Monday, January 24, 2011

Facebook Page Alert App SmackDown

If you administer one or more Facebook Pages you know that the most frustration feature (or lack thereof) of that task is the fact that Facebook does not offer any kind of alert mechanism to let you know when someone posts a new comment on your Wall, or comments on something you post. HUGE failing, considering that the holy grail of Facebook Page-dom is "engagement"--e.g. being responsive when someone posts a comment or question. Kind of hard to do when the only way you can know if anyone has commented is to constantly monitor the Page. Including every single item you've ever posted in case someone scrolls back and leaves a comment on an old post. Say you manage a Page with a lot of fans (I still refuse to say "likers") and/or have been posting items daily for a few years--that's a lot of monitoring.

I'm of the opinion that Facebook has pointedly not provided this feature to Page admins because they're unsure of how they feel about businesses using Pages effectively. After all, they don't make any money off businesses using Pages; they make money selling Facebook ads. (Which already sucks for them because, as a recent study shows, users pay more attention to Page updates in their news feed than they do to Facebook ads.) I think they're holding off on adding more features for admins until they one day add a paid business feature...but that's just me. After all, adding a feature to notify admins when someone posts on their Page isn't impossible; several third-party services already offer that feature.

Buddy Media is one paid solution that offers this feature--it pulls in all content posted to a Page's Wall, as well as all comments. But I personally am not all that impressed with it, and it's also likely out of reach financially to many businesses. Backupify offers a free solution that supposedly offers the capability to back up Facebook Pages, but as far as I can tell a) it doesn't actually work, b) it only archives content the Page posts and not comments fans post and c) doesn't offer any real-time update option. Which is fine if what you're looking for is an archive of the stuff you post on your own Page, but doesn't do anything to help with the real-time alert issue. Facebook Fan Page Notifier is a free app which does an ok job at sending real-time updates when people post comments on your Page's Wall, but it doesn't work all the time and also doesn't let you know when someone comments on something you've posted.

Enter two new-to-me solutions: Hyper Alerts and Postling. All I'll say about Hyper Alerts is this: it is THE BEST THING EVER. It's free and sends you real-time updates when people post AND comment on your posts. I've been managing Facebook Pages for two and a half years and I'm telling you right now, the past week since I've started using Hyper Alerts, have been a freakin' cake walk. Also, you don't have to be an actual admin of a Page to get Hyper Alerts; say you're interested in tracking who's posting what on a brand's page, or your competitors--you can set up a Hyper Alert for multiple pages just by their urls.

Postling looks really, really cool and is also free; however, it has one fatal flaw which kept me from even trying it. When you go to link your Facebook Page to your Postling account, you are required to give Postling permission to post to your Wall and to login as your pages. Sorry Postling, I'm curious but not curious enough to lose my job by allowing a third-party app to post stuff to my org's Page wall.

Unfortunate because Postling looks cool and has a lot of useful-looking features.

Any other apps I didn't mention here which you think I should have? Anyone using Postling and think I'm giving it short shrift?

No comments: