Keeping Up With Facebook

by Karla Momic June 27th, 2012

RulesWe recently came across an interesting article written by Anna Gervai in the Idealog magazine, covering the topic of Facebook’s rules and regulations and business’ being punished for not following them. Before we delve into this topic, we ask that you don’t rely on this blog alone should you decide to make any amendments to your Facebook page. Facebook’s Pages Guidelines are extensive and it is important to have a good understanding of them before making any decisions.

Many companies have caught on to the Facebook hype and are using it to benefit their business in many ways, be it through simple awareness building or creation of deeper relationships with their audience. While we are happy to take the credit when things are going well, many are quick to avoid responsibility when things take a wrong turn.

Some of you may already be familiar with Velvet Burger's Facebook Page mishap. Velvet Burger was one of the many companies that have had their Facebook page deleted as a result of breaking rules and regulations. Not only did Velvet burger lose their page, they had also lost their 10,000 fans that had 'Liked' it. Hell Pizza was another company that had experienced page deletion, except their page had some 20,000 followers.

We called on social recruiting expert Paul Jacobs to shed some light on how to successfully navigate through Facebook and eliminate chances of your page being deleted, as had been the case it above examples. Paul, through his consultancy Engage, works with employers to help them become starts on the social web. He has created some award winning employer branding and social recruiting with the Deloitte and pioneered recruitment-context live streaming video and interactive chat initiatives that have already been adopted by the likes of National Australia Bank, Ernst & Young Australia/NZ and Lion Australia. Paul has seen a fair share of rule breaking companies on Facebook and was our go-to man for this topic.

Whether it is intentional or simply a lack of knowledge, employers are breaking Facebook rules on a daily basis. Sure it won’t close down your business overnight, but it can have a detrimental effect on your publicity as in the cases of Velvet Burger and Hell Pizza. Even though most broken rules are done as part of an innocent attempt to grow Facebook fans, the rules still apply, whether you are a big international or a smaller fast food brand. Take for example a Facebook competition giveaway; it may seem simple enough but there are other things you will need to consider such as use of third-party application, how you will notify winners through mediums other than Facebook and avoiding no-no's such as use of Facebook ‘Like’ increases as a voting or measurement system, warns Paul.

“If you do it right, then you avoid the tears and anguish of being shut down by Facebook, even temporarily. Instead of obsessing over growing fan numbers, try to create a page that adds value to the community - innovate in other ways. Again, look to what the leading brands are doing on Facebook for inspiration”.

And what are our expert’s thoughts on Velvet Burger’s incident? “Much as I like Velvet Burger, and felt slightly sorry for the action Facebook took towards them, rules are rules. Facebook is offering a free service to page owners, and for whatever reason they have these rules in place, so isn't it only fair and just that page owners abide by them, one could strongly argue”.

While Facebook ‘Like’ increases remain a common used indicator and reach is important, Paul advises taking a broader approach to reaching this goal. Rather than only buying or directly asking for people to like your page, ‘Likes’ are just as likely to be achieved through doing things that drive engagement with the audience and add value to their community. Paul advises on starting with inviting your employees to like the Facebook page, or better yet, get them involved and showcase them. Then, let the jobseekers know about them too; it’s as simple as putting a few links on sites such as GradConnection and other social platforms. 

Paul has said that at the very basic level, employers should regard their fans as subscribers who want to hear their messages. They should be driving engagement and communication by asking their Facebook community questions and looking for more ways to create emotional engagement with their fans. He also notes that while there is a lot of employer broadcasting on Facebook, very little of it is true engagement. Regardless of the size of the organisation, employers can still encourage conversation and be responsive. They no longer need to limit themselves to only one social media channel and should be looking to connect on other platforms such as Google+ and running Hangout sessions just as Deloitte have done with pleasing results. Conversations are no longer limited to just the recruiter and the student but can also run between the students themselves where communities can really begin to form.

While all this social media talk may be a lot to take in if you aren't very tech-savvy, this is a field of knowledge that the modern day HR and recruitment professional should add to their capability set. So how can you best approach it?

“My advice is to just start, participate. But most importantly you must have a relentless desire to win in this space.  If you don't you, can surround yourselves with experts, but if your passion and drive is not contagious it will be just a box ticking exercise and will probably fail. Focus on experimentation, on 'test practice' rather than 'best practice'. Think what your unique voice will be. It's more about strategic intent, understanding your audience, and employer branding than it is about technology. And yes, don't be afraid to ask experts for help, but avoid anybody who calls themselves a guru and look for those who've had actual success elsewhere. Don't be blinded by their self-promotional guff and thousands of followers on Twitter, who were probably bought from some street cart in China.”

Paraphrasing Anna's article, below we have summed up some Cannot's for a few key Facebook segments:

Facebook Rules

Paul Jacobs

Paul Jacobs’ latest venture is Jobgram, a crusade to make job advertising more interesting and engaging for jobseekers. Info graphic-style Jobgrams are designed to tap into referral networks and be shared across online professional and personal networks, reaching a wider range of passive and active jobseekers. Follow the links to see examples:

 http://getajobgram.com, http://www.linkedin.com/in/pauljacobs

To read Anna Gervai's article in Idealog, click here.

For full Facebook Advertising Guidelines, click here.


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