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Like most interactive agencies, we manage multiple client accounts via Facebook. We love the platform - couldn’t live without it! There’s our homage at the outset!
But, we don’t love Facebook Business Pages. We find them just gnarly to work with and a bit slow and cumbersome for content development and sharing and even worse, for easily building an engaged community of followers.
1) We hate the signup process for a business page – Facebook forces a brand or business to first set up a Fan page and then tie a business account to it. Yes, you can work around this; but, it’s a convoluted process.
2) Most applications developed (in the hundreds of thousands) for Facebook are created and optimized to work with a Fan page, with little or no thought for Business Pages. Setting up a simple Pinterest account or RSS feed via a Tab Setting is challenging. It should be a simple click and sign up; but, its not.
3 We dislike the way Facebook forces branded pages to advertise status updates to drive improved visibility and “Likes” – yes, this is a moving target for your business. Do you absolutely have to do this? No! But, will paid advertising help your “reach” in the Facebook community? The answer is an emphatic yes! (See comment below about Facebook’s Edge Algorithm).
4) There is no easy way to easily aggregate and share content via a Facebook business page like a fan page. Yes, you do have a stream of content visible to your account as an admin which you can share easily with your Fans/followers who have “liked” your page based on others your brand has “liked.”
But, this feed is slow at times or non-existent and we notice a corollary between the “status updates” done via a business page and the feed rates of content – this should not be the case! Your page should get a feed of information predicated upon the updates pages you have liked, not on the number of updates done via a business page.
5) We find Facebook’s analytics to be pretty weak – map them out against the industry standard Google Analytics and they pale in comparison (significantly). Yes, you can tie social media accounts into your Google analytics. But, we much prefer robust analytics mapped to a Facebook business page right on the platform.
6) In or experience too much weight is now being given via Facebook’s Edge Algorithm to status updates that incorporate images, especially behind Facebook’s Instagram acquisition.
We see this as dumbing down “content reach” for business pages – sure, a fan page with lots of pictures is entertaining to many (hundreds of millions). But, applying consumer centric measurements for business pages is counter intuitive to the marketing goals of businesses on Facebook.
A business page should be “ranked” (found and shared via the broader community) based on digital attributes that map to content a brand or business is sharing on Facebook.
Brian Solis and Mark Cuban have both weighed in on the weight Facebook’s Edge Rank Algorithm; i.e. whether it’s weighted properly, content vs. advertised content for brands and pages or not. We think the “truth” is somewhere between the two of them.
1) Charge Business Accounts some kind of monthly fee so the accounts are verified instantly and they have much broader functionality (apps, interface/UI, on-board tools, etc.). Move the platform forward, recognizing it’s no longer just about consumers or big brands. Small businesses need tools set that will enable them to source content, engage with followers, easily add applications and functionality to their accounts on the platform.
2) Motivate, push or prod the third party application community to develop applications that install instantly with a business page - or change the platform functionality so that a third party can be easily installed for a business page without going through the existing connectivity and login with a fan page to install a simple app.
3) Add a richer set of analytics that measure how visitors engage with a specific link or status update, what activities or actions occur on a page similar to a “heat map analysis”, “time on page engagement” and visitor sourcing history (how a page was “found” – image, page text, keywords or phrases).
4) Providing business pages with a “newsfeed like” content stream with a UI that integrates Likes and Shares right in the newsfeed as a subset and some imagery components mapped to the individual or brand connecting with the business page with some kind of weighted profile.
5) Change the Edge Rank algorithm so it recognizes content is being shared via a Business Page and not a personal account - in turn providing broader visibility for the Page that is consistent with the content being shared or promoted via a business page.
It’s time for Facebook to do more than continually tweak their consumer Fan page content (newsfeed, mobile, apps, UI, etc.) and pay real attention to business pages and their needs - providing features, applications and functionality that can be easily utilized by businesses of all sizes.