Community Pages make the need for your own Facebook Page more important than ever

Jun. 01, 2010 | by Mark Higginson

If you haven’t created a Facebook Page you need to do so now. The urgency is due to Facebook launching Community Pages. If you don’t have a Page of your own then these Pages will appear top of searches on Facebook for your brand terms.

Community Pages are “dedicated to a topic or experience that is owned collectively by the community connected to it”. Right now there is no ‘community’ to directly contribute to these Pages so they’re being generated in part by running a search query on public posts related to the term in question. Say I’m looking for ODEON’s presence on Facebook and do a search by this brand term. The top result is not a property owned by ODEON but a Community Page that pulls in Wikipedia’s entry as a description followed by a list of the most recent posts featuring this term. This is the top post as I write this:

With no brand-developed Page to compete with, visitors to this Page are going to leave having had no opportunity to engage with ODEON itself. They may even ‘Like’ this page which represents a further missed opportunity to start building an all-important network of followers tied to an official presence. ODEON are losing the chance to be useful and relevant to people who’ve expressed an active preference in finding something out about them. These people are highly likely to be engaging in social activity around a film release, perhaps trying to find out what’s showing and arranging to go and see something with friends.

The posts that are coming up at the moment on the ODEON Community Page are nothing to worry about, but it is possible customer service issues could appear in this list. A serious example can be found by searching for ‘BP’. This reveals the following: ”

There are a host of similar comments and a page refresh reveals more being added minute-by-minute due to the significant attention this disastrous event is attracting. This Community Page has become a hub of anti-BP information with links out to news, video and a wealth of other material.

It could be argued BP would be in no better position with a Facebook Page, something Nestle discovered recently when a representative of theirs exacerbated an already volatile situation by behaving in a hostile way toward commenters. That isn’t the point however. I would say that any business that provides a product or service to individuals is also a part of society and to shy away from addressing issues of public concern is at best irresponsible and at worst reprehensible. If people are talking in one of the most active social spaces on the web then an organisation needs to step up and answer what I believe is a duty to respond, be it a minor issue or a calamity. With the right framework and guidelines in place participation can be open and a dialogue established.

As it is, without an official presence the opportunity to respond, to provide a hub on the most visited destination on the web, to attract real people to follow you who you can build a long-term relationship with is lost. Instead the Community Page will be what people see as the result of a search, something entirely out of your control and an area where Facebook is still unclear on what the exact functionality will be.

Email me or call me on +44 (1273) 827 739 to discuss creating a Facebook Page, managing one you have already set up, or to establish guidelines on how to make the most of this important contribution to people’s perception of your brand.

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    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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