Big News (to me)!

I’ve been blocked from Facebook. Yep, the Facebook dude who runs multiple accounts, has multiple pages, pays for advertising (I have paid Facebook thousands), and runs groups has been blocked. How do I know? I got an email Wednesday morning from Facebook saying, “Your account has been temporarily suspended. You have to send a picture ID and it has to be a state ID and block out your drivers license number and your address, anything that we don’t need, and you have to prove your date of birth, and you have to have a picture on there, and it has to be a state registered ID card.”

What would you or anybody else do? Do what I did and comply! I sent them a photo of my driver’s license with my license number and address blocked out. I didn’t hear anything, so I sent it again. I sent it from inside of my online app since it was asking for it on my phone too. Then I responded to the email that they had sent me. They gave me a customer support case number, which I was able to respond to for six days. On day one, nothing happened. On day two, I asked what I could do to expedite this. On days three, four, five and six, I heard nothing. I even said, “Thank You.” I really tried to be nice. My inquiries were met with no responses. I’ve been blocked from Facebook. WHAT THE HECK?

I want to share a handful of things I learned from this experience with you.

This Could Happen To You!

Number one, anybody can get blocked at any time, for any reason, with no warning. Since this happened, I’ve heard and talked to a bunch of other people who have been in, what they call, Facebook jail. They all got randomly blocked and don’t know why. They didn’t do anything uber political and they didn’t attack somebody. I don’t know if somebody complained about something I posted. I post some funny stuff. I post a quote of the day, a caption contest, my podcast, my blogs and other things that normal people would post, but I certainly don’t post anything controversial. I’m not posting fake news. I’m not even that big of a celebrity. Yet, Facebook has decided that they needed to block me.

There was some fallout from this. I was getting texts and phone calls. My wife was getting a whole bunch of messages inside of her Facebook account asking, “What’s up with Brian? What’s happened? What’s going on?” I have a client, who I just got off the phone with, tell me that she was reading my book and trying to tag me and she goes, “Oh my god. He de-friended me.” I got a text message from somebody saying, “Dude, I’m sorry I hurt you.” I had to respond back to him and say, “You didn’t hurt me. You didn’t do anything. I got blocked.” He was relieved and I told him, “Dude, you can never do anything to hurt me.” Being blocked has created a ton of chaos in my life, because I do spend so much time on Facebook. WHAT THE HECK?

How To Become More Productive

My second point is that while I was blocked from Facebook, I’ve actually been uber productive. I’ve been able to do a lot more, because I’m not spending any time on there. I can’t do the things that I would normally do, like the caption contest or the quote of the day. Usually I spent time responding to things that other people post or just interact with people. Not having that option (or problem) has opened up a ton of time. It has also made me realize how much time I’m actually spending on Facebook. I think once I get it back (and I hope I get it back), I’m going to be a little bit more aware of how much time I spend on there and will try to limit that time. I hope I can still be as productive and proactive as I was without Facebook access. I am also getting fewer notification emails about people responding to and liking my posts!

This has been a huge lesson for me and has opened my eyes to how much time I have been spending on Facebook! WHAT THE HECK?

You Don’t Own Your Social Media

The third lesson, which I have often talked about before, is that you don’t own anything that you post on any social media platform. I’ve heard many people say, “I’m going to put up a website on Wix,” or, “I’m going to go to and get a free this or that,” or, “I’m just going to run my business out of Facebook, because that’s where all of my people are.” YOU DON’T OWN IT! YOU DON’T EVEN RENT IT! THEY DO and THEY CONTROL YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE!

When you get shut down, you realize you have no control over anything. Social media can shut you down in a heartbeat. Not too long ago, a company that had 4.5 million followers on Facebook broke some rule, and poof, they were gone just like that. The lesson to be learned here is you don’t own anything on social media. You’ve got to have a website. You have to control your own website. The purposes of social media are being a relationship-building tool and a content distribution platform. It is not a platform for building a business.

Start out by making sure that you own your own domain name. If you’re working with a web company or something like that, don’t let them register it. I’ve seen it happen where people have let other businesses register their domain name and then that company goes bankrupt, somebody dies, or whatever. You never want to see that happen when all of a sudden nobody’s paying the bill and their domain name and your websites go away and you can’t claim them back. Then there are companies out there that will scoop up domain names and try to sell it back to you at a premium! I bought and then I bought the .net, .org and others. Then I decided I didn’t want to pay $20 a year each for those, so I let them expire. I thought I would protect my brand by buying all of them. Now, I feel if somebody else wants to buy them, who cares? (This may or may not be a good idea… to be continued).

But the thing is that before it got canceled, somebody was offering to sell me back my own domain name. People will scoop it up and they could charge you upwards of thousands of dollars to get it back.

So, here is my recommendation. Register your domain name account. I don’t care if it’s at Namecheap, GoDaddy, or anywhere else you can register a domain name. Just make sure that you own it, it’s on your credit card and you’re getting the emails. When something is wrong, or when it’s time to renew, you don’t want to leave that in control of anybody else.

The same goes for web hosting. I used to recommend GoDaddy for domain names and web hosting just because it was easy for my clients. Lately, I’ve been finding more and more problems with them. I’m not trying to pick on GoDaddy, but there are many other ones out there, including HostGator. In general, they’re okay, but they’re not going to upgrade you to the latest technology. You could be working on a 3 or 4-year-old platform. Recently I had a bunch of sites that I manage update a single Google Analytics plug-in on WordPress. The only websites that broke and locked out any interaction were on GoDaddy and a few other random web hosts. It was not a tough fix, but it was a hassle (these people pay me to maintain their websites and updates). You really want to get a good professional web hosting solution.

I have been recommending A2 Hosting. I’ve been using them for my 18 websites and dozens of clients’ sites. They’re an independent company, so a big conglomerate does not own them. They’re based in Michigan. It’s a little bit more expensive, but you get great WordPress optimized web hosting. (P.S. none of the websites hosted by A2 broke or were compromised by the same plug-in mentioned above).

So register your web hosting account and own it. WHAT THE HECK?

Save and Update All Passwords

The fourth lesson is to make sure that you keep your passwords in a spreadsheet or some kind of system and that you maintain all of that stuff in your own system. I can recommend LastPass or another program called 1Password. These are both great places to save all your passwords. If you make any changes to them, they can sync with all your devices (phones, tablets, and desktops) keeping them current and at your fingertips. Then, whoever you’re working with, whether it’s a web master or social media person, make sure that you’re sharing if you change your password. When I had that plug-in that broke all of those sites, I spent too much time chasing down clients for their changed passwords. As I said, it only broke on the GoDaddy sites, not on any of the A2 sites. That’s why I recommend that you invest in great web hosting. Make sure you have those passwords saved and they are ready to find in case of any problems. WHAT THE HECK?

Bonus Tip and Final Thoughts

The final tip is to have a backup plan. That means you need to backup your websites and online properties at least weekly, if not daily. Also, if your social media platform of choice goes away (like did) or blocks you (because you have ticked off the internet Gods), think about what can you do to make up for that lost audience. I have not stopped posting blogs, podcasts and quotes to Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ (yes Google+). Go search Facebook Jail on Google+ and see what shows up on the 1st page?

I am neither down nor out. I am determined to work it and wait it out since I have so much invested in Facebook. I have brand pages, Facebook groups, ads, and dozens of client pages and properties I manage. But if that never comes back, I will keep on building the business and marketing my butt off!

P.S. I hope this NEVER happens to you!