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10 Practices to Avoid That Facebook Will Penalize Your Business Page For:
1.Posting too often. The more often you post, the less the quality of your posts–or at least, that’s the conclusion Facebook has come to. Because Facebook page rank concentrates on engagement of prior posts, posts with low engagement will actually hurt future page reach. So it’s better to have one dynamite post, than many low-engagement posts.
2.Low engagement with a user. Facebook algorithms give credit to pages who have received feedback from a particular user (posts, comments, likes, tags, and shares). So, if a user consistently interacts with a page, more page posts are likely to show up on that user’s page. However, if a user rarely interacts with a page, the opposite is true, and page posts tend to be rarely seen by a particular user. So, a user may be reading, even enjoying, your page posts, but unless they engage with you, your posts will not end up on their wall. So, this makes calls to action more important than ever.
3.Low engagement with all users. If a page consistently receives little interaction from its fans in general, it will also be penalized. Low interaction is a red flag to Facebook that lowers the overall page rank of the page. So businesses in low engagement industries (like insurance agencies) are generally ranked lower than a page with a lot of passionate followers (for example, an animal shelter or politician).
4.Spammy posts. Because users can easily “hide” your posts, or “report story or spam” by clicking on the arrow next to a page post, posts seen as pure marketing spam (i.e. “Buy our products.”) are easily reported as such. Once reported, Facebook, much like Google, pushes the down the ranking of pages deemed “spammy.”
5.Not paying for ads. While Facebook insists it does not penalize pages that do not place pay-for-play ads, we do know that organic reach of pages on Facebook has deflated 20 percent, and viral reach has decreased 45 percent. Generally, companies have had to supplement this decrease in reach with Facebook advertising in order to meet the page reach numbers of early 2012.
6.Posting at the wrong time. Knowing when your fans are online and ready to be engaged, as well as targeting times when interaction is high and competition is low will both help with your page’s Facebook reach. Remember that your page is a small fish in an even bigger pond now, so if you are able to post when other companies are offline (such as after 5pm and on weekends), but when your customers are still online, it’s a win-win.
7.Using third-party services. Using scheduling services such as Hootsuite, Viral Heat, or Sprout Social to schedule your Facebook posts will gain you only one thing: an even lower reach. That’s because Facebook recognizes, and penalizes these third-party apps, giving them less credibility than posts made directly on Facebook. This is true for businesses that push their Twitter feed through Facebook as well.
8.Using hashtags#. Hash tags (#) and “@” symbols are a dead giveaway for Twitter, Instagram, and other listing services, and incorporating them into your posts is an instant flag to Facebook that your post originated or exists on other social networks. Therefore, Facebook penalizes posts that use these symbols. We found it decreased the reach to about six percent of total fans, which makes sense, because Facebook doesn’t want users to advertise other social media platforms that it competes against.
9.Not finding your niche. The users that your page interacts with are important too. If the majority of your engagement comes from a few sole fans, an administrator on the account, or spammy (or even non-existent) users, expect that interaction to work against–not for–your page. The best case scenario is to target a local area, group, or demographic and raise engagement among those users, who will then spread viral word of mouth to their Facebook friends about your page.
10.Setting up your page incorrectly. Setting up your page incorrectly, or as a personal page when it’s really a business page, can not only cause confusion and scare off potential “friends” or “fans” (because it allows businesses to see personal information normally not accessible to a business page), it is a direct violation of Facebook rules and could land you without a Facebook presence at all. Be sure you or an experienced social media consultant sets up your page to truly reflect the type of business you are running, and makes it easily searchable. It is also a good idea to check that your business name is not a victim of trademark infringement, spam, or an angry customer who created a negative page on your business’s behalf by conducting a search of your company name as well.