This guest post is by James Dunworth of the Ashtray Blog.
On the 28th August, shortly after getting our 14,000th follower on Facebook, we received one of those emails that makes your heart not just sink, but plunge through your stomach and crash onto the floor.
Facebook had deleted our page from its network.
In this post, I’ll provide some hard-won tips that’ll show you:
- how you can avoid losing your Facebook page
- what to do if your page is deleted
- why and how to diversify your traffic sources
- how not to lose your Facebook page in the first place!
6 tips to save your page
First up, here are six tips that night help you avoid having your Facebook page deleted in the first place.
1. Read and re-read the Ts and Cs—and keep up with the updates!
I’ll start with this one, as I believe this was the key mistake we made!
A week or so before we lost our page, Facebook emailed us with some updated terms and conditions. If I had taken the time to read them, we might still have our page today.
Most people don’t bother to read terms and conditions. On Facebook, that could be a mistake! You can find Facebook’s full terms and conditions here.
2. Run your competitions through an app
Competitions are a fantastic way to gain followers, but they have to be done right:
- You need to use a third-party app to run your competition.
- You can’t use Facebook Likes as a voting mechanism.
- You can’t announce Facebook winners through Facebook.
An alternative to running a Facebook promotion is to post a link to a competition you’re holding off Facebook, adding the disclaimer:
“This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.”
Social Media Examiner have an excellent article which will help guide you through the minefield or running a contest on Facebook, called Facebook Promotions: What You Need to Know.
3. Don’t upload copyrighted material
These days, everyone shares images on social network. However, if someone complains about some material you have shared, you could find your post deleted. Check that anything you share is available for public reuse before you publish it to Facebook.
4. Get your cover photo right
Facebook cover pages can’t:
- include calls to action (e.g. “Buy Now”)
- include contact details
- contain prices or discounts
- contain text that encourages people to Like or share the page.
5. Get your Facebook name right
Facebook names can’t contain generic terms, use excessive capitalisation, contain character symbols, or use “superfluous” descriptions.
6. Create multiple page administrators
Two examples of lost pages I came across when I was researching this post included:
- cases where admins accidentally deleted the page themselves
- pages being lost because an individual admin had his or her personal Facebook account deleted.
Choose your page administrators carefully, though—these admins will also have the ability to delete you, the page creator.
What to do if your Facebook page is deleted
Those are the basics, but the Facebook terms and conditions can change at any time. What can you do if you suddenly find your Facebook page has been deleted?
When you get Facebook’s email about your page’s deletion, you’ll also get a link to a form that allows you to appeal the action.
Although we didn’t get a reply to our appeal, there’s always a chance you will, and a few other Facebook admins have managed to have their pages restored.
If you work with a social media agency, you might also find that they have a contact within Facebook—see if they can use their contact to get an explanation and make an appeal. Unfortunately, to date, appealing has not worked for us.
2. Pause any advertising for your page
In our case, Facebook continued to take money for ads that pointed to our defunct page. Make sure you cancel those ads, or you’ll be wasting money!
3. Create waves
Some bloggers who have lost their Facebook pages have managed to get them back by creating a community backlash.
When Ken Envoy of SiteSell lost his Facebook page and its 16,000 members, he immediately published a blog post titled, Urgent: We Need Your Help.
He urged his readers to spread the story, and credits his Facebook page’s restoration to their efforts.
We’re trying to do the same thing, and have set up a petition to ask Facebook to warn admins and give them a chance to change their pages before deleting them.
4. Make a story out of your loss
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”—Winston Churchill
We blogged about our story, and it went viral! We were astonished to get over 2000 shares of our first blog post about our Facebook page loss.
I also contacted several bloggers about our story when we created our follow-up petition post. As a result, Aaron Wall very kindly shared the story with 68,000 followers, Amy Smarty from MyBlogGuest signed our petition and shared the story, and ProBlogger invited me to write about the story!
It doesn’t make up for the loss of our page, but we received a lot of heart-warming support, and got some good links from other blogs out of the loss.
5. Start a new Facebook page—quickly!
People joined your Facebook page for a reason: because they liked it! Some of those people will join your new Facebook page, and you might be surprised at the kind messages of support they add to your page.
It’s worth starting the page quickly, and with a similar name—then, people looking for your page will be able to find it before they have forgotten about you!
Obviously, it’s important to also try to analyse why Facebook might have deleted your page, so you can avoid making the same mistakes again.
A lesson learned: diversify your traffic sources
Another key lesson we learned from this experience was not to rely one source of traffic. Our Facebook page was important to us—too important—but luckily, we also have other sources of traffic.
If you are relying on any one source of traffic, remember it can disappear rapidly. Work hard to make sure you are diversifying your traffic sources! Here are several which work well for us:
- search engines
- affiliates (only relevant if you have a product to sell)
- specialist forums
- our newsletter
- blog links
- blog commenting
- specialist blogger groups on Facebook (If there aren’t any in your niche, why not start one?).
Have you ever lost a Facebook page? If so, what did you do? Let me know in the comments!
James Dunworth is the author of the Ashtray Blog, where he writes about e-cigarette news and tobacco harm reduction.