Friday, February 5, 2010

Why Businesses Should Think Twice Before Investing Money or Time in a Facebook Page

Not to be all "what if"--but the more integral to companies' social media efforts Facebook becomes, the more leery I am about the idea of putting business eggs in a basket over which one has no control. Twitter has already announced that it's testing some business features; Facebook pages, however, while clearly a business offering, are still dependent on individual profiles. This is a HUGE liability which is virtually never discussed--I've literally seen one blog post addressing the issue.

Ok, so say you're the individual who initially set up a huge brand's Facebook page. First of all, congratulations to you--you've basically made yourself indispensable to your company or agency because if you go, the brand's page goes. Seriously. The ability to transfer ownership of that page to anyone flat-out does not exist. So you set that up, pour tons of money into having the page customized because of course you need that (not really--but of course your social media guru charging a metric shit ton per hour will tell you you need that.) So you pour thousands--or tens of thousands--of dollars into customizing your page. You add fan page widgets to your web site, add your Facebook url to all your print collateral and pay your social media guru even more to analyze the ROI of every fan, interaction, page view and what-have-you.

Then one day--poof!--Big Brother Facebook decides that the admin for your page has been bad in some way and banishes him/her forever. Apparently this is happening (hat tip to Carri Bugbee for tweeting about this) . No warning, no explanation--just you go to log into Facebook one day and can't because your profile has been deleted. Your profile and all Pages and/or ad campaigns gone too. Yes, really.

"Not only was my profile disabled, but a facebook ad campaign I was runnig [sic] disappeared, as did the 'Page' I use to promote a business." (comment by C.J.)

How come with all the billions of social media experts out there nobody is talking about this? If companies are investing real money in Facebook, why is Facebook not offering businesses a REAL business option--e.g. pages not tied to individual accounts that can be disabled with no warning or explanation at Facebook's whim? What recourse does a business have if Facebook decides to delete the page they've invested tens of thousands of dollars into? If anyone has answers to any of these questions, please share.

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