With the United States midterm elections upon us, for those running for office or involved with elected officials in some way, you may be wondering if now would be a good time to make a last ditch pitch to your constituency via Facebook (and Instagram) to help position you or your party to win the election come November. If you are already running political ads on Facebook, then yes, by all means make that final push and make it count. However, if you or your party have not yet run any political ads on the world’s biggest social network, you may be better off planning your social media strategy for the next election. Why? Read on . . .

As has been widely reported since the events of the 2016 Presidential Election, many have placed blame on various groups for unduly influencing the nation’s most recent major election, with much of this interference being placed squarely in the hands of outside groups whom, for obvious reasons, should not have been able to so easily attempt to disrupt something as important as the voting process. After much research and debate, Facebook decided to take the step of fortifying their network against future attempts to exploit and influence content related to politics and other issues of national importance via numerous network-wide measures. One such safeguard which has recently been implemented is validation of those looking to run paid advertising for political campaigns on Facebook.

While regular paid advertising for businesses on Facebook can basically be had just by giving the social network your credit card info, when looking to run ads, boost posts, or create any other type of paid advertising for a political campaign, Facebook makes you work to throw money at them through the new validation process. Take a look at what you now must do/prove to Facebook in order to let them let you pay them to show people your campaign ads:

Confirm your identity.
Facebook wants to make sure the account tasked with running ads is a real person, who resides in the U.S., and can prove it. This means you need to provide them with much of the same type of identity information you would provide a bank or mortgage company prior to applying for a loan, including:

– A copy of your driver’s license or other government issued ID, both front and back sides, clearly showing your legal name, date of birth, etc.

– The last four digits of your Social Security number.

– Your home address.

– Your phone number. Note: Facebook runs a check to make sure that the phone number you provide is yours, and is registered in your name. If it finds that it is not in your name (which can happen even if the number is currently yours) then you will be required to perform additional steps on your phone or computer to complete this part of the process.

Wait for a letter in the mail.
Although a digital company by nature, Facebook has decided to take the extra step of snail-mailing a letter to the home address you provide during the first identity confirmation steps. As with many retailers online, Facebook does not accept anything less than an actual residence (NO P.O. boxes!). Facebook recommends waiting a good 3-7 days for this letter to arrive; if it doesn’t show up you’ll need to request (and wait) for a new letter to be sent to you. Once received, follow the steps outlined in the letter to complete this portion of the validation.

Two Factor Authentication
If you have not already, Facebook will require you to activate two factor authentication on your account to prove once again that you are the human being authorized by Facebook to run these types of ads for your specific Facebook page.

That’s it, right?
Not quite. In some circumstances, Facebook will require that you submit additional supporting documentation for identity validation. If these documents are required, they will notify you via Facebook, and may lengthen the time it takes to process your validation request from 3-7 day to 2-4 weeks (assuming they accept all your documents at the time you submit them).

Finally, once you have jumped through these hoops and have been successfully verified, Facebook will require two additional steps to be completed before allowing you to run your ads:

1. Link your page to your validated account. This will give you permission to run political ads on your linked page.

2. Add a short disclaimer stating who is paying for the advertising, to be shown on every ad that you run. Example: “This ad paid for by the friends of Mark Zuckerberg 2020”.

Once these two steps have been completed, Facebook will once again churn through the data and, if all looks good to them, will FINALLY give you permission to run ads related to politics and/or issues of national importance.

So there you have it. If you’re lucky, you could begin this process RIGHT NOW and maybe, MAYBE, be verified just in time to run a few days worth of Facebook ads for your campaign. Or, you could keep this information in mind for your next (re)election campaign. Or, better yet, you could just remember that this verification process is not just time consuming, sometimes confusing, and occasionally frustrating (and that’s before you start the process of actually running an ad!) but also something the Social Media Marketing Experts at Meyer Computer, Inc. can help with to make the process far simpler for you! Shoot us an email, or request a free consultation, and we’ll help get you and your next campaign ready to take full advantage of Facebook’s far reaching campaign advertising platform.

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