Social networking is such a big part of online marketing today that businesses and professionals who are trying to maintain a strong online presence simply can’t afford to have an online social networking account blocked or restricted. Generally, accounts are blocked when the holder of the account violates a social network term of use. To make sure that businesses and professionals don’t risk losing a social networking account, the following list outlines some of the most common reasons why accounts are blocked:

Inappropriate Content

Posting inappropriate or offensive pictures, documents, videos, etc. can get many social networking accounts suspended. Since social networking accounts used for business are professional accounts, there should be no question about this. However, instances of individuals confusing personal and business accounts are all too common in our modern digital age, and having to apologize to page followers for inappropriate content posted to the page by a distracted account manager is nothing easy. Not only may the incident alienate customers and clients, but it will bring into question the business’ overall level of professionalism.

False Accounts

Most social networks clearly state in their terms of use that individual accounts must be held by the person who created the account. Creating accounts in false names, under the names of other people, or under the name of a business instead of an individual, is enough to get accounts on many social networks blocked. For example, creating a business account under a Facebook or LinkedIn profile intended for individuals may lead to an account suspension or block.

Facebook allows businesses to hold pages, but not profiles. Pages are for businesses, entities, community causes, etc., while profiles are for individuals who actually exist. LinkedIn does not offer anything like this – anyone who uses LinkedIn must be an individual. The individual can attach the name of the business to his or her profile, but the primary profile must be held by an individual.

Abuse of the System

Harassing other members of the social network will also get accounts locked. It can be easy to get roped into a virtual shouting match over a product or service, but businesses and professionals should never respond inappropriately or engage in negative or unallowed behavior on social networks. Even if responding to a legitimate complaint, it is generally better to let bygones be bygones and to use the situation as a learning experience. Not only will engaging in negative or unallowed behavior get an account suspended, but it will also distract from the actual business behind the profile.

Don’t Stress – Just Outsource

Instead of learning all of the rules for all of the social networks in order to stay online and visible within the social networking realm, businesses and professionals are encouraged to outsource the job of social network profile management to a small team of dedicated online marketing professionals. This will help keep overhead expenses down, will keep employees focused on their primary duties instead of online marketing, and will result in high quality results without the hassles of dealing with a large, out of touch marketing firm.