They’re everywhere, they’re taking your fans and they can’t be stopped! No, it’s worse than an alien invasion. It’s Facebook’s automatically generated Community Pages.
These Community Pages have created a lot of confusion and anger for businesses. Why? Because they were created out of thin air, and all content posted is fully out of their control!
This notion can be completely and understandingly scary, but this blog post is designed to unmask Facebook Community Pages and provide important actions your business should take.
What in the Heck is a Community Page?
Great. Another aspect of Facebook in which to learn and adapt.
Facebook first announced Community Pages as a feature designed to address all the fan pages set up around generic, non-business topics. The example Facebook uses in their blog announcement is for cooking. So, the “cooking” Community Page could prove to be a helpful source of information on a topic you’re passionate about and/or a great networking resource to identify and reach out to people who share your passion for cooking.
At first, Community Pages seems like a great solution to create a clear delineation between official Fan Pages — administered and controlled by company representatives — and all the fan pages created around an idea or topic. But here comes the problem.
Facebook automatically created 6.5 million Community Pages last year! These pages were auto-generated from users’ “Likes and Interests” and “Work and Education” sections of their personal profile’s “Info” tab.
As stated, these Community Pages were auto-generated, so anything separated by commas produced a Community Page with those keywords/phrases as the title. So there are literally thousands of pages that deal with the same keywords, many of which have only one or two fans.
Who in God’s Green Earth is Providing the Content?
It’s terrifying. The Community Pages actually gets their content from — the community! Of all places!
Depending on the subject matter of the page, content (including the Page photo) gets automatically pulled in from Wikipedia. All other content is auto-populated from wall posts and status updates made by any Facebook user containing the keywords of the Community Page.
This is where the nightmare begins for many businesses, schools and more. There are no administrators (yet) for Community Pages, and you have zero control over what shows up on the page.
I’m Getting Angry; Who’s with Me?
Following is a forum post from a college social media coordinator that pinpoints the frustration with Facebook Community Page.
“Much to my surprise I did a search on our College name yesterday on Facebook. Now there is a ‘Community Page’ with the exact same name. They stole our logo without permission and are aggregating all of our posts—and other completely unrelated posts.
This page has 53 fans—our students I assume. I immediately let our students know that this was not our page, nor were we responsible for any information put on it. However, there is no way to post anything on the Community Pages. Clicking on the ‘Sign up’ to add to this page button was a joke, as was adding an official website. “Thanks for signing up, we’ll let you know when we need your help” which to me translates—’we aren’t really sure what we are doing yet.’
When I dug further I found a dozen or more versions of our College name with ‘nursing’ or ‘business’ in them—WITH NO CONTENT. Isn’t creative content important in social media??? Why would Facebook push all of these blank pages?
Why in the world would Facebook create all of these pages with no content? I don’t want our students confused by these pages. Is anyone else having this problem? This just seems like the most ridiculous move ever.”
This articulates exactly why so many organizations are reacting to the confusion of Community Pages.
For clarification, the college’s Community Page had 53 fans because of two things. Facebook users do become fans by clicking the “Like” button, the same as Official fan pages. However, the vast majority of fans were automatically connected because they had the Community Page name in their “Likes and Interests” section. For further explanation on how these auto-connections came about, see Facebook’s official post.
What Can My Business Do?!
There are six steps businesses can take to optimize these Community Pages.
#1: Monitor your mentions.
As part of your routine brand monitoring efforts, experiment with a combination of www.youropenbook.org, www.kurrently.com and Facebook’s own deep search feature to search for your various keywords and company name.
For the most part, you may not need to take any action at all, depending on how large your brand is, what’s being said and how often. But there are two primary aspects to look for as described in steps #2 and #3 below.
#2: Appease any naysayers.
Look for any negative mentions of your brand and, depending on the severity of the negativity, reach out to these individuals. Email them on Facebook and/or search for them on Twitter, Google, etc., and contact them. See how you can listen to their complaint, take remedial action and turn them into fans.
#3: Find your Superfans.
Look for your undiscovered brand evangelists and reach out to them. Email them on Facebook and/or search for them on other social media channels, and contact them as well. See how you can reward, incentivize and empower these individuals to become what Aliza Sherman calls Superfans.
#4: Keep your Wikipedia content accurate.
Make sure you periodically check that any content pertaining to your company, brand, products and services on Wikipedia is highly accurate.
#5: Continue to drive attention to your Official Page.
The more you can put the spotlight on your Official fan page, the better you’ll be able to dissipate any confusion among your fans and potential fans. Refer to a great post about increasing your fanbase here.
#6: Sign up for all community pages of your brand.
As best you can, search for all possible Community Pages in your name, company name, product names, etc. (As mentioned above, I found Google search was more reliable than searching on Facebook.) Sign up to put yourself on the list of possible administrators, and also suggest your official Wikipedia article if you have one, and your official website for sure.
So, it looks like your business may have some competition on Facebook. That competition would be … Facebook. I suggest all of you do a search (from someone else’s computer who does not “Like” your organization’s Official Page and never has) to find out if you have a Community Page that you were not aware of, and then do something about it. If Facebook does change anything, we’ll keep you posted!