If you manage a Facebook business page, for yourself or someone else, then you need to read this. I survived a Facebook shutdown, so you don’t have to.
Once upon a time….
Here’s my story. All the flashpoints are in blue. Facebook blue!
My client’s business page was set up using their newly created profile page. My client decided to run a big ad. Then seeing how successful this was, ran some more ads. Lots of ads. Someone new joined the team and started logging in from the client’s profile page. The profile page was otherwise inactive. Then one day, about 8 weeks in and without warning, Facebook disabled the profile page. The new person wasn’t assigned an admin role. No one could access the business page.
Has your Facebook page been disabled?
OK, so your stress levels are off the scale. Step back and take a deep breath.
If you’re a social media manager, you’ve probably already figured out that everyone expects you to be able to fix it. Your client is probably saying stuff like this:
“Why haven’t you phoned Facebook”?
THERE IS NO CUSTOMER SUPPORT PHONE NUMBER! But your client has probably Googled this and is telling you they have found ‘the number’!
Of course, you’ve Googled it too, but hopefully you’ve figured out that these are third party companies peddling mumbo-jumbo. You can not ring Facebook. The end.
“Do they know how much we’ve spent on advertising?”
That may be part of the problem. Facebook works really hard to try and keep spam out of your news feed. Your lovingly crafted ads may have inadvertently triggered something on the spam radar.
And Facebook doesn’t really care how much you’ve spent if you’re (accidentally) behaving like a spam-bot.
“Email them! Tell them they must reinstate the page TODAY!”
And good luck with that. See the bit about phone numbers.
Facebook has over 1.7 billion users. The only way they can manage that many accounts is to have automated detection systems to flag up suspicious activity. You are not dealing with humans.
If you’ve been offered an olive branch by Facebook in the form of a request for further information or action, then follow their procedure and sit it out. That is your best (and probably only) line of communication.
“What am I paying you for?”
Hmmm, yes. Not all clients will be calm in the face of adversity.
You may well have been up all night with your head in your hands, Googling ‘Facebook page disabled’, but your client doesn’t know that. What they want to know is that you’re doing all you can to fix it.
Don’t go into radio silence, but don’t get caught up in emotion driven emails either. Just state the facts calmly and professionally at regular intervals throughout the day. Maybe email other members of the team asking them (politely) not to bother you whilst you deal with it.
This also gives you precious breathing space.
OK. So what you’re really thinking is:
“But what can I do?”
Here is what I did. I don’t know if any of it helped, but it made me feel like I was at least doing something. And our account was reactivated (eventually).
- I did exactly as Facebook asked.
- I asked for help. As a Digital Mum, I have hundreds of women behind me. But that didn’t stop me reaching out to others in the field. (Thank you Status Social, Charli Day, and of course the awesome #DMCollective)
- I used the ‘report a problem’ option from my personal page to flag up the issue, using the case number Facebook gave us.
- I posted a message on Facebook’s Facebook page, quoting the case number.
- I tweeted Facebook. More than once. But not over the top.
- I sent regular updates to my client, morning and afternoon.
- I did not try to log in from my home IP address in case this muddied the waters further.
- I read this brilliant article and wished I’d read it before Facebook shut the page down….
- I waited.
- I got some perspective. Nobody died.
Within 48 hours, the profile page was reactivated. So, what did I learn?
- Know your Facebook Ts & Cs inside out. You may think you ‘know’ them. But have another read.
- Read this excellent guide from Nicholas Kusmich.
- Make sure all business page users have been assigned an admin role. Then don’t allow anyone to log in via the profile page. (Ask the profile page owner to change their password and not share it.)
- Don’t create a ‘fake’ profile page to set up a business page. If you’re asked to authenticate it with a passport (as we were), what will you do?
- Even a genuine but unused profile page has to have (at the very least): a ‘true likeness’ profile pic, real name, genuine DOB and some friends.
- Don’t create a profile page and business page in quick succession, then start running ads. This is a classic spam tactic and you may be shut down.
- As Nicholas Kusmich suggests, ‘season’ your pages first. Build up friends and a bit of sharing/posting history on the personal profile page. Do the same with your business page. When you do start advertising, slowly spend small amounts, don’t just swagger onto Facebook waving your wallet around. That’s what spammers do.
- Consider using Facebook’s Business Manager.
- If you manage a Facebook page for someone else, discuss the risks from day 1. If your page is disabled, it will make the conversation much easier if your client was made aware it was a possibility from the outset.
So there you have it. A story with a happy ending.
This is only my humble experience. If you have anything helpful to add, please do. Spread the love! ❤️