Own, Don't Rent, Your Facebook Page

October 27, 2009

With 300 million active users and a massive amount of external funding, Facebook is really more like a goodly sized, upstart country with no borders and even fewer threats. As such, it's little surprise that the social network has become a marketer's playground, and Facebook's masters have been quick to embrace the corporate world's rush to establish a presence there.

I'll readily concede that Facebook has some good tools for businesses (and worthy causes), especially those who are keen on the modern-marketer concepts of dialogue and corporate transparency. Facebook Pages, which allow businesses and organizations to set up a profile just like individuals and interact with fans, are a good example. There's just one teensy, little problem:

You can't change ownership of a Facebook Page

Because pages are created by individual Facebook users, it's easy to see why this could be a issue. Let's say Employee A, who heads up social media efforts at your firm, gets caught smuggling office supplies and is dismissed. Guess what? If Now-Ex-Employee A created your Facebook Page, he/she cannot be removed as an administrator.

Likewise, if Marketing Agency Employee B created your page at your behest, the same access rules would apply. If you decided to switch marketing partners, Marketing Agency Employee B would still be an administrator of your page. At the very least, that would be awkward; at worst, it would be a situation ripe for sabotage.

Sure, administrators can be added, but they also can be removed by the scorned employee or agency in the above examples. When it comes down to it, you're at someone else's mercy, which is dangerous. This isn't like the Coca-Cola page, which was created by fans—then later embraced by the company; this is more like letting your ex keep the key to your house.

Facebook is aware of this issue (see here and here), but hasn't done anything. This may not be all that surprising, given their history of blazing trails without user input. Until they change this, businesses and organizations are left with only one reasonable alternative:

Separate business and personal identities in social media

The first step is to create a separate email account that can be used for all social media endeavors, as many services maintain an implacable link to one account (I'm looking at you, Twitter.). The account credentials should be available to all stakeholders, or at least maintained as an organizational, not individual, asset. (Aside, this is a good practice for credentials across all social media accounts.)

On Facebook, create a new account for your business, just as you would for yourself. Yes, that means Bob's Burger Shack would need to be a "person" on Facebook. It's an inelegant solution, to be sure, and my recommendation is to spend only limited time working on that "individual" profile. The real effort should be saved for your organization's Facebook Page, which you would create next.

From there, you could add additional page administrators—such as Employee A or Marketing Agency Employee B. The difference here is that you could just as easily remove them as administrators should a parting of ways be required.

This method calls for a bit more effort at setup, but it's the best way—at this time, at least—to maintain full organizational control of your Facebook Page.

Comments

OWN, DON'T RENT FACEBOOK PAGE

WOW.. Boy did I learn something today. Thank you VERY much. We are guilty as mentioned :).
Time for a change - so blessings... Nita Fran