Social Media Rules for Instagram & Facebook You Need to Know for Successful Social Media Campaign

  • August 30, 2019
social media rules

Social media rules – are you aware of them?

You may have heard from fellow coworkers or company owners that social media has really changed the game for them in terms of leads and sales. And if you’ve sifted through any of our social media blogs, you’ve probably seen a case study or two on how we’ve taken x amount of ad dollars and doubled the return (and then some)!

Social media is an awesome way to reach potential customers who you may have otherwise missed out on. But some of you may have started running some social campaigns on your own, and are not seeing the kind of results you’ve been hearing about!

One of the benefits of hiring a social media marketing company is that we know all the tips, tricks, and social media rules required to make your campaign effective. And when we say social media rules, we’re not talking about subjective ideas that generally increase the results of a campaign.

We’re talking about actual social media rules: guidelines and ad policies set by the best social media platforms that advertisers and businesses like yours have to follow.

small businesses social media management toolsWhen new clients come on board with us here at LYFE, one of the first things we do is analyze any social media work that the client has already done on their own or with a previous marketing company.

In doing this, we often find common mistakes that businesses and advertisers are making in their social media investments because they don’t know how to follow the social media rules.

When you violate social media rules, it often hinders your campaign, and it can sometimes stop your campaign from running all together!

Learning social media rules and keeping up with them as they change over time is crucial to keeping your social media work effective. So today, we’re sharing some of the top social media rules that you need to know!

Top Social Media Rules that You Need to Know

1. Organic Image Sizing

One mistake we often see businesses making is in the images they’re using for social media.

Social Media Image Video Sizes

Oftentimes, a business will have paid for a graphic or for a designed image from a graphic designer, but they only have it in one size. So, they then try to use that one graphic on all of their social media platforms.

The problem with this is that each platform has its own image sizing for organic content.

When we say organic content, we’re talking about regular posts that you publish onto your social media page that are not sponsored with any advertising dollars.

For instance, check out just a few of the differences in organic posting sizes below:

social media rules

social media rules

social media rules

Just by looking at these three social media platforms alone, you can tell that if you used the same image on Facebook as you did on LinkedIn, your image would be cut off!

If you’ve spent money on a designed graphic or have images branded with your logo, you don’t want those sections to be cut off. It makes the image (and therefore the brand) look less professional to the viewer.

This is a simple yet crucial step that you’ll want to ensure looks right across your social media platforms.

2. Ad Image Sizing

Now that we’ve talked about image sizing for organic posts, let’s talk about image sizing for advertisements.

Not only are the sizes again different between platforms, but they’re also different than their own organic image sizes. They are also different depending on what ad campaign you’re running.

When we talk about ad campaigns, we mean the different objectives that you can optimize for within Facebook ads.

For instance, if you want more page likes on your Facebook business page, you’ll want to run a Page Like a campaign that requires a different ad image size than an ad that sends traffic to your website.

Check out the different ad image sizes for a few platforms below:

Facebook Ad Image Sizing:

social media rules

Instagram Ad Image Sizing:

social media rules

Twitter Ad Image Sizing:

social media rules

Also recently, Facebook has released another update for its mobile ad restrictions. What’s new in this update? Well, everything will be smaller. To be specific, these are the changes that will be implemented.

  • There will now only be three lines of texts
  • Users will have to click “See More” for more texts
  • Aspect ratio will be at 4:5 for photos and videos

And those are just three social media platforms!

In the case of ad images, not only do you want to avoid cut-off designs for the same reasons you do with organic posts, but the platform may not even run the ad at all if the image does not fit the dimension requirements.

3. Facebook’s 20% Text Rule for Ad Images

Sizing is not the only requirement you’ll need to meet when working with social media ad images.

This social media rule we’re about to share can be even more crucial to nail down than the last because it directly affects your social media ads and how well they perform!

Within Facebook’s advertising policies is a rule that says you cannot have more than 20% of the text on any given advertising image (no matter if it’s a boosted post, a conversion ad, or anything in between).

So many of our clients make this mistake without realizing it.

When you submit an ad for review to Facebook that has any text at all on the image, sometimes Facebook will still approve the ad to run, but Facebook will intentionally and severely limit the reach and performance of the ad.

This is why our clients become unaware of the rule prior to coming on board with us; they see the ad is running and think everything is fine. But the reality is that if your ad image has any text on it at all (let alone more than 20%), Facebook will intentionally not serve your ad to your target audience as it should.

If that’s not enough to make you want to rethink your text-heavy ad images, let’s break this down even further.

When someone logs onto their Facebook newsfeed, there are 1,500+ pieces of content that could show up in their newsfeed as they scroll along, and out of that 1,500, Facebook chooses 300 to display.

