Originally written with Chamber of Commerce organizations in mind, (because I've become "Friends" with more than 100 Chambers over the past several weeks), I've decided to rewrite it for businesses in general because I'm seeing so many business owners heading down a path to disaster because they're getting the wrong advice or not looking for any advice at all!  What's really disturbing is the number of "Social Media Professionals" who are breaking these rules!  Especially when it comes to "Facebook Timeline Cover Photos"!

I recently saw a "Facebook Personal Profile" for an advertising company.  They claimed to have the ability to help business owners with their online marketing.  The business name consisted of four words.  The first two words were mashed together to form the "First Name" and the second two words were mashed together to form the "Last Name".  The obvious question is: Do I REALLY want help from a company that doesn't know the difference between a "Facebook Profile" and a "Facebook Business Page"?  They obviously are unaware that they are in violation of Facebook TOS (Terms of Service).  It frightens me to think that they are "helping businesses" if they can't even do it correctly themselves!

Frequently referred to as the "father of the atomic bomb", the late yet well-renowned physicist Enrico Fermi once said, "Ignorance is never better than knowledge". For many businesses, your Facebook page is a ticking time-bomb ready to explode and then disappear altogether.  Facebook recently deleted several pages and profiles because they were in violation of Facebook TOS (Terms of Service).  Years of effort will end up being a complete waste of time, energy, and resources... This week foursquare announced API changes to eliminate privacy concerns and creepy stalker apps like Girls Around Me. So, what are they changing? Foursquare is removing the ability for users to see people (even those not on their friends list) who are checked in to a venue without being checked in to the same venue themselves. and you'll find yourself having to start all over again from the beginning.  Your business can't afford that kind of setback!  

Top 3 Facebook Mistakes Made by Businesses
(Note: These mistakes are a direct violation of Facebook TOS (Terms of Service).  Making any one of these mistakes is grounds for page deletion by Facebook!)

  1. Facebook Profile instead of a Facebook Page
    I've added hundreds of businesses to my "Friends" list over the years.  Several of these businesses have thousands of "Friends".  One has 4915 "Friends"!   That's only 85 short of the maximum 5000 "Friends" that a Facebook profile is allowed to have.  I'm sure that a great deal of effort went into reaching this point.

    Not only is your business at risk to lose its Facebook presence entirely because you're using a Facebook "Profile" instead of a Facebook "Page", but you're missing out on many important Facebook page features that aren't available for Facebook profile pages.  These include but aren't limited to:

    - Unlimited number of "Likes" or followers.
    - Adding Tabs and Apps for promotions, contests, blogs and more.
    - Statistics for monitoring and improving your efforts.
    - Connectivity with other social media platforms your business may be using.

  2. Advertising on your Facebook Timeline Cover Photo
    Nope!  No can do!  I know it may seem like a logical place to display your business contact information, phone numbers, website address, and promote upcoming sales or events.  But those are among the list of things that you CAN'T do with your Facebook Timeline Cover Photo.
        
  3. Contests which involve "Like", "Share", and "Tag"
    This is a BIG Facebook no-no!  Contests and promotions which involve any element of Facebook interaction features are prohibited.  I see contests where the photo with the most "Likes" wins.  I see Facebook posts instructing people to "Like" or "Share" and those who do will be entered into a drawing.  These types of contests and requests for interaction are direct Facebook violations.

These are just a few of the things that are putting your Facebook presence in jeopardy... and with Facebook well on its way to going public, I can assure you that they'll be scrutinizing profiles and pages even more.

Did you know that if you DO lose your Facebook page or profile, the email address you used to create your Facebook presence can no longer be used with any Facebook pages in the future?

It's time to start taking Facebook and other social networking tools seriously and stop treating them like toys or hobbies. A simple mistake could cost your business dearly!