Beware the Facebook spam police

likebus

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:

http://www.converge2003.com/2011/01/facebook-spam-how-does-facebook-tag-you-as-a-spammer/

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.

  • http://www.neat2eat.com.au Ebony

    Great read thanks for the info :)

  • http://www.lifestyledevelopersint.com Elaine Mawhinney

    Good article, Cas. As you know, I am one who lost their posting on pages privileges for a couple of weeks. Its good to see some information from someone who has done the research into the Facebook mind, backed up by practical suggestions on how to better use what Facebook offers. Thank you.

    • http://www.supportawahp.com Cas

      You’re welcome Elaine, and thanks for notifying us. You’ve really paid it forward!

  • Sue Darch

    Hi Cas
    I was caught up in this facebook spamming ban, and being new to FB with my cards I sell it came as a shock to be blocked. No one gave me the info like you have just done….wish I had got this 2 days ago. Thanks so much for posting this for people who are new like me, to read….appreciate it, even if its too late to help me now, I can remember the info so it doesnt happen again. I only set up my page for my cards as a friend pushed for me to do it…thinking of taking it down now and just keeping personal page.

    Cheers
    Sue

    • http://www.supportawahp.com Cas

      Hi Sue, I’m really sorry to hear that. But I hope it doesn’t put you off growing your business on Facebook. It pays to read as much as you can about Facebook marketing before participating in any kind of marketing activity on Facebook. There are also a few amazing mumpreneurs who run Facebook workshops. We recommend Foyster’s Facebook Workshop to new businesses. Hope to see you back on Facebook soon!

  • Jodie

    great article. I hate group ‘tagging’ on Facebook. Some people try to glamourise it… but I seriously can’t see how it increases their business. The majority of people look at it as spam. The only tagging I like is when someone is recommending MY products & service from their page. And I think that is the only respectable way of tagging someone’s business. Tagging your own business on someone elses page is like going into a department store with an A-Frame and loudspeaker trying to promote people out of the store and into theirs. Just plain RUDE! You wouldn’t do it in “real life”… but I’m shocked how many people try to promote their business on someone elses business page.
    Funny…. the link you provided from the Business Mums blog… has been deleted.

    • http://www.supportawahp.com Cas

      Ha, that’s too bad. I thought it was educational for people to understand. We welcome business shoutouts on our page but have strict posting guidelines. However on my own business page I don’t allow it at all unless someone’s asked me first, as it’s just not appropriate to the page. Really, people don’t do themselves any favors by posting on other business pages unless the page is designed for that, which the Support a WAHP page is.

  • http://www.melleweddingphotography.com.au Melle Veronesi

    Thanks for this article! Insightful. Facebook is so frustrating at times!

    • http://www.supportawahp.com Cas

      I agree! We are just wading around in the dark sometimes!

  • Cathie Brown

    Thank you for explaining .I have been very nervous to tag anyone. No I know just go slow and steady:-)
    Why do you think that facebook increased our tagging capabilities from 5 to 10 in a post if they are not happy with the action? :-)

    • http://www.supportawahp.com Cas

      Hi Cathie, you are welcome! That’s a really good question regarding Facebook’s tagging policy. I am curious too! I think that this spam filtering was not intentionally targeted at these tagging games.

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  • http://cindyeckhart.com/ Sweet Tea with Cindy

    Great advice! Thank you so very much! Sincerely, Cindy Eckhart

  • http://www.avalonbynature.com.au Jo Durand

    Thanks for these articles, I feel better about not jumping on the bandwagon, as well as growing my ‘likers’ slowly. I’m hearing from a couple of friends that they are losing ‘likers’ in droves at the moment, which is heartbreaking for them.
    Now I just need to work out how to make more sales LOL.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    • http://www.supportawahp.com Cas

      Hi Jo, I’m sorry to hear people are losing likers, but I guess the important thing is to keep those people who really are interested in your business. Businesses need to realise that putting all their eggs in one basket does not a profit make. With my small business, I started small and grew naturally and now have nearly 800 likers, quite a few of whom are also customers and clients. I have rarely posted on someone else’s wall and only when I had something of substance to share. It does pay off to take the slow and steady but that doesn’t mean you can’t be doing other things to grow your business. All the best! cheers, Cas.

  • http://www.mumsonthego.com.au Linda Anderson

    terrfic post. As the owner of a facebook page I really dislike when people/pages just post a self promoting post on my page when I have no relationship with them at all … it feels like spam/harrassment. I welcome businesses to share something about themselves or product if it adds to a conversation already happening but don’t just throw it in my communties face.
    This post also sheds some light on “bus tours” etc I have been invited to join but I haven’t done so as I didnt understand the “rules”

    • http://www.supportawahp.com Admin

      Hi Linda, I know how you feel. I dislike unsolicited business posts on my Mumatopia page. It’s a bit different with Support a WAHP ofcourse because the page is designed for shoutouts. However, we do have rules that we ask our community to abide by and delete and hide anything spammish. Love your website by the way!

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  • STEENTEAM

    Thank Goodness!! Now I understand why I was notified about “complying with FB spam postings” I have COMCAST as my ISP provider, what a PIA-intermittent connection!  When I opened and reviewed my POST- there were 4 OR 5 indentical posts. Now this makes sense, and I deleted 4 of the postings.  I really HATE to think our postings are under the watch of big brother!! I BELEIVE IN FREE SPEECH AND I DO NOT USE VULGARITIES.  GOOD TO KNOW!