5 Ways to Stay Off Facebook’s Account Closure List
The Role Social Networks Play, and how Diversification will help fill the Gap
Facebook and Instagram have been spending the last year doing wholesale deletions of marijuana-related accounts. On any given day, hundreds or thousands of profiles, groups, and communities have been deleted without any notification.
While there is no guarantee on how to avoid deletion, there are some guidelines that appear to help.
Bear in mind that in their Terms of Service (TOS), Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have the right to do anything they want, any time they want. They include in their TOS’s clauses you are not allowed to promote anything illegal, even if it’s legal in your region. This is a bit vague, but since you get to use their platforms and software, mostly for free, they get to call the shots.
Once your account has been deleted, there is unfortunately little or no recourse. The only advice we have for those who fall victim to these discriminatory account closures, is to wait and be patient. Some companies have reported that their sites are reactivated after a couple of day.
What You Can Do to Stay Compliant
A spokeswoman for Facebook told MJBiz Magazine that, while it’s okay to educate, you can’t promote or sell marijuana or paraphernalia on Facebook. This does not give us a lot to work with, but here 5 guidelines to follow that align with the spokeswoman’s statement:
- Avoid sales prices, coupons, etc. – Anything that overtly promotes the sale of marijuana, pipes, etc. is a violation of law (at the federal level) and can get you kicked off.
- Don’t use paid boosting – Facebook lets you pay money to boost your posts so more people see them. This also call attention to your account.
- Keep the kids away– Don’t use images that can be seen as controversial. Cartoons, sexually suggestive images, and overt drug consumption are all going to attract the wrong kind of attention.
- Watch the hashtags – While hashtags are a great way to push you postings up in the search rankings, they also make it easier for the censors to find your accounts. Be very judicious with hashtags.
- Educate instead of selling – Make sure that all of your posts are educational instead of promoting any product of the use of that product. This is maybe the most important tip of all. Education based content is King, and will help your business build authority and trust. Once you have the trust of your readers, they will be more willing to purchase from you.
The Worst Betrayal
Interestingly, there are some unverified complaints that many of these accounts are being deleted when a marijuana competitor turns in another company. There should be nothing more reprehensible than one marijuana vendor causing another to lose their hard-earned account. But don’t be fooled, it is a dog eat dog world out there, and as competition increases, so will the ruthlessness of the business.
The best course of action is to keep things on the up and up. Follow the rules, and you have nothing to worry about.
Diversifying your Marketing Strategy
It is possible to remain in business without having an Instagram or Facebook account. After you’ve built a simple profile, populate it with happy images and notices. Invite readers to check out your website, etc. Additional techniques include:
- Build a great website – Your website is your real storefront on the net. Building a great website will get you lots of visitors. Make sure that your site stays up-to-date, and whenever possible make it mobile friendly.
- Blogging – A consistent blog is one of the very best ways to keep your digital presence visible to search engines and customers.
- Invest in a Mobile App – Getting a Mobile App built will really help you stand out from the competition. And with all the restrictions on Social Platforms, there is no better way to communicate directly with your consumer base.
- Email marketing – There are dozens of great sites and programs that you can use to build your reach to potential customers (MailChimp being one of the more popular ones for small business). If you’re not sure or don’t have the time to learn, hire a professional to put it all together for you.
- In-person events – It might seem like a radical idea, but seminars, trade shows, and more are great places to build your customer base and contacts.
While it is great to be on Instagram or Facebook, be sure that those sites don’t represent all or even most of your online efforts. They can disappear on you without a moment’s notice.