From the playground of childhood, to the fantasy football field of adulthood, rules and guidelines for behavior are in place. Social media, including Facebook, is no different.
Facebook has its own Community Standards, Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Facebook Pages terms, which govern the way Facebook users and pages interact. They also spell out what activities and language can and cannot be used. With Facebook taking the lead on terms of service, brands don’t need to have their own guidelines, right? Wrong. In the interest of transparency, it is important that brand’s set up their own guidelines for their pages to set expectations with the community.
Let’s go back to talking about fantasy football. Each league has a commissioner who sets up how the league will be run. Team owners need to know how points will be scored, who wins in a tie-breaker, how trades will be handled and, most importantly, how many teams make the playoffs. It’s all laid out at the beiginning of the season and everyone’s on the same page and ready to play by the rules. Chaos is avoided and everyone can have fun. A Facebook page community manager is like the league commissioner. By establishing formal guidelines, expectations are set for both fans and community managers on how the page will be moderated and managed.
What should be included in page guidelines?
One important part of page guidelines is laying out what is considered inappropriate content that can be deleted and even get a fan banned from the page. Inappropriate content can include profane and defamatory language, copyright violations, commercial solicitations, sexually explicit links or comments and spam, for example. Writing out what will not be tolerated provides insight to fans on what will happen if they post such content and gives them a heads up on what they can post. It also provides reference for community managers to refer to when moderating the page.
While it may seem logical that calling someone a *bleep bleep* is cause for deleting a comment, spelling it out in guidelines protects the integrity of both the brand and the community and promotes transparency.
Furthermore, setting your own guidelines spells out how you will and will not interact with your community too. Will the page answer customer service questions? Does the brand have the right to re-use or re-share any content, image, or post by a Fan on the page or for marketing? Is there an email for fans to take the conversation offline? If so, provide contact information. Let fans know what they can use the page for and make it useful for them.
Creating fan guidelines isn’t just about telling fans what will get their posts deleted or themselves, banned. These house rules can set the vision and purpose of a page. Guidelines help build the foundation of a brand’s community. A strong foundation will allow the page to grow and serve as an authoritative voice for the brand. There is a sense of camaraderie between brands and their fans on Facebook that should be cultivated and nurtured. Setting your own page guidelines will help achieve that goal.
Where should a brand’s house rules go?
Page guidelines should be written in the “about” section on your page. This part of a page serves as an easy to find place to host the guidelines and expectations of the page and community.
Having Facebook page guidelines is a win-win for the brand and its fans. Communicate with your fans and engage them? Touchdown.