Facebook. Love it or hate it. Facebook has to be one of THE most powerful social media platforms in the known Universe. Me? I love it. Since I became a published Author, Facebook has become my primary tool to meet new and existing readers and to publicize my work. There is not a day goes by that I am not eagerly scrolling through Facebook and interacting with my friends, posting amusing little ditties, sharing my work and chatting in my various groups. But there within lies the danger. FACEBOOK JAIL!
When I first started my social media adventure, I was like a child lost in a giant sweet shop! I could barely contain myself. So what did i do? I went around like a giddy fool joining as many book groups as i could. I skipped around like a raving loony, and being a newbie, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. And where did that get me? FACEBOOK JAIL! Those nefarious Facebook Bots saw me as a SPAMMER, and I got myself a 3 day sentence on a planet far, far away. I could not post. I could not like. I could not breath!! It was like going to the loo and discovering you have run out of toilet paper. The whole world fell out of my ass.
So picture this. There I am, all these wonderful shiny groups to play in. What shall I do now? Oh, I know, I will make a lovely new post with some fabulous images and put in my blurb for my first book and the buy links! HA! Bloody marvelous, I thought to myself. I sat for ages, skipping from group to group posting my brand new glittering masterpiece. And what happened? Yeah, you guessed it, have a golden star!! More jail time. 3 days of complete social exclusion. How rude.
Another incident, and this one really grips my tit, involves my first ever Author Takeover Event in a Facebook group. I was invited to take part in the event where, for one hour, readers could ask me questions and generally grill me about my work, and I would have the chance to answer their questions. Now, remember, this was my FIRST event, so I was nervous and very excited. Well slap my thigh, I had never seen anything like it. So many people. So many questions. Bloody fantastic!! I was having a ball!! There I was, diligently answering all those wonderful people, and what happened? About 15 minutes before the end of the event, Facebook banned me!! YES!! I hear you cry out in outrage! Now this was a different kind of Facebook torture, because in this alternate universe, I could not reply to the questions or type in the event AT ALL! To say that I was humiliated would be an understatement. Thank god, some wonderful friends came to my rescue and we got through it, but it was a bloody nightmare!
What really pisses me off here, is that Facebook gives you the option to be able to create these events. They give you the technology to create them, advertise them, and invite hundreds of people to them. But woe betide you if you actually type too much in them! For god sake do not be a success. For god sake do not have so many questions to answer that your fingers burst into flames, BECAUSE THEY WILL BAN YOUR ASS!!!
Over the last few weeks, we have all seen our friends and colleagues fall victim of the Facebook Jail curse. Some of this is for the reasons already mentioned. Some for pushing their luck with naughty pictures... yes, we have all been there... but some because of sheer spite and nastiness. Let me explain.
I am a member of many groups, and yes, one or two of them may be a tad on the rude side. I'm an adult, so tough, get over it, move on. But that is the point. If you ask to be a member of one of these naughty groups, then you already know full well what goes on inside them and the type of material posted inside them. They are PRIVATE groups, so you know exactly what I am saying! DO NOT JOIN GROUPS JUST TO STIR UP SHIT! For the love of god! Why report pictures when you know full well what goes on inside these groups? If you don't like it, leave. If you do not like seeing a certain persons posts, leave or block them. Don't act like a bloody dick! Really, life is too short for such crap.
All too often I see Authors reported and banned out of jealousy and spite. I think this must be the most deplorable behavior of all. The Author community is a wonderful place. There is a lot of love and support, and so much kindness, and it truly is a privilege to be a part of. Yes, there are dramas, fights, disagreements, but what family unit doesn't experience such things? There is also the fakes and the trolls, the ass wipes of humanity who try to deceive us and hurt us. But guess what? We come together to help each other through. Because we are a family. And we care about each other. Authors and their readers are a very loyal bunch, and we all want the same thing. To enjoy each others company and read some amazing books. Without prejudice. Without judgment. So if you don't like an Author, for any reason, just block them. Move on.
Of late, Facebook has been on the rampage. Using robots to hunt out fake profiles, pictures they deem unfit, and they seem to be picking on those Authors who use Pen Names. This is a load of bollocks and unacceptable. An Author has every right to use a pen name. However, there is no way around this it seems. As human beings, we are only allowed one Facebook account. One. To protect ourselves and our brands that we work so hard to build, that account must be able to prove its identity when Facebook comes knocking. And they will. So always remember that. Be real. Be truthful.
Tolerance is a wonderful thing. So is respect. And kindness. If we could all demonstrate such things, then maybe that would be one less thing to worry about with regards to loosing our Facebook identities. We work so hard to build our followers and our community, why let a sad bunch of haters and losers spoil that for those who are genuine, and love Facebook for what it is, a community of friends.
So to finish off, here are some tips on avoiding Facebook jail. Be safe my Campers. But above all, be kind.
Let some time pass between posts.
if you are posting to groups, and so many of us do because of the nature of our work, spread your posts out! If Facebook notice that you are posting identical information everywhere, they will throw you in jail, and your posts will forever be marked as SPAM. Your Facebook account will also be marked as SPAM. So leave time between your posts. Alter them slightly half way through. Take your time, and play by the rules.
Create original content.
Ok, so hands up who searches Google for images to use in their posts? Or even just some amusing or naughty images to share to your favorite groups? Yes, you know who you are! Well, what you may not know, is that many of those images have already been marked as SPAM by Facebook and their clever little Bots. So guess what? You use them, you post once too often, then bang. Jail time. Sites like pic monkey are a great resource for images, and yes you may have to pay for them if you are using them professionally. But if you are posting for fun, be careful. Check the image. Because Facebook will.
Understand how Facebook works.
DO NOT use the name of your business for a personal account. Your profile is YOU. Groups, pages and blogs are used within your Facebook profile for such things, use them instead. That eliminates the FAKE issue with Facebook and keeps your account safe. It is also worth remembering that you can only have ONE Facebook account. Try to create more, and you will risk jail time, or worse, being banned for good.
Beware of Saboteurs!
Sadly, we have all been there. That sneaky person who is intent on destroying you by making your life a living hell. They report your groups, your posts, your pictures. They may even report your account to Facebook as being a fake. If you suspect anyone, if you detect suspicious behavior from an individual, block them. It really has to be as simple as that. Do not take risks. Do not confront them. Just block their asses. If they cannot see your posts, they cannot attack you.
Sadly, there is no real solution to this problem. We all need to be vigilant. But we also need to respect one another, and above all, be kind. If you don't like the posts or pictures you are seeing, leave the group or block the person. It is the safest thing to do, and the most adult.
Use shortened links in your site/posts.
Facebook will mark your links as SPAM if they even suspect you are posting them too much. An excellent tip is to shorten your LINKS using sites such as BITLY. This will help avoid Facebook marking your URL as SPAM.
Get a PA!
As an Author, it is very difficult to manage a full time job, write books and attend to numerous social media duties. Posting to hundreds of book groups is a trauma unto itself. And to be frank, I would rather cut off a tit than have to do that every day, every week. But this is where I am truly lucky. I met two of the most amazing women, Maggie Lane and Ronni Bee. They created RAM PA GROUP and they look after me and all my social media needs. These are two very clever women. They know all the rules and they have their business down to a fine art. They also manage all my social media events, and to be quite frank, I would be totally lost without them. So do yourself a favour. If you need to post your books out to hundreds of groups, and if you are an Author, hire the professionals. RAM enable me to do what I love, and that is to write. But more than that, they make me look good while they work behind the scenes spreading me far and wide!!