So if you’re fighting to be a part of that 300 from the get-go, you don’t want anything else hindering your campaign.

That’s why following Facebook’s social media rules are so important. There are going to be other, subjective, and dynamic factors that go into Facebook’s decision to make your ad one of the 300 items a user sees or not. So you want to control the factors that you can control and not give yourself any additional, unnecessary setbacks (such as having too much text on an ad image).

social media rules

One way to check your ad image is to use Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool. It’s free and easy to use. All you do is submit your image and within seconds, it will tell you how it falls on Facebook’s text rating scale.

social media rules
This is a good tool to use especially if you pay graphic designers to make your images because this way, they can use the tool prior to sending you the finished image to make sure it’s meeting the social media rules (and to make sure you’re not paying for an image that isn’t going to help your social media campaign!).

The other key to remember about this rule, is that Facebook owns Instagram. Therefore, this same rule applies to Instagram advertisement images as well!

4. Ad Language

Following along the lines of Facebook’s advertising policies, the language that you use in the copy of your advertisements is also important.

Every ad that you submit to Facebook (or Instagram) goes through Facebook’s review prior to running. In addition to reviewing some of the image requirements we’ve mentioned above, Facebook also reviews the language used in your ad copy.

For the most part, the social media rules around copy are fairly simple (no sexually suggestive content, no vulgarity, etc.). However, sometimes Facebook can become a little bit sensitive when reviewing ad copy.

For instance, LYFE Marketing’s social ad team tries to stay away from using the word “you” too much in social ads. The reason is that Facebook often views the word “you” as an accusing word toward the viewer and will disapprove the ad.

Another example is that Facebook will scrutinize the copy in your ad a little bit harder depending on who your targeting in the ad set. Facebook does this to try and prevent unfair messaging to a specific audience, so sometimes you have to tweak your ad language even more.

And in some cases, you actually have to certify to a list of terms verifying that you will not violate these ad policies depending on who your target audience is.

Small bits of knowledge like this is what makes a marketing team who does this day in and day out so useful!

5. Copy

Very close and similar to ad language is social media copy. The difference is that when we reference copy here, we’re talking about organic posts as well.

It’s important to know how to utilize copy on different platforms. Similar to image sizes, copy limitations vary from platform to platform.

For instance, Twitter went from allowing 140 characters in a tweet (with the image taking up some of the character space if you had an image attached to your copy), to allowing 140 full characters with an image, to now allowing 280 full characters with or without an image.

social media rules
Twitter has come a long way in its character limitations, but it’s still infinitely shorter than the character limits on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’re not just automatically posting the same content on all platforms.

LYFE Marketing’s clients know that we create versions of copy specifically for Twitter to make sure the message isn’t cut off and makes sense to the target audience.

6. Is Your Business On Facebook’s Prohibited or Restricted List?

This last rule that we’re discussing is perhaps one of the most important social media rules to know and understand.

Within Facebook’s advertising policies are two lists: prohibited content and restricted content.

If you’re business or industry falls within the prohibited content list (such as weapons, tobacco, drugs, surveillance equipment, and more), then we would recommend advertising on a different social media platform that has a less strict ad policy.

The reason being we don’t want to waste your time and money trying to create ads that we know will not get approved on Facebook or Instagram.

If your business falls within the restricted content list on Facebook (such as alcohol, dating, gambling, supplements, subscription services, and more), then you do have the possibility of advertising on Facebook so long as you follow the appropriate guidelines associated with the given industry.

All of these items are listed in Facebook’s advertising policies, and they are things that LYFE’s advertising knows down to a tee (and you should too!).

For instance, did you know that if you want to run any sort of ads regarding a dating service on Facebook or Instagram, you have to first fill out a Dating Partner application for Facebook?

Not only are you required to submit the application in order to run dating service ads, but the application also has to be approved!

This can take weeks to get approval from Facebook and is 100% separate from Facebook actually reviewing any ads after the fact! Social media rules like this are crucial to know in order to plan the timeline and execution of your ads effectively.


Or how about this: does your business structure revolve around the consumer downloading your app? Do you need your ad campaign to be centered around getting as many apps installs as possible?

If so, then you need to be aware of the app requirements that Facebook has for app developers prior to running your ads.

It’s definitely crucial for advertisers to know the general basics of social media rules, but it’s even more important to know if your company falls within a specific industry that requires an additional set of guidelines.


We hope this small glimpse into the world of social media rules has helped enlighten you as a business owner and as an advertiser.

Social media can be an extremely effective tool for your business so long as you know the guidelines and use them to your advantage and not to your detriment!

If you’re looking for a social media marketing company with years of advertising experience (and a portfolio of effective campaigns to back that up!), then give us a call today at 404-596-7925 or contact us on our site today.

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