3 Facebook Policies YOU Need to Know About

I think it’s safe to say we have all broken one of Facebook’s policies whether small or large at some point. We have had to jump through Facebook’s hoops to unlock our page or profile and receive the good graces of Facebook once again.

The problem is we didn’t know about the policy in the first place. We’re just attempting to keep up with Facebook’s changes and are doing the best we can. We’re a nonprofit for gosh-sakes! We aren’t trying to hurt anyone.

The problem is Facebook is a huge company. They don’t have the time to tease out who’s who, good intentions and honest mistakes. Facebook will work with you to right wrongs and clear up misunderstandings but it can take a while and in the meantime you’re down for the count.

This piece will flush out the top three Facebook policies you need to know about to prevent unnecessary pain and frustration.

Fake Profiles

The policy:

Facebook does its best to shut down fake profiles according to section four of its terms of use:

“Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:

  • You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission
  • You will not create more than one personal account.”
  • Common mistakes:

    Nonprofits most commonly break this rule when they create a special profile to access their organization’s page or ad account through. This profile and its login information are then shared with the rest of the team to give people access to the page.


    If Facebook closes your fake profile, you can lose access to your organization’s Facebook page as well as well as any ad accounts tied to this profile. This is especially true if the fake profile was the only “user” on the page or ad account. This means you can lose access to any ad credits or ads data inside the account.


    Don’t create or use a shared profile to access your organization’s page(s) or ad account(s). Beyond the consequences above there are numerous security concerns with this method.

    Instead, simply add your teammate’s personal profiles to the page(s) and ad account(s). This is how Facebook wants you to give permission to different accounts and how the platform is designed to work.

    Do note: personal profiles that have access to a Facebook page are not publicly linked to the page in any way.

    How to add someone to a Facebook page.

    How to add someone to a Facebook ad account.

    Another option is to use Facebook Business Manager to manage your organization’s page and ad account. Again you will be giving access to individual users not shared profiles.

    Changing your Page Name

    The policy

    Facebook doesn’t freely allow page managers to change their page’s name once established.

    Facebook doesn’t want a page to gain a number of likes under one name and then change the name of the page to something else. This can lead to user confusion, situations of bait and switch and fraud.

    Once a page has over 200 likes all page name changes are by request only. You may only change the name of your page once. After that initial change, you will need to appeal directly to Facebook for any addition page name changes.

    facebook page change

    Common Mistakes

    Most commonly nonprofits run into this issue when making small changes to their organization’s page name for clarity. They’ll make these changes not realizing there are limits and request processes to change a page’s name.

    facebook page change bellingham


    Your page’s name can be locked down and inaccessible to you.


    Knowledge is king! Know that changing your page’s name is no small matter and you only have one easy shot at it. Think it through and make it count!

    20% text rule

    The policy:

    Facebook only allows ad images to contain 20% text.

    “Ads that have more than 20% of text in their image won’t be approved to run on Facebook or Instagram. Too much text can look like spam and make people think that your ad is low quality. Make sure to use the headline and body of your ad to tell people more about why you’re advertising and what you want them to do.”

    Common Mistakes:

    Submitting ad images that contain more than 20% text.

    The Results:

    The ad is not approved. (In some cases the ad will be approved for a short time and then pulled)

    The Solution:

    Use a grid tool checker to check all your ad images before your submit them for review. This extra step will save you time, effort and frustration over rejected ads.

    Learn more about the 20% text rule and how to stay within it.

    Links to relevant documents:

    We strongly suggestion that you bookmark the following links or keep them someplace handy. There are many more policies we did not cover in this piece you will need to know. Again knowledge is power. The more you know, the less likely you are to mistakenly violate one of Facebook’s policies.

    Community guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards

    Page guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

    Advertising policies: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/

    Facebook terms upon sign up: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

    Understanding the architecture of your different Facebook accounts

    The goal of this piece is to define each of these accounts and how they relate to one another.


    Your Personal Profile

    Your personal Facebook profile is your key to the kingdom. This is the account through which you will access all of the rest. You need your personal profile to log into Facebook, and to access your organization’s Facebook Page and Facebook ad account. You will also need this to authorize and use an ActionSprout account.

    Note: You can access your Facebook Page through the personal profile that you use every day. You will not need to create a separate profile used to log in and access your Page.

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    Your Organization’s Facebook Page

    This is your organization’s “real estate” on Facebook. This is where you’ll advocate for your cause as your organization and connect with supporters. For the most part, you cannot do certain things as your Page. You cannot join a Facebook group as your Page or use ActionSprout as your Page. Mostly, your organization’s Page is just for publishing and engaging with people through the content that you post.

