Without warning, I recently saw a Facebook Fan Page I'd built and leveraged for several years removed and deleted.
During the chaotic experience, I learned several things about Facebook from a customer service perspective:
I had no warning or opportunity to fix whatever was wrong with my page - it was simply gone. I didn't know about it until I logged into Facebook and tried to access it.
Despite the fact that I've spent thousands of dollars on Facebook Ads using that page since 2012, I was unable to find a phone number or Live Chat option to reach someone about the issue.
It took 48 hours to get an email response from Facebook, and even then it was just generic and didn't help resolve anything or explain why my page was taken down.
After another 72 hours of waiting, I finally learned why my page had been taken down without warning - I'd apparently posted something on my page that someone said violated a copyright claim. I "think" it was an image I'd shared that had a corporate logo in it, but I still can't be sure, because Facebook never told me what the offending content was.
My only opportunity to try and resolve the issue was to send an email to the person that complained/reported my page to Facebook. (Facebook gave me their email address.) I emailed the person asking what I did, how I could fix the situation, etc., and got no reply. That was 10 days ago.
So, to recap: A Facebook Fan Page I spent several years (and thousands of dollars) building is suddenly gone, and it's unlikely I can do anything to get it back.
The Big Lesson
Here's my point: You need to be extremely wary when building your online marketing platform on someone else's digital land.
Thankfully, I've heeded this advice for years, always focusing on driving traffic to my website and building my email list whenever possible.
As a result, my business barely missed a beat after that Fan Page was removed on Facebook.
Sure, it threw a monkey wrench into my Facebook marketing efforts, and I certainly wasn't impressed with the difficultly and lack of direct customer support or transparency from Facebook, especially after spending thousands on Facebook Ads.
But such is life in the Wild West of digital marketing.
Don't Build on Rented Land
If you choose to build your online house on someone else's digital property, don't be shocked if they kick you out, raise the rent or change the rules without warning.
Now, as someone who makes his living teaching Business Coaches, Consultants and others how to use LinkedIn to find clients and generate new business, it's ironic that I'm writing those words.
With all that said, I still use Social Media (especially LinkedIn) to grow and market my LinkedIn training program and other businesses.
The key is not becoming too dependent or reliant on those social media channels when it comes to having conversations with prospects, delivering products or talking to your customers.
In fact, the first thing you should do when encountering a prospect on LinkedIn (or any social media channel) is to get them off LinkedIn and over to your website, email or the phone instead.
If I can give you one parting piece of advice, it's this - focus on building your email list and developing a website that you can use to deliver your products and services directly to customers.
Keep using Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels to find and market to quality prospects, but as soon as possible, get them off those networks and over to your digital property (your website, email list, etc.) instead.