Like many people (based on quite a bit of searching), I am becoming increasingly frustrated with Facebook. For the past few days, what has really gotten to me is the way that Facebook pages work.
Here’s the rundown:
It is possible to create a “fan” page in Facebook that enables you to promote an individual or organizational brand – kind of like a Web site for a specific purpose within Facebook. To do this you either:
- Add a page onto your individual account
- Create a business account specifically for the purpose of managing pages and advertising
Sounds simple enough, but as many of us are finding out, nothing is really ever simple in Facebook if you scratch below the surface. A couple of the major issues – and these are just the major ones – that arise as you start to dive into pages are:
- There is no way right now to transfer ownership of a page from one individual to another. So if Bob in marketing has set up the fan page for your organization, guess what? Bob continues to “own” that page even after he leaves your organization. Or if you want to sell your small company and transfer the fan page to a new owner…good luck!
- Well, but of course the simple solution would be just to set up a business account instead of an individual account (it’s an option in the page set-up process). Not so fast, though. If you already have an indvidual account, Facebook’s policy is that you are not allowed to set up a business account. So, you have to find the one person in your organization who is not yet on Facebook and does not ever want to have an individual account to set up your business account. Then you have to deal with all the headaches of your business account stepchild not really working as well as the better-loved individual account in Facebook.
You have to wonder why more people aren’t screaming about this one. My theory is that they will be soon – Facebook for business is still a new enough concept that relatively few people have run into the need to transfer ownership of a page. And many people still aren’t even aware that the business account option even exists.
The natives are getting restless, though. In the Facebook Help discussion forums, there is a thread titled “Transferring a page to new ownership?” that was posted at the beginning of April. Since then, a total of 146 people have chimed in. As far as I can tell, all of them are looking for an answer and nobody has one.
Where are you Facebook staff?! (Is there a Facebook staff?)
I’m sure the issue will be addressed eventually. Maybe it has been already and some kind reader will chime in to tell me where the secret answer is hidden. (Please!) In the meantime, though, this seems to be yet another instance of Facebook simply not being in tune with the needs of users – and apparently not caring.
All in all, I agree with Douglas Karr’s view that Facebook is a lot like AOL 10.0 and that it will ultimately “fail unless it can correct one universal weakness.” Namely, the majority of time spent in Facebook – at least for business users – is “spent managing Facebook… not using it.”
One final note: If you have set up your business as an individual account, woe be unto you – Facebook could choose to shut you down at any moment given that this approach is a clear violation of their current policies.
Here’s hoping that Facebook sorts through these issues soon.
P.S. – If you found this posting of interest, you will also want to visit the more recent postings by Tamar Weinberg (on Facebook) and Valeria Maltoni (covering LinkedIn and Twitter as well as Facebook):
P.S.S. – I am looking for examples of small business success stories on Facebook (particularly given the issue above!) If you have one or know of one, please visit the Facebook success stories post and comment.
And yet another P.S. – For anyone debating Facebook vs. LinkedIn, note that there is a clear process for transferring group ownership on LinkedIn.
Facebook can also be a great tool in a Learning 2.0 – social learning strategy.