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    Your Facebook Ad Account

    This is the account through which you will run your ads. Facebook ads are not created or managed through your Facebook Page. Likewise, having admin or advertising privileges to your organization’s Facebook Page does not mean that you have default access to the ad account. You must still be granted permission to the ad account.

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    Ad accounts are created and owned by individual users, not Pages. Once you have an ad account, you can name it and give it a primary payment method. This is what makes it “personal” or “professional.” Your “Page’s” ad account has simply been given the same name as your Page and is linked to your organization’s credit card.

    Think of it as your advertising bank account on Facebook. A bank account can be personal or professional. Until you name it and give it funds, it just is.

    Through this one ad account, you will be able to run ads for all the Pages on which you have advertising permissions. (When creating an ad, you will be prompted to choose on which Page you’d like to run the ad.)

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    Or, you can set up different ad accounts for each Page that you manage. This can be helpful if each Page has a separate team that will be helping you run the ads.

    How you set this up is entirely up to you.

    Please note: Whoever has access to the ad account in question has access to your ad credits. That means that your whole team can help create and manage your ads, not just the person who applied for or received the credits on behalf of your organization.

    Here are some helpful links:

    To access your Facebook ad account, follow these steps. To set up a new Facebook ad account, follow these steps.

    Your ActionSprout Account

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    ActionSprout is separate from Facebook. To access your ActionSprout account, you’ll visit the ActionSprout website at actionsprout.com and log in.

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    Even though ActionSprout is connected to your Facebook Page, you cannot access your ActionSprout tools through facebook.com or through your Facebook Page. Nor does ActionSprout exist inside your Facebook ad account.

    Think of ActionSprout as an addition or accessory to your organization’s Facebook Page. It allows you to do more through Facebook but does not replace your Facebook Page or Facebook ad account.

    Please note: You will access ActionSprout via your personal Facebook profile just like you access your organization’s Facebook Page through your personal profile. Once logged in, you will select the Facebook Page that you’d like to work on. This does not mean that ActionSprout will be connected or posting to your personal profile.

    Inside your ActionSprout account, you’ll find a tool called SmartAds. This tool does not replace your Facebook Ads Manager. It can, however, help you to automate some of the ads process and make things easier on you, especially if you are new to Facebook advertising.

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    SmartAds is not required to use ActionSprout or your ad credits. It is not how you access your ad credits. It is simply an additional tool at your disposal that can help make the ads process a little bit easier.

    You can learn more about SmartAds here.

    ActionSprout goes far beyond just Facebook ads though. You can use this tool to collect donations on Facebook, run petitions, collect supporter names and email addresses, track the success of your Page, curate content and more.

    For an overview of ActionSprout.

    Hopefully, this piece has given you a better idea of the accounts that you’ll use to manage your ad credits.

    Example Embedded Social Action

    Here’s an example of an Social Action that has been embedded into our website blog:

    How Facebook Advertising was used to find a lost dog’s family

    For some time, we had watched a surprisingly small number of nonprofits use Facebook advertising to effectively spread their message and build their community of supporters. This made us wonder what would happen if a broader community of nonprofits had access to these tools.

    Thanks to support from Facebook, ActionSprout launched a campaign to give 2,000 nonprofits the resources to experiment with Facebook advertising for three months.

    During the first month of the project, we saw many amazing stories, but one story really stood out and touched our hearts.

    Sally Baker Williams from the Humane Society of the Ozarksreceived a call from a nearby shelter about a found lost dog.

    “After receiving the call and an email with [the dog’s] photo from the nearby shelter, I searched for the dog/family in our data management software via the chip number, but was unsuccessful in locating him. The original microchip was from my organization, but it had not been registered and there were no adoption records due to some problems with record keeping a few years back. I was able to narrow down the time frame via the chip number, but still unable to locate any old records. That is when I decided to turn to social media.”

    With the help of her Facebook ad credits and some funding from a local full-service sign company, Williams used her ads account to spin up a boosted post in the hopes of reaching the dog’s family.

    She set up a targeted audience that ranged in age from 18‒65, with an overlapping distance radius to cover the four-county area that they served.

    She set a budget of $175.00 over a seven-day span for the ad, and hit go.

    “Within just a few hours, the post had reached over 5,000 people and we had located the owner! We only spent $2.81 of the budget.”

    Let’s reflect on that for a moment.

    Williams was able to use Facebook ads and find a lost dog’s family in just a matter of hours. For as little as $2.81, she had reached over 5,000 people and reunited a dog with his family.

    Everyone involved got to go home that day with a happy ending.

