The big recent news about Facebook Pages is that people no longer fan those pages, but like them. This is step in the right direction for B2B companies, but there are quite a few things that are wrong with Facebook’s approach to Pages. Since social media is still so new, and changing all the time, as people learn how to best utilize tools and approaches, there is a reluctance to saying people are doing it wrong. But in this case, with a feature that was designed for companies and brands, Facebook is doing it wrong.
Here’s why this is a problem. When you create a Facebook page, the creator of the page has rights above all other administrators of the page. The creator can add and delete other administrators, but they cannot remove themselves from the page. And there is no way to promote an administrator to this higher level of control. An employee can create a Facebook page, but leave the company on good terms. They still have full access to the page, including the insights dashboard which shows activity and demographics of the page, as well as receiving the weekly email showing page activity. What if they went to work for a competitor?
[UPDATE: June 15, 2010: Facebook gives admins the ability to remove other admins, including the creator admin]
There is not that much information that someone can get from these sources, but what if the employee who created the page is fired, or leaves on bad terms. They can immediately delete the other admins and change the content of the page. They could also easily delete the page. If you are a small B2B company struggling to find content for your Facebook page, this might be relief, although it can damage your reputation, but if you are a large company with tens or hundreds of thousands of fans who communicate though Facebook as another major channel, this is a problem. There has been lots of talk about Facebook attacks from the outside, but what about from the inside?
Many B2B companies hire outside consultants or agencies to build their Facebook pages, and those outside firms are in complete control over the page. Having disputes over payment with your social media provider? They can post that on YOUR Facebook page and if they have removed your admin rights, there is nothing you can do about it. This is not likely to happen, but it is another reason to thoroughly vet your partners for things beyond their social media prowess.
In addition to control, this page is linked to the creator’s personal profile. While it doesn’t show anywhere on the page who any of the admins are, if that person posts questionable content to their profile, this can connect back to your company. Even though pages are public and searchable, the only way to interact people who like your page (they are no longer fans), is to friend them. This lets them see a person’s profile unless they properly manage their privacy settings, which Facebook continues to change and makes difficult to manage, so people will wind up with their information publicly searchable. If Facebook really wants to serve business needs with pages they will make changes to the infrastructure of pages.
Before you start, create, or ask the company email admins to create, an email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure this address forwards to you, but it needs to be identified as the company, not you.
- Log out of Facebook
- From the Facebook home page, click create a business page.
- Enter the page name. This should be your company or product name.
- Choose a category. These determine what fields you will have on the page, so choose wisely.
- Click save, which will prompt you to create a new profile.
- Enter the appropriate information for the company, not you, and save as a business profile.
- Go to the page and add yourself as an admin.
- Logout from the business profile and log back in as yourself.
- Now you can add other team members or partners as admins, and the company’s business profile now is the creator admin of the page.
- Proceed to administer the page as yourself, and there is no need to log back in with the business profile unless you are creating additional company pages.
Make sure you check with your legal team to make sure this workaround is appropriate for your company.
What others things about Facebook pages have made them a challenge for your B2B company?
4/30 UPDATE: Here’s another great take on this Facebook problem from Tamar Weinberg.