is contributing something that would be of interest to that page’s readers and it shouldn’t be self promoting in any way.nCreating a guidelines page is going on my ‘to do’ list now :)

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    Hi Amanda, a co-operative marketing group thatu00a0I’m involved with set up a Facebook page that is directed at consumers. However, individual businesses started to self promote on the page, under the guise of congratulations etc. We decided that we’d have to put in posting guidelines somewhere, but didn’t want to install them with jack boots, so this is a really useful and timely post for me! Some spam is unintentional, so I think that it’s a good idea to have a comments policy any any commenting forum, e.g. blogs.u00a0nGreat post Amanda, thank you!u00a0

  • Alicia Edward3

    yup! that’s rite. so informative… and u00a0I never knew that I would enjoy that much reading this article.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Lorna, u00a0I agree with what you are saying. u00a0It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between people saying hello and people saying hello and promoting themselves. u00a0I really think I need the posting policy more for myself than others, that way I’ll know what to do!

  • Anonymous

    I think this sort of spamming has only recently become prevalent. It’s been bugging me for a while and I really didn’t know what to do about it. The more popular the page becomes the more spamming you get. u00a0It took me a while to click about the policy but now I’m wondering why I didn’t do it a long time ago. u00a0I’ve worked with businesses setting up internal policies but never thought about outward facing ones.

  • http://www.ecoevolution.ie Mary Gethings

    Excellent post Amanda. I set up a Facebook page for my business and one for a networking group I am involved in. In recent months I have noticed an increase in businesses using them to self promote. I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it but now your very informative post has enlightened me. Creating a guidelines page is definitely going on my ‘to do ‘ list also. Well done, an enjoyable read!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Mary, I’ve got a feeling we’re going to see a lot more posting guidelines popping up on pages soon. u00a0Lets hope we don’t see much more spam!

  • http://smallbiztrends.com/ Anita Campbell

    Has Facebook Wall spam increased?u00a0 It seems like it, now that you write this.u00a0 And you wonder why they bother since anyone paying attention to their wall will take it down … I guess they figure that a few people will be asleep at the switch and not take action.nnThanks for the insights, Amanda.

  • http://www.cgonlinemarketing.com/ Christina Giliberti

    Hi Amanda, such a valid topic and a real eye-opener to what happens after the shiny paper comes off. When everything is new, such as business pages on facebook, people are learning to use it. However, after, then shiny paper comes off and people start abusing it. I really like policies. Hate the fact that you feel this need to dictate, but at the end of the day you want a win. win situation; a shared beneficial and positive environment. That can’t happen when owners and users are pulling in opposite directions. I often show up my spammers by commenting something along the lines of ‘o’dropped by have you…well before you leave tell us what you do. Otherwise we might see your post as spam.’u00a0 Sadly, they don’t always respond. It’s their chance to turn it around.nnDefinately need to put a policy in place on my own page and will look to set one up for other pages I admin.n5* post!n

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  • Andrea Donnelly

    In my younger day I actually phoned into my boss pretending to be my flatmate who was phoning on my behalf because i was too sick to come to the phone (Public phone at the end of the road) – we were both from Ireland living in London and i thought he’d just think all Irish girls sound alike anyway and that it was too bizarre that i would phone in pretending to be someone else!- how young and foolish was I, I’m sure he knew rightly!

    But i think that is the beauty about working for yourself – no need to ask permission to take time off and you know its up to you to make the time up to get the work done.

  • http://www.de-stress4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    I do think flexible hours are the future, I see more and more companies using this system in France, certainly if it can aid in reducing stress and the amount of sick days that employees take then it surely is a good thing.

  • http://www.de-stress4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    I giggled at your example Andrea, I had some wonderful and wacky examples in the run up to this article… seems everyone, at some point of their lives, have had a ‘fake sickie’ :)

  • Connor Keppel

    Great post… This is a crass but hilarious example.  My brother’s college buddy once rang into his part-time work saying he couldn’t come into work because he was sick.  When asked how sick he was, he simply replied “I’m in bed with the neighbour’s dog”. He never worked there again…  

  • http://www.de-stress4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    Oh my gosh I’m laughing out loud here Connor :)

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    Great post Catherine – I am somewhat surprised by the stats – I would not have thought the Canadians to be a naughty race – would expect to see Ireland at 71% yes. The Americans get the least holidays that I am aware of, and many work in very controlling environments, I am sure it contributes to their high % in those stats.

    I would still love to see where we (Irish) stand in those figures :)

    Here’s what happens when your boss rings in sick – enjoy :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14be0hjwhAw&feature=related

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

     Niall,

    Thanks for the warm welcome! It’s good to be back!

    When I ran across that quote, I thought it was absolutely perfect! It’s extraordinary how many opportunities to collaborate are present and it seems that people are less reluctant to explore mutually beneficial relationships.

  • http://www.sortmybooks.com/ Aileen Hannan

    Couldn’t agree more. Luckily for us, cloud applications lend themselves so elegantly to this concept, allowing us to forge great relationships with companies like Receipt Bank and DropBox to provide complimentary products for our customers seamlessly integration with our own. And it gives us the opportunity to discuss business growth and exchange mutually beneficial contacts with our collaborators.  Basically making new friends!

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

     Aileen,

    Thank you for commenting. Cloud applications and other online tools have indeed made it easy to  make new friends and facilitate collaboration.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

     Elaine,

    Very true about Tweak My Biz! No matter where we are geographically, this community has demonstrated a willingness to partner up, support, answer questions and have fun. This lays the foundation for good opportunities for collaboration.

    Perhaps channeling our competitiveness or the mindset that business must be about winning all of the marbles is what has to change. I love the image of leaving our fears and pride in the dishwasher with our cereal bowl. :) That’s an excellent first step!

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