Although Facebook is a great tool for networking and promoting your business, there are some down sides. Facebook has some written and unwritten rules about networking and promotion. If you break one of these rules you may get a warning, or you could get banned entirely.
What Can Get You Banned
Your Facebook account can be deactivated if:
You send “too many” friend requests in one day/session/week. You make “too many” wall posts in one day/session/week – especially if the posts have identical content and links. You copy and paste the same friend request message “too many” times. You send “too many” identical emails to individual friends and/or friend lists. You message your Group members “too many” times. You poke “too many” people (please tell me you’re not poking people!) You message your Event invitees “too many” times. You join “too many” groups. You post “too many” promotional links
Notice a theme here? It’s not what you do, it’s how many times you do it. If you do any of these actions too many times, you look like a spammer in the eyes of the Facebook police.
So how much is too much? That’s the rub. For most suspect activities there doesn’t appear to be a permanent line in the sand. No ‘if you send X friend requests you’re okay, if you send X plus 1 you’re out’. The line appears to move.
Not only that, there doesn’t appear to be a set protocol Facebook follows to deal with offenders. Some people get warnings and others don’t.
How To Avoid Getting Banned
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some rules of thumb that should keep you out of trouble with the Facebook police.
The number one rule is don’t do things you wouldn’t do if you when networking in person. If you attend a networking event you’d never run around the room to collect everyone’s business card then head home and start spamming them. You talk to a small number of people and follow up with them. The next meeting you’d try to meet a few more people. It’s a gradual process.
The same with Facebook. Even though you’re using a computer you are still connecting with individual people so act accordingly. Try to make a personal connection with a small number of people during each Facebook session rather than building a large anonymous list of connections. It’s about quality not quantity.
Second, personalize everything. Going back to the networking meeting analogy, while you might have a canned elevator speech, you don’t go around the room having the identical conversation with everyone. You ask each new person questions, find out a little bit about them and tailor your conversation accordingly.
The same applies on Facebook. If you are pasting identical comments on everyone’s wall, not only are you not building relationships, you’re a spammer. However, if you take the time to read each person’s page, find out a little about them and then personalize your comments you’ll build deeper relationships.
Additionally, personalizing each message takes time. If you are doing this correctly and focusing on building relationships you won’t have time to hit the “too many” wall posts.
Finally, take your time. Just as in-person networking is a gradual process, so is Facebook networking. If your goal is to get 3000 friends, expect to take months, not days. If you are promoting an event, invite people over the course of a few weeks, not in one day.
Facebook should just be one part of an overall marketing strategy. If you focus on building deeper relationships with a smaller number of people, treat everyone as an individual and take it slow you should do fine.