Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Facebook Page Conundrum

As Facebook increases its foothold on word domination (the most recent case in point is the recently revealed "Like" feature that will allow any piece of content on any website to be pulled into the Facebook), not having a presence on Facebook is becoming more of a liability for businesses. Why would a business NOT want to capitalize on the magic that is Facebook?

As I blogged a few months ago, there remains one big reason: the fact that business owners ultimately have little to no control over the fate of their Pages should the original creator part ways with the company, or if Facebook decides to suspend the page creator's account for some reason. I got a lot of great comments on that post, and on the same post when it ran on Social Media Today, including two claiming that the issue I raise is actually a non-issue because Pages don't actually have to be tied to a profile at all. At this point, I don't really know what to think; Facebook's own information about this is contradictory and there remains no "ah-ha" solution as far as I'm concerned.

In a perfect world, you could just contact Facebook and ask them for a definitive answer on this...but we're talking Facebook here. I find it most ironic that while every other company/brand on the planet is bending over backwards to engage with consumers and provide support across multiple platforms, Facebook--the biggest social media player of all--is infamous for its lack of responsiveness and/or customer support. I have tried to contact Facebook to ask about this directly--no response.

I got comments from two people who "wrote the book" on Facebook: Mari Smith and Cappy Popp, both of whom suggest that it's a non-issue because you can just create a business account and therefore avoid the original Page creator issue. Call me crazy or morally superior or just obsessive about rules, but Facebook has set it up as a weird no-win situation: an individual can have EITHER a personal account OR a business account but not both--therefore I don't see this as a solution.

(Source: Business Accounts Help page)

How does this make sense? Assuming that one needs to be familiar with social media tools before being able to effectively use them for business, WHY would Facebook make it so that business accounts only have the ability to manage items on their Pages and view stats but not view the profile information of any other users, or add any applications? The way they have it set up, only Facebook virgins can create business accounts, and then they can only myopically manage their own Page.

The fact remains that I would be willing to bet that most business pages were created by and are now tied to a personal account, and regardless of the number of additional admins that person adds to manage the page, the page itself remains tied to that original creator.

Note that wording--"the original creator of the Page may never be removed." Never is a long time, especially in a day and age when people no longer stay with one employer till death do they part.

My advice? Be prepared for the eventual departure of your Page's original creator by having multiple admins and, when/if the original creator of the Page leaves your company, talk to your legal department about having them sign something saying they won't tamper with the Page. And Facebook, if you're listening, PLEASE address this issue.

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