Do you run ads at Twitter or Facebook? These social media platforms are among the least expensive advertising opportunities around — digital or traditional. Even if you’ve run ads before and feel pretty comfortable with it, though, you may need social cause certification before you can run your next ad campaign.
If you’re selling shoes this is not an issue. But if you’re in the healthcare field, it can be. Twitter lists issues covered, and plain old “healthcare” is one of them. Facebook lists “health.” Other items on the lists include climate change, civil rights, immigration, taxes, and other “issues of national importance.”
Of course, actual political ads are also included.
Do it now
If you think you might want to run ads on topics of national importance, go ahead and get certified now. The process can take two weeks if you’re successful. We’re all accustomed to almost instant turnaround on social media ads, so this process can really take the wind out of your sails if you’re not prepared.
However, it’s not that easy to begin the process. Twitter has a page with basic info and a link to the Help center, where you can find questions about issue ads which will lead you eventually to the form you must fill out. Facebook has an info page, too, with instructions on finding the beginning of the process.
In both cases, you will need to have some documentation (a drivers license or passport, a tax ID number, stuff like that). You must have admin privileges and an ad account, too.
We also had to answer questions about whether or not we were associated with certain people, what town a long-ago address was located in, and similar information. Suffice it to say, you can’t really delegate this process to an intern.
The first thing to do for both Twitter and Facebook is to make sure that you are following the rules. If you are living in the Ukraine and pretending to be in the United States or you have Twitter accounts in the names of multiple fake organizations, then you are the guy Twitter and Facebook are trying to smoke out.
But you might just have your Facebook business page set up under “first name= Schyuler last name = Dental” because you didn’t know any better. Or your Twitter handle might be different from your professional website because your business has changed and your Twitter account has not.
A lack of connection between your Instagram account and your Facebook business page, a general lack of transparency in your online presence, or a misleading photo (like your dog, whose name is “Dental, Schuyler Dental”) can all trip you up. These things can also cause your web visitors to feel you are less than trustworthy. See this as an opportunity to clean that stuff up.
Fill out the forms
With your identification and phone at the ready, fill out the forms. If you need to send in a photo of your license or passport, take the time to get a good shot of both front and back, without glare or competing background.
Ask me how I know that.
Be prepared for all kinds of security processes, from personal questions to codes sent to you. Both Twitter and Facebook will send you physical letters to your physical address to confirm that you live where you say you do.
The process will take several days at minimum, and may take until you confirm with that snail mail letter, 7 to 12 days after you fill out the form.
While you’re waiting, take a little time to appreciate the extra safety and security the process gives you as a consumer.
This might help you feel better about the fact that you keep getting notices saying that your ads have been approved and your boosts are running… even though they aren’t. The giveaway is that your ad reports show no spend and no impressions.
Yes, this is one of those blog posts written after making a mistake. In our case, we just didn’t think the ad we were configuring was particularly political. We received many notices saying that it was approved, running, active, and other cheery terms. That was not true.
Fortunately, you can get your Instagram account certified at the same time as your Facebook account, assuming the two are clearly connected.
As far as we know, Pinterest and LinkedIn don’t have this requirement. Please share in the comments if you know of other platforms that do!