    What makes this even more amazing is the fact that Williams and the Humane Society of the Ozarks had very little past experience with Facebook advertising prior to this:

    “We did our first trial Facebook ad in November 2014 for an event. I think it garnered some interest, but it was very much a beginner’s first effort. I [had] made a couple of attempts at running Facebook ads around four years ago, but quickly felt overwhelmed in trying to figure out how to successfully do it.”* The Facebook ad credits have given Williams and the Humane Society of the Ozarks the opportunity and resources to revisit Facebook advertising in a powerful way:

    “Our experience [with the Facebook ad credits] has been overwhelmingly positive! The ad I ran for year-end giving had good responses [and] an ad for an elderly dog looking for a home was widely shared and he was adopted. Some other dogs were promoted and found homes swiftly. We also have a membership drive ad running right now that is doing excellent and we have new memberships coming in! I would like to sincerely express my gratitude for this program. I am learning with each ad I create, the ads are effective, and I am obtaining statistics I can present to my board of directors in order to adjust our budget to accommodate future ads.” Overall, ActionSprout has been humbled by the experience of this project. We’re only a month and a half into the ad credits project, and look forward to receiving more success stories like this.

    Facebook strategy from the content expert

    Sarah Burris knows her way around viral content. Sarah has managed many viral campaigns such as PaulRyanGossling, co-created Class War Kitteh, #HugAThug, #UnionHugs memes, and MotivationalBiden.com, which she calls “hacking pop-culture”.

    Over the last 10 years, she has worked on campaigns for candidates across the country. During the intense 2008 Presidential election, she was named one of the five Rock the Vote Rock the Trail Reporters, and reported on the election from a youth perspective. She attended the conventions, debates, and interviewed elected officials on the impact of the youth vote.

    Recently, we had the pleasure of reconnecting with Sarah and chatted about social strategy and audience engagement.

    How has your strategy / options about Facebook changed over time?

    Facebook changes every year, it seems like. Profiles were the start, then Pages, then the power Pages have been diminished, making profiles more important again, so it’s been about being nimble and able to take what curveballs Facebook throws you and switch up your strategy quickly.

    How do you use social actions, from ActionSprout, compared to traditional form-based actions on your website?

    We don’t do traditional form actions anymore. I’ve done them for places I’ve worked before, but when we started using ActionSprout, there was no reason for us to go back to the old way of doing things when our audience is on social media. Why should we make them leave social to weigh in on something?

    What are the top ActionSprout features you use most often?

    We use the petition functionality more than anything. We’ve completely replaced the normal petition tool with AS and it works for us!

    Tell us about a successful Action. Can you tell us what went into creating the Action?

    The best ones are ones that are evergreen. When we can reuse an Action based on what is trending in the news and redo the headline a little or tailor it to the latest issue, it allows us to keep it going. One is our Boycott for Birth Control, another is our Citizens United petition.

    What did you learn from this success more broadly? Is there anything you do differently now?

    Testing is key. We do this with our articles too. We know our audience pretty well at this point, and we know what they like and don’t like. The trick is to know when to give them something they want—like a digital dessert. While other times they need to know about and take action on something they SHOULD care about, but maybe don’t know about yet. That’s like giving them vegetables. So many organizations just want to farm people for names and emails. We want to enact actual change. We want to help spread the word, get people involved, inform, educate, inspire and more. So we have a delicate balance of the two types of petitions. The other thing is we get our writers involved. We aren’t a huge operation; we only have a handful of staff, so if a writer has an idea, we let them try it. If it doesn’t work, we see how we can change it to learn from what we test and try it again.

    What did you learn about your audience from this success?

    We learned that our audience loves their pet issues and they respect us for pushing issues they don’t know about. It makes them appreciate us more and builds a stronger more dedicated relationship beyond just a random click or email address where they’re going to unsubscribe in droves. We treat our audience with a lot of respect and appreciation—sadly you don’t see that much from our competitors.

    How did you measure the success of this action? What metrics did you focus on?

    We don’t just look at an action signer, we look at the quality of the action signer. So, it’s about someone not only signing the action, but getting an email from us and staying involved. If someone signs an action and then unsubscribes and ignores the page and doesn’t care anymore, that’s not a success. A success is a new friend—a real friend—of BNR that appreciates us as much as we appreciate them.

    Do you have any advice for other nonprofits based on your learning?

    Be creative. Try everything. Don’t be so hardwired that you think the only way to do something is the way you’ve always done it. Try new things, try new formats, try new headlines and buttons and graphics. Test everything. Test it again. Wait a while and test it a third time. Be comfortable in evolving your strategy and perceptions about what works best. Things change so quickly in digital media, and if you don’t evolve with it, you’re dead!