Social Media : To Facebook Hell & Back
By Jon Emile Randles
How do you tell one of your favourite clients that their Facebook page, which has been painstakingly built up to over 20,000 loyal and engaged fans, has disappeared? Very carefully. And by email.
Mosh is an independent social media agency that has been operating in NZ for a couple of years quietly collecting experience, clients & case studies. Every day we see businesses and brands trying to build their Facebook fan base through various means. Some use a thorough strategy of connecting their existing contact base and engaging them with strong content; some buy fans through advertising; and some use promotions which we quite often see breaching Facebook’s terms and conditions.
NZ is very far away from Palo Alto and you would be forgiving in thinking, “Facebook won’t care what we do here”. But they do care, dear reader, they do.
About two years ago we developed Hell Pizza’s social media programme which we continue to manage and consult on, and they have become one of our favourite clients. Early on, like many others, we ran a giveaway promotion on Facebook and were rapped across the knuckles for doing so with a friendly warning from their local advertising rep. “Stop doing that,” said Facebook.
And we did. We then spent countless hours on learning the Ts & Cs by rote, and evangelically spreading the Good Word to follow the rules to friends and colleagues.
Late 2010, Hell was sponsoring a charity, The Little Lotus Project, which was to see two Wellington volunteers travel to the Thai/Burma border to raise money for refugee children. Hell had pledged $1 for every ‘Like’ the Facebook page received.
We hadn’t come up with this strategy but we did promote it on the Hell page. Very soon after that the page was taken down. To this day we still don’t know how we offended; was it by promoting ‘Likes’ to a page? Or because we were raising money for a charity directly on Facebook? Or because Facebook’s spiders picked up on keywords and they pulled the trigger first to ask questions later?
We discovered contacting Facebook directly was like trying to get a direct line to God. The NZ rep wasn’t able to assist. Nor did the multiple contact forms we dutifully filled out. Weeks passed and we were no closer to regaining the page. The Hell bosses were really good but we knew their patience could only last so long.
We were at a loss when one Sunday I had a phone call from one of the members from The Little Lotus Project: “Jon, I’ve got the Hell page up and running for you.” My trembling fingers typed in facebook.com/hellpizza and lo, there it was in all its glory.
“How the hell did you do that?” Pat, this wonderful little man, had popped in on a friend in Newtown. This friend was having a bbq. The flatmate was there, and so was her brother from Australia. And guess who he worked for? Facebook Australia :) “No problem,” he said. “I’ll turn that back on when I get home.” And he did.
The Hell page has been up since looking better than ever; our clients are pleased; and our sphincters unclenched. We now take a murderous amount of care when discussing Facebook etiquette with our clients and that has helped us stand above the cowboys.
So unless you have a direct line to God, we suggest you take the Terms & Conditions seriously. We do.
– Jon Emile Randles is a director at Mosh
(www.facebook.com/TheMoshHouse), which helps businesses utilise the power of social media.
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