Of late there has been a bit of a trend towards silent tagging, silent “marches,” tagging games and “Liking parties” on Facebook. While it might be tempting to join in on all the fun, it can be counterproductive to your business if you find yourself banned from posting on others’ pages for two weeks (which is what has just happened to two legitimate businesses I know of).
The problem is that Facebook is not particularly forthcoming when it comes to tagging and messaging rules and that can be frustrating to people, especially if they find themselves banned from posting. So, we thought we’d share some of our insights on tagging and posting to help you avoid the spam police.
For a start, posting the same message on different people’s pages in quick succession will almost certainly raise the red flag for Facebook spam-bots. Facebook’s filters pick up what they consider to be unusual activity. This article shared by Karen Gunton on her Facebook page for Build a Little Biz explains how the Facebook spam filters work:
Even adding friends in quick succession can get you banned from messaging people. I know because it happened to me when I was merging my two Facebook profiles (Yes, I know a big “no no” but I was marked as a spammer despite my effort to comply with Facebook rules… Oh the irony).
So, the number 1 tip is: Don’t post the same message more than once on someone’s page and don’t post on different pages or message more than a few people within a short time frame.
Facebook marches and silent tagging
The following article contains definitions of marches, silent tagging and tagging games: http://www.supportawahp.com/2011/marches-defined.html.
Unfortunately, though, Facebook sees activity like this as spammish and, to be honest, I see it as chain-mail. We all know that chain-mail only works if everyone does it but when you run a page like ours and you’re seeing 10 virtual buses land on your page on any given day, they feel a lot like spam. For us, posts like these get in the way of bona fide business posts on our wall so we feel that we have to delete them, which can mean that it puts marchers at risk of being marked as spam by Facebook.
Similarly, in the past week, we’ve had a lot of people post their tagging games on our wall. While we love and appreciate our followers for thinking of us and tagging us, we’d much prefer you post an individualised testimonial, recommending our business on your page as that really does share the love in our books. We share the love by allowing so many businesses to post on our wall and by offering competitions and useful information as well as opportunities to those wonderful businesses who sponsor us (which keeps our page going by the way). Again, by getting lots of tagging game posts, as everyone jumps on the bandwagon, we end up having to delete them and then again, it puts those businesses at risk of being marked as spam. It’s the same for businesses that post too frequently on our wall.
It’s great to let others know about businesses you like. That is one of the great features of Facebook. However, you’re more likely to benefit when someone posts a testimonial about a product or service they love, rather than flying by your page in a liking frenzy.
We all rely on word of mouth recommendations to increase our following on Facebook but before you go jumping on any virtual buses consider increasing your “likes” from genuine potential customers and readers by doing some or all of the following:
- Offer original, compelling content through your blog and make sure the “like” button is attached to each and every post.
- Share original, compelling content by others on your page that is relevant to your followers.
- Invite your current fans to share the love if they like a product or blog article you have posted. (don’t beg, just suggest… if you like this, feel free to share the love). Facebook marketing guru Mari Smith has a little phrase attached to her like buttons “Sharing is caring” to remind her readers to pass on what they have learned.
- Give “liker only” discounts and content as thanks for liking your page. Make sure you follow Facebook’s platform rules with any competition or promotion though, or that too may see you banned.
- If you’re holding an event or competition etc, message a few of your key influencers and ask them to help you spread the love. Every group of friends has high profile people that can be relied on to spread news like wild-fire, because that’s just how they roll. Our news is much more powerful when someone else shares it. You can find out who some of your key-influencers are by signing up to klout.com (you can also see who you influence as well, which is always a boost for the ego and lets you gauge how well you are engaging your followers).
- Involve other businesses in a charity auction, competition, event or promotion as this is a way of spreading the love for all of you in a genuine way.
These are just a few suggestions but you get the picture. Jumping on the virtual “liking” bandwagon isn’t necessarily going to help your business and it may well hamper it if others start hiding, deleting or blocking your posts. And, if these trends get too annoying, people will just start marking them as spam. If you get the same post on your page a zillion times, eventually you’ll be annoyed enough to just mark it as spam.
It appears that Facebook is cracking down on tagging activity like this, so it would be wise to err on the side of caution when it comes to tagging crazes. Have you been suspended by Facebook for participating in a tagging game or silent march? Let us know!
Until next time… Cas.